Making Online Learning FunNov 29, 2022
The idea had been brewing in my mind for quite a while. I wanted to make a self-paced, digital course so that the learning my clients receive through one-on-one training and engagements could become more accessible to more people. “How hard could it be?” I thought. With a lot of optimism and ambition, my teammate at the time, Caleb, and I jerry-rigged together our very best studio setup in a quiet corner of my Endeavor office. We spent a full (and comical in retrospect) eight hours shooting and reshooting course content. Needless to say, the outcome of our efforts were…not great. We quickly pivoted to a real video production studio and engaged the help of the super talented folks at 9/8 Central. (Thank you, Will and team!)
Before hiring the pros:
After working with the pros:
Fast-forward a few months to when I was preparing to launch my very first online course, The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course™ to the world. The end result was night and day from where we started. I couldn’t be prouder of where we landed and how the course has been received since then. I learned a lot along the way about online learning that’s too good not to share. Whether you’re launching a course yourself or just looking for ways to make your next webinar more engaging, keep these tips in mind.
Play to your strengths.
Before you ever step foot in front of a camera or draft a script, consider how and where you’ll shine most. For me, I was certain that what I loved to do and felt confident doing was the actual delivery of content. While developing and launching a course was new to me, empowering learners to make the most of LinkedIn was not, and I knew I could do it well.
Likewise, wherever you’re using your unique gifts and talents in the business already is probably where you should use them to support a great digital learning experience. For instance, if you’re great at writing or researching but speaking makes you cringe, maybe it makes sense to hire a voiceover artist or actor to deliver the great content you create. No one does everything well.
Find your dream team.
If there’s one thing I would tell someone hoping to launch a digital learning product, it would be to secure the right people before you ever start putting the pieces together. Take it from me—building a high-quality online learning experience is going to require more than just you and your brain.
From planning to producing to launching a course, so much goes into making an idea a reality. I, for one, could not have done it all without the help of professionals like 9/8 Central, internal support from my teammate Caleb, and countless tech support chats with Kajabi (our preferred hosting platform). Looking back, I probably could have benefitted from an even bigger team. I didn’t realize how much energy and time launching a course would require of me. Doing it the right way meant temporarily neglecting other important sources of business development. With more resources, I could have fired on more cylinders…and probably gotten a little more sleep.
Know your audience.
You’ve probably heard it said that a product designed for everyone is a product designed for nobody. The same is true of a digital learning experience. Without a clear understanding of who you’re speaking to and what they need, your content will miss the mark every time. Your answer to, “Who is this for?” simply cannot be “Anyone.”
For me, I knew that I wanted to attract busy people who were eager to improve their use of LinkedIn but didn’t have $2000 to invest in themselves. As I thought about who these people might be, I was able to narrow in on the most important course features. I designed The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course™ to be modular, with content in bite-sized, one- to three-minute segments. I also knew it needed to be self-paced, so learners could advance, pause, or revisit content as needed. Knowing the course would still be a significant investment for many people, I was adamant about creating lifetime access to the course.
Inspire confidence and action.
One thing I always strive to be conscious of, whether I’m hosting a virtual training session or speaking to individual learners in a digital course, is the way my expertise is perceived. In other words, no one wants to feel stupid. Striking the right informative, yet approachable tone is one of the best ways to inspire confidence and action. You can also use cues in the user experience to encourage movement toward the finish line. Visual trackers that show course progress and icons to show completed modules make advancing toward the end goal feel possible, satisfying, and even fun!
Don’t neglect your launch strategy.
Planning and building a digital learning experience is only half the process. Launching your course, webinar, or online event is perhaps the most important (and possibly most exhausting) part! A “build it and they will come” approach doesn’t work online, so unless you want your hard work to stay sitting on a proverbial shelf, don’t neglect your launch strategy. My team and I took a live webinar-based launch approach to build awareness and interest in our course. There are dozens of ways you can create demand and urgency for your product (and there are entire digital courses on how to do this!). The right approach comes down to the goals and resources you’ve already identified—namely, your team and your audience.
If you’re looking for a way to democratize your knowledge and reach even more people with your expertise, an online course just might be the way to go. With the right expectations and preparation, online learning can truly be enjoyable, both for you to create and for your learners to experience.
Would you rather sit in the learner’s seat? Enroll now in The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course™. We’re so proud of this course and we’ve received so much great feedback from the many people who have accessed and completed it. The satisfaction of knowing we’re helping people stand out on LinkedIn the right way more than makes all the hard work worth it. I hope you’ll consider joining us.