In my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online, I talk about the difference between really teaching someone something, and simply exposing them to information.
Real teaching changes the world because it produces transformation.
When you set out to create an online course, the first thing to determine is the IMPACT your course will have.
How will your course participants be different (and better!) as a direct result of taking your course?
What's the TRANSFORMATION your course will deliver?
In order to help someone learn something new,
we have to first (gently) encourage them to leave their comfort zone.
You can't learn anything new if you stay in your comfort zone.
The reason it's your comfort zone is that you already know everything in it!
The pandemic has forced the entire planet to leave its comfort zone.
Whatever specific pain point is leading people to take an online course,
stands against the general backdrop of the generalized pain we all are in
due to the pandemic.
The need for transformation, in all areas of life, is tremendous.
As the promoters and producers of transformation, we need to be tuned into and aware of the tremendous level of pain our target audience is feeling.
It's not the same as before the pandemic.
Everything has changed.
The environmental backdrop against which you are creating and delivering an online course (or a whole online academy), is very different today than it was a year ago.
If you're thinking about creating an online course, or are already creating one, think about the area of life your course will address.
How will your course make life better for your course participants? What level of pain will it alleviate and address:
In order to address our learners' pain points, we have to temporarily make their pain worse.
And given the current conditions, that is especially challenging right now.
For example, if you're teaching a mindset course about adopting healthier eating habits, your course participants will have to let go of familiar foods that they find comforting, in order to learn to love new foods that they don't yet know about or like.
Normally, the level of pain involved in learning something new, is manageable.
But right now, when so many are already in so much pain, we as facilitators of transformation need to be aware that we are, temporarily, asking our learners to face even MORE pain than they already have been facing for an extended period of time.
The pain involved in learning something new is GOOD pain.
It leads to positive change and productive results.
It's like the (mild) pain of a good workout, that helps our muscles grow.
It's just that everyone on the planet has been doing an intensive "workout" for the past year, just to stay alive.
So we need to factor that background pain into the equation
as we think about how to create a safe, supportive learning space in which our course participants can grow.
What's the solution?
Be extra kind and understanding, both to yourself as the facilitator of transformation, and to those who depend on, connect with, and learn from you.
What does this mean in practical terms?
You are doing important work.
You are changing the world.
It's a marathon, not a sprint,
so pace yourself and take the long view.
If you need to learn new skills (such as how to use a particular type of media, or new tech skills), give yourself the time and space to do it...but do it.
Keep going and don't give up.
The world needs your teaching, and the transformation it provides, now more than ever.
Are you, too, tapping into the extraordinary levels of pain that are out there in the world right now?
How are you managing it for yourself and your community of learners?
What pain point(s) will your course address, and how will your course ultimately help to make that pain better?
How will you support your learners through the times when they have to step out of their comfort zones?
Let's continue the conversation in the Facebook group... and I hope you will join us on Saturday for the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting, so we can support each other in supporting those we are here to serve.