Coming from a background in Internet Marketing, I think it’s always great to leverage your products. What I mean is being able to earn passive income and sell to people through online automation. The old school way of building a list, putting them through a sales funnel via email autoresponders, and then making the sale is a very familiar process for Internet Marketers.
But I never really thought of doing something like that for on-line education.
Today, I read a really interesting blog post from Justin Ferriman. He wrote a very detailed post on “How to Sell Your eLearning Courses for Profit“. What’s really neat is he organized his tips into a 4 part series. I really look forward to reading more of this series.
Justin deserves a lot of credit for this post. He gets very detailed and lists exactly what you need to do for step 1.
After reading the article, I’m still left with thoughts about how an eLearning course can be broadened in order to sell to different customers? What I mean is- could course A which is created for population X also be sold to population Y? (Guess I’m thinking like a capitalist). My initial thought is hell no because the course has to meet the needs of population X, which is different from the needs of population Y.
It’s time for me to comment on Justin’s blog and find out what he thinks. Wanna join me?
I’ve been designing and developing online education for my employer for quite a while. Because the subject matter is something I am not well versed in, we’ve relied on instructors to create PowerPoint presentations- which has provided a foundation for the structure of each course.
PowerPoint is a good tool to use: it helps get thoughts organized and communicated in a logical and understandable way. However, PowerPoint presentations have some limitations:
- Most PowerPoint presentations are not attractive to the eye
- Presenters often end up reading the slides and the audience can get very bored
- Powerpoint presentations create a format that is mostly lecture style. This style too often dis-engages the audience.
One of the creative challenges I have had as the Instructional Designer and Course Developer at my work is to make the courses more engaging for the learner. The challenge has kept me on my toes and required a lot of time to research and try different things.
I wanted to share a document I put together for the company. The document has some valuable tips for how to make online education more engaging.
I want to credit some valuable resources that provided a lot of help as I put this document together:
How to make online courses more engaging
Two important things to know:
75% of a successful course is a result of what happens in the Planning phase (expect to spend a few months of planning before you start the course production).
Less is more. Getting to the point quickly is crucial for how to positively impact a learner.
1. Planning Part 1
- List what the wants and expectations of the audience (learner) are
- View other related/relevant online courses for tips about course content, presentation style, transitions, etc. Take extensive notes.
- Analyze your presenter’s PowerPoints. Narrow the slides and subject down. Brainstorm and list what the most important take aways for the learner are.
- Write a script. Put your PowerPoints into time sequences called “sections”. For each sequence, figure out what props, demonstrations, lecture formats, etc. can be used. Note where each transition will happen and when each prop will be used.
- Make sure everything involved in the Planning phase is intended to “Show the learner how to _____.” (GREATLY AVOID “telling them what to do”!!!!)
2. Planning Part 2- Preparation
- Analyze your script. Make notes where to increase the amount of interaction between presenter and learner. Also note where to use examples (more images, video, stories, case studies, etc.). Create a folder where your additional media (links, files, etc.) will be stored.
- Time each section on the script. Ensure that there is no more than 1 hour of lecture before the course is shifted to some type of hands on work or other change in the presentation.
- Have the presenter practice delivering their presentation. Identify strengths and opportunities for improvements. Make sure the presenter practices a voice fluctuation. Also record how much time each section takes.
- Edit the script. Practice the edited version. Edit again and again until you know you have a final script.
- Break you your script into different “scenes”. Then schedule the time to record the presentation.
3. Filming (we use video, there may be adjustments necessary to meet your needs)
- Wear camera friendly clothes. Wear makeup (foundation) for better lighting and film capture.
- Use a clapboard for each scene. (Easier to track files during the editing process)
- Open the presentation with a bang! Share a relevant story before the presenter shares who they are and what their background is.
- Use voice fluctuation. Speak in ways that evoke control and interest. Keep good posture.
- Let the learner know when great points are being communicated. Offer take-aways such as downloads with study questions, manuals, case study reports, presenter’s notes, etc.
- Film the presenter doing something rather than just sitting there talking. Also use multiple cameras for different angle shots.
- Close the presentation with a bang! Communicate an important call-to-action at the end of the presentation.
4. Course Development
- Edit the film footage to show a camera angle change every minute or so. Use additional visuals more frequently. Zoom in on visuals that are important for stressing specific points.
- Add animations if necessary (show movement). Use 3D models if possible.
- Keep transitions simple. Make sure they are compatible with the online platform (LMS) used.
- Provide attachments/take-aways when necessary.
- Honor the need for high speed internet connections. (Fast loading player with adaptive bitrate streaming preferred)
- Import and organize courses into selected Learning Management System (LMS).
5. The Launch
- Compose a friendly and motivational sales email.
- Send the email invitation at least 3 times in three months. (But alter the content for each email)
- Offer the course to power partners for free so they can review and recommend to their community.
- Promote further as necessary.
And for your convenience, you can download the document here: reidpeterson.comEngagingOnlineEd.
I sincerely hope this template makes your work easier and you have better results with engaging your learners/audience. Please let me know through the comment thread how things go.