Know Yourself and Your Learners

Have you ever felt it was hard to finish a self-paced course?

You are not alone.

Keeping ourselves accountable might be easy for some, but hard for most of us.

Think of your personal feelings in terms of how you write for others.

Are you only writing for your own style or the style of your learners.

In her book “The Four Tendencies” Gretchin Rubin suggests different people thrive on different accountability methods:

  • Upholders easily meet expectations from themselves and others
  • Obligers focus on meeting other people’s expectations
  • Questioners only want to meet their own expectations
  • Rebels resist meeting expectations

Do you know What Type of Accountability Works For You?

As Rubin writes, the most productive people have learned to work around their weaknesses and to harness their strengths.  So here’s how to make accountability work so you can write for your learners or sail through and finish any course:

Upholders find it easy to meet deadlines but they get stuck sometimes in routines and complete tasks because “it’s expected of you”.  This can lead to overcommitment

Obligers focus on meeting other people’s expectations.  So, if you are an obliger, you might find yourself prioritising projects for other people rather than this course.

Questioners You resist accountability from others and you’ll find it easier to meet your goals if you connect them clearly to your “why”.  Why do you want to complete this course?  What difference will it make for you?

Rebels love the freedom to choose what they want to do, so rigid schedules don’t work.  But they do love challenges, especially if there’s an element of showing off: “Don’t believe I can finish this course on top of my busy schedule?  Let me show you I can do this in 8 weeks.”

Would you like to know what kind of accountability suits you?

Gretchen has a quiz on her website to help you discover your Tendency:

The Four Tendencies Quiz – The Four Tendencies Quiz (

Remember, one type of accountability isn’t better than another type. What’s most important is to choose what works for you when you’re the learner.  And what’s most important for the majority of your learners when you’re the writer.

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