Three Ways to Make Your Online Course More Actionable

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 …

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LifterLMS 2.3.0 is Here with More Engagement Power

Another evolution of LifterLMS is hot off the press. In LifterLMS 2.3.0 I’d like to focus on 3 new areas that you can enjoy. 1) A New Engagement Trigger for Purchases of Courses or Memberships One of the many things that makes LifterLMS stand out above other WordPress LMS and online course solutions is our focus and commitment to making courses and online learning in general more engaging. You can now trigger a LifterLMS engagement (achievement badge, personalized email, or certificate) off of a course or membership purchase. For example, you could deliver an achievement badge immediately after purchase to help build excitement in your learner. If you want some achievement badges to get started with, check out the badge packs that come with LifterLMS Pro. You could also have a personalized onboarding email go out immediately after purchase to guide your new student on what to expect. Think of it like an orientation of sorts. Let’s say that after 30 days from purchasing a specific course, you would like to have a personalized email automatically go out promoting another course you offer. Now you can do that! 2) Enhancements to the Engagement Delay Just like in the example above where we’re sending out an email 30 days after the purchase of a specific course, you can control the engagement delay. There’s no limit into how creative and strategic you can get with your engagement plan. We encourage you to think about your learner’s journey over time and use engagement delays to spread out the experience and interact at key points in time that you find work well to create the most powerful learning experience and drive your education business forward. 3) A Complete Overhaul on the Engagement System One of the great things about the LifterLMS project is the growing community that surrounds it. We are on this journey together as your technology partner. You give us feedback and help identify where functionality needs improvement, and we listen to that. I’d like to extend a warm thank you to the community for helping us refine and invest in optimizing the engagement system into a more unified whole. You’ve helped us identify and fix some bugs in this area. We’re not perfect, and we appreciate you pointing out where we may need to adjust something. So thank you again for engaging with us with your needs and experiences with our technology. If you’d like to connect with us at a deeper level and help support the LifterLMS project, consider investing in LifterLMS Pro so you can get priority support, live access to weekly development office hours, and other goodies. Let’s make great courses together!

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Say Hello to LifterLMS 2.2.2, a MailChimp Extension Release and More …

This week we rolled out LifterLMS 2.2.2 We’re excited and honored about the support pouring in from the WordPress community that is translating LifterLMS is into new languages other than English. We’ve just released an Italian translation (thanks to codeat) and a German translation (thanks to Netzstrategen). By the time you read this, we’ll have rolled out LifterLMS 2.2.3, which includes the German translation. The new version of LifterLMS also includes improvements to how quizzes are timed, and we’ve added the ability for you to add HTML to your quiz question answers. As an example, you could now add images as the question answers with HTML. Also for those of you using a LifterLMS membership to lock down and protect the entire site beyond the sales pages, we’ve made it possible for you to have a Terms and Conditions page that bypasses this restriction. And here’s a video tour of some of the highlights of the recent LifterLMS releases … You can read more about what’s new in LifterLMS 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 in the LifterLMS changelog on the product roadmap page. But Wait, There’s More … We also rolled out a new version of the popular LifterLMS MailChimp Extension. The most anticipated new feature is that users who join memberships can now also be added to MailChimp lists or groups. We’ve also fixed an issue where the auto enrollment feature (where you can automatically enroll users in specific courses when they join a membership) now correctly syncs users to the appropriate MailChimp list or group. And in a similar vein if you manually add a student, that user is now correctly synced to MailChimp. Thank you to the LifterLMS community for helping us continually improve and evolve our learning software! If you are not using an email marketing tool in conjunction with your LifterLMS site, I would encourage you to check out what’s possible with the LifterLMS MailChimp Extension. Let’s keep making great online courses together!

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2 List Building Strategies to Take Your Email List from 0 to 100 in 30 Days or Less

This post is the first part of a 3 part email series on list building for online teachers. PART 1: [YOU ARE HERE] – 3 Strategies to build your email list from 0 to 100 PART 2: [coming soon] – The Next Level: Moving from 100 to 1,000 subscribers PART 3: [coming soon] – The journey from 1,000 to 10,000 – 3 tactics to get you there We are wrapping up week 6 of our online coaching program CourseClinic. It has been incredible working with course creators from around the globe on how they can build, launch and sell their online courses. In the process of teaching this course, I have found that many course creators struggle with list building. If you don’t have a list, it’s exponentially more difficult to do things like… Test new content and ideas Presell a pilot course Launch an evergreen course Today I am going to outline 2 of my favorite strategies for building an email list and give a blueprint that you can use to jump start your list building efforts. But first, let’s take a high-level look at the process. List building takes hard work There is no way around it. If you are starting off with ZERO email subscribers on your list, then you are going to have to get your hands dirty. This means you are going to have to manually reach out to individuals in your social network to create a group of subscribers that you can build upon (more on this in tips 1-3). Once you get to 100 subscribers, things get easier. You can use tactics that are scalable and give you more exponential list growth. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you don’t have a least 100 email subscribers on your list, then none of the other strategies will work for you. So focus on getting 100 before moving on to the other strategies. Here are the two strategies that will get you to 100 email subscribers (in 30 days or less): The Grin’N Hustle Method Twitter List Building Hack Grab your favorite beverage, because we are going to put in some work… The Grit’n Hustle Method When I was younger, my father taught me how to sell. His idea was that if I learned how to sell and the psychology behind selling, then I’d never go hungry. Even in the worst economies in the world, a salesman can always make money. Those skills have served me well, and they are the exact skills you need to build a list to 100 people. Specifically the skill of cold calling – or cold outreach as we will call it. Now before you shut your computer and scream in agony at the thought of cold calling… here me out. Cold outreach is simply letting someone who is potentially interested in your subject matter know that you are going to be doing something cool and relevant in their area of interest. Here is what is interesting. Most of us probably have around 20-30 interested people’s emails in our inbox already. We just haven’t done anything to let them know we are going to be working on something cool. states that the average person sends and receives roughly 102 emails per day. This means we have 100+ potential people we can have conversations with that might be interested in our subject matter. The question is how do we segment and contact the most relevant people? The answer is manual labor. It’s not fun or sexy, but it is effective. Here is the process: Open your email inbox Look at the last 200 …

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Grow Your Online Course Business with LifterLMS and ConvertKit

What is ConvertKit? ConvertKit is a powerful email marketing tool, and at LifterLMS we invite you to consider integrating with it through the official LifterLMS ConvertKit integration to help grow your course sales and give you more tools to communicate with your learners. There are a lot of email marketing tools out there, so why did we choose ConvertKit? It has a beautiful, well designed interface that just makes sense. There are a lot of confusing interfaces in the email marketing space, and ConvertKit is not one of them. ConvertKit’s sequence or “autoresponder” system is perfect for creating email mini-courses to help you earn the trust of potential learners and ultimately close the sale into your main LifterLMS powered online courses. Nathan Barry, the entrepreneur behind ConvertKit, is a seasoned email marketer and creator of successful online courses and other digital products. He gets where you’re coming from, and he knows what you need to be successful. Nathan Barry, ConvertKit Founder How to Use ConvertKit to Get More Course Leads and Sales ConvertKit has something called sequences that you can trigger. A sequence is a series of emails that go out over a period of time or “drip” that you define. We recommend you use ConvertKit sequences to deliver an email based mini-course. This email mini-course helps you get more leads and sales because… People get to know you. They may have found you for the first time, and it’s important to build rapport before you ask for the sale. As a general rule, people like to do business or learn from people they already know. People get to see if they like you as a teacher. We all have memories of teachers we loved and others we did not enjoy. A free email mini-course in exchange for an email address gives people the opportunity to test the waters and find out if they like working with you. People get an opportunity to see if they trust you. This is the most important factor and driver of sales. Once you have the trust as a likable authority that can deliver valuable educational material, you have the greatest likelihood of moving that student from “interested” to “paying student.” So we recommend you find a place on your website, like the blog sidebar or the top of the home page, and have a ConvertKit opt-in form where you ask for an email address in exchange for a free email mini-course. Give people the opportunity to know, like, and trust you. Then at the end of the email sequence, send them some information and give the learner a link so they can explore your paid courses or memberships. How to Use ConvertKit for Intelligent Email Broadcasting to Students One of the best things about the LifterLMS ConvertKit Extension is the ability to segment your email list. After you have earned the trust through your email mini-course and the student buys a course from you, you can now add them to a specific “tag” and apply additional sequences if you’d like. An example of a sequence you might want to send out is some general “getting started” or “onboarding” emails designed to remove any friction on getting going. For example, you might send out an email with a link to a video that has a behind the scenes tour of your course platform. It’s important that you take advantage of the moment right after purchase when interest, attention, and excitement is the highest. Even more powerful than the global tagging and sequences you can trigger is the ability to add users to a specific …

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What’s New in LifterLMS 2.2.0?

LifterLMS continues to evolve based on your feedback and from the opportunities and the challenges we see in the online learning space. We’re proud to announce the arrival of LifterLMS 2.2.0. Here’s a video about what’s new: Improvements to LifterLMS Translations We’ve made it easier for LifterLMS to be translated into any language. For example, there’s a team of German web developers working right now translating LifterLMS into German. Certificate Improvements Did you know that if you are part of the LifterLMS Pro community, you now have access to some more certificate backgrounds to work with? Also we’ve improved how easy it is to print and resize LifterLMS certificates to your exact requirements. Course Sales and Coupon Improvements You’ll also notice improvements to our sale pricing and scheduling functionality. The system is more robust and can handle more scenarios. For example you can now put a course on sale, but not necessarily define a start and end date. We also improved the coupon experience for you, so your customers can remove a coupon if they need to. There’s more nuance to the general code validation and error handling around sales and coupons, so your users can enjoy an even better user experience. There’s So Much More in LifterLMS 2.2.0 … LifterLMS, like any powerful open source software, continues to evolve rapidly. That means we’re continuously optimizing errors, defining and fixing bugs, and rolling in new features that are trending in our user base. Thank you for sharing your experiences and dreams and helping us decide what’s next with LifterLMS. Also consider joining LifterLMS Pro so you can get even more valuable tools and resources out of the LifterLMS project.

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How To Map Out Your Online Course

So you want to create an online course… But the most logical problem is – where to start? You may have a few ideas… But how do you structure it in a way that works for your students? How do you map it out into a great course curriculum? How do you get your thoughts in order? What information should you include? What should you leave out? You already know that building an online course holds multiple benefits for the growth of your business But it can be overwhelming to even start Today we’re going to fix that… Today you’re going to learn: The EXACT 5 Step-By-Step Framework You Can Use To Plan And Structure Your Information Into A Kick-Ass Course It’s not always easy to organize your knowledge into a smooth flowing curriculum…

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Online Course Website Problems? What if Finding Answers Was as Easy as Clicking a Button …

Since making LifterLMS 2.0 completely free and open source this week, we’ve had several new releases. Today’s release has something new that will help any serious education entrepreneur that uses LifterLMS be more confident in the health of their online courses platform. Say hello to the new LifterLMS System Report. The Top 2 Benefits of the LifterLMS System Report You get to find out why your site might not be working at 100% without wasting your time or money If you are a LifterLMS Pro customer, you can empower your support team to help you much faster with less back and forth by sending a copy of your current system report with your issue A Word of Thanks … I’d like to thank the WordPress Community, our old users, and new users for a warm welcome and words of encouragement as we enter the free, open source space. And in the spirit of the open source community, I’d like to thank the WooCommerce project for their leadership in the system reporting space and their influence on this small new feature in LifterLMS. Next Steps for You Make sure you have a current version of the LifterLMS software Click the new System Report WordPress menu item under LifterLMS to generate your current system report When you submit a support request inside your LifterLMS account, include a copy of the system report Smile, because you just gave the support team a realistic view of your unique situation, which means you’ve empowered them to help you at the highest level Please let us know in the comments if there’s anything we can do to further improve the system report or LifterLMS support in general.  

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How the #1 WordPress LMS Plugin, LifterLMS, is Democratizing Education

Today we are announcing the biggest update to LifterLMS since it’s inception. LifterLMS 2.0! In August of 2014 we set out to create a WordPress plugin that would allow teachers to build and sell online courses as well as automatically engage with students. The ride has been incredible, and the stories we have heard from many of our users have moved us in profound ways. We’ve been laser focused on our users’ needs and making a WordPress plugin that is not only powerful, but simple to use. Our community has been incredible, and every user of LifterLMS has helped us make the platform better by giving us feedback on ways we can improve the system. With this in mind, we are taking things to the next level, and today we are happy to announce that LifterLMS 2.0 is going to 100% open sourced and free. Download your copy of LifterLMS 2.0 here. [If you’ve previously purchased a license of LifterLMS, you can find out what happens to that license here.] The Mission of LifterLMS is to Democratize Education in the Digital Classroom LifterLMS makes it easy for anyone in the world to have a beautiful learning platform. There’s a huge opportunity in bringing online education to people around the world. How we track our success in our mission to democratize the online learning experience is how many websites are using our software and how many students’ lives those learning platforms are touching. We’re trying to make those numbers higher. We believe education in general is a cornerstone of a free society. The ability for teaching and learning and for ideas to be disseminated and for authority to be challenged is part of every free society that we’ve seen so far in history. The small part that LifterLMS can play in building a tool, an online classroom for the digital age, makes us excited. LifterLMS is a tool that allows people to get their thoughts and lessons out there in both small and significant ways. This is the future of learning. This is LifterLMS. How is LifterLMS 2.0 better than ever? Now making LifterLMS completely open source is cool, but we have also added some cool new features and enhancements. Vouchers First off, we are releasing a much requested and anticipated new feature called “Vouchers”! Have you ever wanted to take cash for a course and give your customer an access code that allows them to access a course without entering in credit card details … well now you can! With vouchers you can now generate one or 1,000 codes to be sold in B2B business transactions, conferences, or even off of the street if you are that type of hustler. However you want to use them, we want to give you the power to give access to your course in new and different ways. So after you get paid by some business for 500 seats in your course, you now have a way to give the business a voucher code that is good for 500 uses or 500 unique voucher codes. And here’s a quick video tour of the vouchers system … Bulk Add and Remove Students from Courses We are also releasing a new admin interface for adding and removing students. This gives you the ability to bulk add and remove students from a course. We’ve also optimized performance of this feature to work even better with large databases, like those containing thousands or tens of thousands of students. So if you want to give 10 promotional partners free access to a specific course, you can now search and bulk add …

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Introducing the LifterLMS Helper (and updates to Stripe, MailChimp, and Infusionsoft)

Today we’re unveiling a new free LifterLMS extension to aid in automatic updates of premium LifterLMS extensions via the WordPress admin panel. In an effort to improve the performance and user experience around activating and updating LifterLMS and LifterLMS extensions, we’ve created the LifterLMS Helper which serves updates more reliably than our previous methods. You can grab a copy of the extension and read more about how the extension works at Right now the LifterLMS Helper will serve updates to the LifterLMS Stripe, LifterLMS MailChimp, and LifterLMS Infusionsoft extensions. We’re phasing out the updater methods that currently exist in LifterLMS in the next major release of LifterLMS itself so we recommend you grab the Helper and start using it as soon as possible.

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