If you study the history of the online course industry, you’ll find that technology courses, specifically web technology, is where the early innovators started building businesses around online courses. This makes logical sense because the early e-learning technology innovators were technologists themselves. Many of the early courses on Udemy were about teaching web technology like WordPress. Code Academy, Team Treehouse, and Plural Site were early movers in the online course space with their “How to code” courses. The WP101 online education platform has been teaching people and companies how to use WordPress since 2008. But don’t worry. It’s not too late to get in the technology education space! Digital technology tools are changing all the time, and new technologies are constantly emerging around us. You also don’t have to be the best in the world at a specific technology. There are a lot of beginners you can serve if you are a little further along on your journey and know how to embrace the beginner’s mind. You could also master and position yourself as an expert within a niche of a specific technology. For example, you may not know everything about WordPress, but you might command expertise in a niche like WordPress ecommerce solutions or WordPress based learning management systems. Here are 3 business models to build around your technology expertise … 1) Your Technology Courses You too can be a guru! This business model is all about teaching technology skills via one or multiple courses with you as a teacher. The 2 keys to make successful courses in this model is to: Slow down and teach to someone who isn’t as advanced as you Design your learning content to be effective, well organized, and visually appealing 2) Your Technology Course Publishing Platform You too can bring together other gurus! In this business model, we operate as a learning platform creator and bring in other experts to teach. This model is similar to the traditional book publishing industry. In the way a publishing house partners with book authors, the online course publisher publishes other expert’s online courses and either pays out a royalty or licenses the courses outright. 3) Online Course or LMS Services As the e-learning industry continues to grow exponentially, there is consistent demand coming from experts who need help setting up their online courses. There are 3 main reasons busy technologists would hire you to set up their online course delivery system … The expert values their time and speed and would prefer to have you do it The expert may be a web technologist, but admits to not being an expert in learning management system technologies The expert respects your track record and knows that they will avoid the classic mistakes In fact, if you’d like to have me and my team set up your web technology education platform, click here for a special video message.
Online courses and learning management systems aren’t just for people or companies where online courses or teaching are the primary business focus. You can also use online courses to support your main business. Let’s look at SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses and how they might deploy an online course strategy. Keep in mind that these methods could be used for almost any type of business, not just software companies. Here are 3 strategic areas to deploy online courses … 1) Inbound Marketing Inbound marketing is the part of sales and marketing where marketing is created that attracts new leads into the sales funnel. The classic type of inbound marketing is now popularly called “content marketing.” Blog posts, YouTube videos, tweets, Instagram photos, and countless other types of content can be used as content marketing that can attract inbound leads. But how are online courses different or better than other content types? The advantage of using online courses is that they go deep. They are not just one image, page, or video. They are not a flash in the pan. Online courses are a curated experience, and you get the opportunity to continue the converstion with your new prospect because they have given you an email address while creating a user in order to access your online course. 2) Customer Onboarding Customer onboarding is the process you put in place to help ensure the success of your new customer. Well done customer onboarding shows brand new customers: where to start how to focus and avoid overwhelm what to expect by anticipating their questions There is no better format to accomplish these goals than an online course. An online course can have a fast-start guide. An online course can curate focus by dividing up all the areas that should be covered into a syllabus or curriculum that makes sense. An online course can have lessons titled as questions that new users frequently ask in an intuitive order that makes sense. 3) Employee Onboarding SaaS companies and really any company stand to benefit exponentially by curating the employee training process into an online course. Think about how much time is wasted where new hires are sent to “shadow” veterans. One-on-one training is of course an important part of training and mentorship, but why not get a jump on the game by having the best employees in each position create courses for newbies? When you create employee onboarding courses, the top benefits are: increased efficiency in the training process permanent capture of value of your best employees processes (which remains in the business even after that employee no longer works there) If Your Business is Ready to Benefit from an Online Courses Strategy Implementation … It’s time to build out your new training site. If you are ready to learn new skills in your business, it is perfectly acceptable to roll up the sleeves and learn the new skills required to build an online course delivery system or learning management system “LMS.” If you are interested in having a professional put together your platform to leverage online courses in your business, click here for a special video message and contact details. If your main business isn’t online course systems, why not move quickly and avoid mistakes by letting the pro’s handle the set up of that piece?
The great advantage that real estate brokers and agency owners have as online course creators is that they already have a background in marketing, sales and communication. When you have a marketing and sales background, you understand the need to have a balanced blend of development across the 3 marketing methods: Inbound (content marketing) Outbound (prospecting) Relationships (interacting with real people) Creating online courses as part of your marketing mix checks all the boxes in terms of marketing methods. If I were to advise real estate business owners like you to make just 3 online courses, these are them (*Watch the video above to get more detail about these 3 courses you should make) … 1) For Sale By Owner Course This course attracts leads from and adds value to a group or market segment who may not be initially interested in your business. 2) First Time Home Buyer Course This course gets you involved on the buyer side. 3) How To Sell Your Property For Maximum Profit This course gets you involved on the seller side. 3 More Tips It’s more important to make these courses free and prioritize a large user base over creating an additional income stream. You can shoot the video lessons on your iphone, or you can go professional and hire a film crew. Both ways work. The best option depends on your budget. Quality content is more important than production quality in online education. If you are ready to learn new skills, it is perfectly acceptable to roll up the sleeves and learn the new skills required to build a real estate online course delivery system or learning management system “LMS.” If you are interested in having a professional put together your online real estate education platform, click here for a special video message and contact details.
Language learning is a huge industry Business Model #1 – The Niche Language Learning MOOC A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. A niche MOOC is where you focus your course or learning platform on a very tightly focused unique topic and audience that is not general in nature. Traditional in-person schools cannot focus in this way due to supply and demand economics, but when you have the whole world as a pool of possible prospective students, you only need approximately 100 or more people with a common interest to develop a viable niche online learning program and business. Business Model #2 – Blended Language Learning If you are teaching language in person one-on-one or in a classroom, you can grow your potential number of students or reduce your direct time involvement by blending online training into your teaching methods. Not all language learning has to happen face to face in an active manner. Instead of teaching the same curriculum exclusively over and over again in-person, you can package that teaching into an online passive video course and use that to supplement your in person language learning material. Business Model #3 – Flipped Classroom Language Learning A flipped classroom is built around the concept of letting the student take the lead in their education. The teacher then comes in to be more of a support role or facilitator. In language learning, the flipped classroom is created by making an online course with the bulk of the learning content. Following that, the students then meets with the teacher either in person or online to review material or get help where they are stuck. Next Steps After Language Learning Business Model Selection… If you are ready to learn new skills, it is perfectly acceptable to roll up the sleeves and learn the new skills required to build a language learning online course delivery system or learning management system “LMS.” If you are interested in having a professional put together your online language learning platform, click here for a special video message and contact details.
If you’re a musician looking to create an online course, it’s important to put some thought into what your new training offering will look like. How would you approach the following 3 considerations? … 1) Think about the venue Classrooms, studios, and making house calls are not the only viable venues for teaching music. In the digital world, there are powerful digital spaces to teach from like a … Website Skype Zoom Google Hangout The venue is an interesting topic because in the physical world it may be costly, have capacity constraints, and time constraints. In the digital world, venues are relatively cheap or free and can even have unlimited capacity. 2) Are you teaching in an active or passive method or both? With online courses you can create passive lessons where the teaching is delivered through video, audio, text, and/or images. Creating your passive course materials is sometimes referred to as instructional design. An active method would be teaching live in person or through a live digital meeting. Active teaching involves your direct involvement. It cannot happen if you are not present. Active and passive-active combination methods have higher perceived value so you can charge more for the course if there are some active elements. Depending on your priorities you may prefer completely passive methods so your direct time is not required. Or you may prefer some active involvement so you can charge more and work with a smaller select group of people. It’s all about you and your priorities. 3) Should you develop the online education platform or hire a professional? Did it take you a while to master your musical talent? I bet it did. The same is true for technology. If you are ready to learn new skills, it is perfectly acceptable to roll up the sleeves and learn the new skills required to build an online course delivery system or learning management system “LMS.” If you are interested in having a professional put together your online music education platform, click here for a special video message and contact details.
The 3 Health and Fitness Expert Advantages in the Online Course Space There are many different types of instructors or topics in the online course space. “Health and fitness” as a niche is full of people with some unique advantages. Here are 3 stand out advantages if you are or could be a health or fitness guru … 1) You have hard won expertise as someone who has undergone your own health or fitness transformation. Most great health and fitness gurus are good teachers because they have a history of going through their own personal journey. They know what it’s like to start at the beginning. This helps with developing resonance and beginners mind when interacting with and creating learning content for their ideal learner. 2) If you’re already teaching your material in person, you know what it takes to design a successful program with real people. The big opportunity for in person or brick and mortar health and fitness businesses is to scale their methods with online training. But before the scaling online, it’s important to note that some people have skill and expertise, but aren’t necessarily good teachers. But many health and fitness advocates have a lot of experience teaching others face to face already. This is a huge advantage when it comes to instructional design and delivery of an online course! 3) Healthy fit people have above average levels of passion. When human beings are healthy and fit, it’s often accompanied by a glowing healthy presence and above average levels of energy and intensity. This passion and aptitude for endurance is key to launching an online training program and motivating students. The passion is fuel and the endurance allows for survival during the challenging parts of launching an online course business. The Health and Fitness Online Course Opportunity There has never been a better time to create a viable online courses business around your health and fitness micro niche. We’re not talking about niches here. The opportunity is in micro niches. For example the “vegan lifestyle” is a niche, but “vegan bodybuilding” is a micro niche. Mainstream universities can’t teach everything. There is only so many students who will sign up for specific niche or academic department course offerings in a physical location. However when we remove the constraint of geography, we can niche down to a much deeper layer. If you have a solid course in a micro niche, like a chi running training program for ultra endurance athletes, and charge $100 for that … you only need 100 people from all over the world to have a $10,000 business. If you have 1,000 students, you have a $100,000 business. Don’t be afraid to develop a micro niche offering! If You are a Health and Fitness Guru, Here’s What I’d Like You to Do Next … If you’d like to take the fast lane to launching your high impact health and fitness course the right way, click here to see a video message with next steps.
Are You Some Kind of Business Expert Considering Creating an Online Course? You’re probably already aware of the opportunity to create more impact and income through online courses. You are a business person so you see the opportunity. But can you pull off a profitable online course? There are 3 areas you need to focus on in order to stack the odds in your favor to have a successful online course project … 1) Valuable Expertise In order to teach business, marketing, or leadership you have to have passion, life experience, and skills. You don’t have to be the best in the world. You just need to be further along than the group of people you intend to help. Know your value! 2) Instructional Design Packaging your learning content so it’s consumable in the digital world is key. You have to take your student on a multimedia engaging learning journey. Multimedia learning content is made up of video, audio, text, and images. You could even blend live interactions into the learning journey if you’d like. You can increase engagement and motivation through achievements, automated personalized emails, and certificates. How will you package your learning content? 3) Online Course Delivery System or Learning Management System The last step of launching your online course is loading you learning content into a system that will deliver it. You need a website that is capable of selling, protecting, and delivering your online course. Where Do You Go From Here? If you’d like to take the fast lane to launching your course the right way, click here to see a video about the next steps …
1) How Much Money Will I Make with My Online Courses? You can expect to make anywhere from $0 to Millions from your online courses. According to Udemy in 2015, their top 10 online course instructors made over 17 Million USD. The average online course instructor brings in $7,000 on Udemy. Rob Percival, a former high school math teacher from Cambridge, England, netted over $1 million in the last nine months of 2015 with his online courses. As with any pursuit, there are online course creators who can’t get their business off the ground and don’t make a single sale. There are education entrepreneurs that produce a nice side income from their online courses. And there are the top achievers who are wildly successful with their online courses. 2) What are the Technical Skills Required to Create an Online Course? So you’ve got skills, passion, and life experience. Now it’s time to translate all that accumulated value into an online course. There are two areas of technical skills that will be required to successfully launch your course: Creating the learning content (instructional design) Creating the learning content delivery system (online course or learning management system – LMS) We’ve seen a lot of would-be online course entrepreneurs fail because they underestimate the importance of the skills in building the online course delivery system. But first allow me to address the first skill set of creating the actual learning content. The online course entrepreneurs that we’ve seen excel fall into one of two categories: They have their learning content ready to go They get resourceful and get help creating videos, audios, downloadable resources, and sign up with an online meeting or webinar service for their live components Now in terms of the skills required to create the learning content delivery system or LMS, I’d like to tell you a story… When I was a kid, I walked deep into the woods, determined to build a log cabin on my own. I had a bow saw to cut up trees, some nails, and a hammer. I started cutting and laying the logs down criss-cross style to form a square. After a day of work I ended up with some logs stacked up 4 feet high. There was no roof, no doors, and no window. It was more like a fence than a log cabin. I thought I could build a log cabin based on the ideas in my head, but it wasn’t as easy and as intuitive as I thought it would be. The lesson is that to build a decent log cabin, I would need to invest years in training and study or hire a professional. Later as an adult, I wised up and hired a professional builder to build my first log cabin. The picture here is the exact cabin I had built by a professional builder. Many education entrepreneurs make the same mistake I did when I was a kid. They try and build a learning content delivery system as if they were a seasoned pro at that skill set. Just like it’s true that home construction materials continue to improve, the tools to deliver online training continue to improve and become more accessible to the do-it-yourselfer. But all this awesome technology doesn’t mean you should roll up your sleeves and learn an entirely new skill set. To get good at building an online course delivery system with content that is optimized for engagement may take you years. What is the opportunity cost of all that time? How much money are you wasting trying to figure it out on your …
Do You Need a WordPress LMS Theme, a WordPress LMS Plugin or Both? In 2016 you need both, and here’s why … In the WordPress space, functionality belongs in plugins and design belongs in a theme. Why the LifterLMS LaunchPad Theme is the Best Theme to Go with the LifterLMS Plugin … The LifterLMS LaunchPad theme enables you to modify the design, layout and typography of your online courses website. If you want a highly customizable theme, LifterLMS LaunchPad is definitely for you or your next client project. In this LMScast episode, Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett discuss the WordPress LMS plugin vs. WordPress LMS theme debate in more detail. They also discuss the arrival of the LaunchPad theme into the LifterLMS suite of products. The LifterLMS LaunchPad theme is a great option for you because: You get powerful theme options where you can adjust the key areas of your website without needing to know how to code and without needing to hire a specialist. You get a theme that gives you point-and-click design control over all the custom elements that LifterLMS LaunchPad creates. This includes the courses, lessons, course tiles, student dashboard (My Courses), and checkout pages. You get access to the Google Web Font library so you can easily bring in new fonts to match your style and brand. As a WordPress LMS theme, it’s important to note that the LifterLMS LaunchPad theme can be used to build an attractive website even if LifterLMS is not installed or you don’t have your online courses set up yet. Here’s a quick video tour of the LifterLMS LaunchPad theme options in the 1.0 release http://gocodebox.wistia.com/medias/xus37jn2ra?embedType=async&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=750 So What Can you Build with a Powerful Point and Click Design Tool like LifterLMS LaunchPad? The truth is that it’s difficult to demo a site with LaunchPad, because with such an expansive theme options panel, there are unlimited number of designs and layouts that you could create. If you look at the LifterLMS LaunchPad Demo, you will see just one possible configuration. Is LifterLMS LaunchPad the right WordPress LMS theme for you? It depends… For some people who may be very new to WordPress and working with themes and plugins, LaunchPad may have too many options for the newcomer to WordPress implementation. For those people who are new to the technology or who are very protective of their time, the LifterLMS Boost (Done-For-You Setup Services) might be a much better fit. The Boost services work best for already successful businesses looking to grow to new levels or take their offline teaching into the online space. If you’re already happy with your website, you may not need to change themes. What we see many people do is to keep their main website as it is, but then they spin up a new LifterLMS + LaunchPad powered website on a new URL (mywebsiteacademy.com) or subdomain like (academy.mywebsite.com). If you are curious if the LifterLMS LaunchPad theme might be a great fit for your project and you have questions, you can contact the LifterLMS team here. Let’s make great courses together!
Our friend Janelle Allen is the founder of Zen Courses, and she’s an incredible thinker in the online space. We asked her to write a guest post for us about ways to make your online courses more actionable, so check out that wisdom from Janelle in this post! Three Ways to Make Your Online Course More Actionable Online courses are all about action. In fact, it’s one of the key things that sets them apart from passive learning tools like ebooks or lecture-based webinars. And yet, when it comes down to it, we often struggle with building action into our courses. Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever outlined the topics you wanted to cover in your course–even organized them into modules–only to realize you have absolutely no idea where to start when it comes to activities? If so, don’t worry, it’s a pretty common thing. Just take a look at many online courses out there and, like a lot of in-person classes, they tend to focus on one thing: lecturing. There’s slides. There’s videos. There’s screencasts. But they all amount to one thing (wait for it): lecturing. On their own, lectures can be, well, dry. The magic happens when you combine your lectures or presentations with activities (and ensure that both support learning outcomes). Because activities help your students succeed and help you become a better teacher. So the million dollar question is: how do you make your online course more actionable? How Do Activities Help You and Your Students? Before we talk about strategies for making your course more actionable, let’s clarify how activities help your students succeed and how they help you become a better teacher. It all comes down to delivering results: Activities Help Your Students Succeed by: Keeping them engaged with the material Helping them apply the concepts Identifying areas where they may need more instruction Activities Help You Become a Better Teacher by: Supporting your course’s learning outcomes, which means you deliver results Breaking up big learning goals into smaller chunks so your students don’t get overwhelmed Providing insight into what your students struggle with, so you can offer guidance Online courses have a reputation for low completion rates. These are just some of the ways activities help you increase your course’s rates. Three Types of Activities to Use in Your Online Courses #1: Quizzes In online course nerdland (you know, where I live) we call quizzes formative assessments. It’s a fancy way of saying quizzes help you see (assess) how well your students understand the information during the course, instead of waiting until the end. Quizzes aren’t a way to have your students apply complex concepts. Instead, what they are is an excellent way to help your students check their knowledge or comprehension of a topic. In other words, quizzes indicate where you may need to provide additional instruction or support. Let’s recap. Quizzes: Work well in courses that present a lot of information or complex concepts Help your students check their knowledge in a certain area Helps you identify challenging topics that would benefit from more activities #2: Task-Based Activities What if you want to teach an online course on coding, carpentry, or knitting, for example? These are hard skills (also called practical or technical skills). With any skill, the only way to learn it is to do it. Skills require practice and repetition. Would it be easy to create a note in your course that says “go do X” and assume that your students will know what they’re doing? Sure. But what if you want to make sure your students …