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Use learning design to structure your whole business…and everything in it

the five possible learning types for your course
  • Verbal Information. 
  • Mindset.
  • Cognitive Strategy.
  • Intellectual skills (How-to).
  •  Motor Skills.

    These are the five “Domains of Learning” discovered by educational theorist and researcher Robert M. Gagné.


Any type of learning you want to create falls into one or more of these categories.

Understanding the 5 domains is a powerful key

you can use to unlock the BEST way to structure your entire online business enterprise...

as well as every course, lesson, and media item within it....

so people can achieve the transformation you’re promising.

The 5 Domains of learning can help you discover:

  • The type of transformation every aspect of your business will deliver
  • The best way to structure every part of your business to optimize learning
  •  What to include in every level of your business and what to leave out

Most courses include elements of more than one learning domain, but there is ONE domain that determines the best way to structure your course as a whole.

The same principle applies to anything you create, from  your whole business enterprise to a single PDF.

 Figuring the over-arching domain  is the key to setting up a business, course, lesson, or media item

 that people will learn from, love, and recommend to their colleagues and friends.

Let's say that  you have a business that includes a book, coaching, and a course.  

Your business will have its own learning domain.. and figuring out what that learning domain  is will guide you in how to structure the business.

For example, a business that's focused on producing mindset change will need to include long-term ongoing support to ensure that the mindset change sticks.

Woman changing smileys on her face


My online learning program, as a whole… my whole online course enterprise.. focuses on MINDSET CHANGE

The goal of my business is to change people’s attitudes  (and resulting behaviors) about online course creation—so that they understand what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work, and what will work better to create online courses that truly deliver on their promises.

In order to facilitate that type of mindset change, my online course enterprise goes deep into helping you get in touch with your mission and vision for teaching online… your WHY for doing what you do.

 And I provide extensive long term support so you can go the distance to get your course created, get it out there, and continuously up-level your delivery and practice of teaching online… whether you’ve been teaching for 35  years or have never taught before in any context, at all.

As a smaller subset within my online enterprise,  The Course Design Formula® which you can read about in my book, is ahOW-TO(INTELLECTUAL SKILL).

The book presents the big ideas that are critical to know about teaching and learning… both in general, and online.

The book presents tools and resources specifically designed to help you create effective online learning programs, and  steps to follow to get your course online.

And you’ll learn some high-level fine tuning tweaks to ensure your online programs are effective, impactful, engaging and “elegant”.. by which I mean that you skillfully combine different aspects of quality teaching in a smooth and graceful way.

picture of the Course Design  Formula book in paperback
octopus emerging from computer


But let’s face it… it’s one thing to learn what the steps of a skill involve.. and another thing to APPLY those steps to YOUR specific content, which may be very comprehensive, unique, and complex. 

That process can feel  as overwhelming and nebulous as  trying to wrestle an octopus... amiright?

In order to help you apply the steps of the Course Design Formula® to your specific content, 

I’ve set up the Course Design Formula® Master Course as a COGNITIVE STRATEGY course... 

 you learn how to learn how best to apply each step of the formula to your specific content,

in your own unique way, that works best for YOUR target audience and their needs.

The Master Course is a 14 week cohort-based program that I offer twice a year. 

Admission is by private interview only.

If you’re interested in joining the next cohort (starting June 21 2022), 

click here to make an appointment

to meet with me for an enrollment interview.


You can see the domains of learning for the different aspects of my business, here... and how they relate to each other. 

Each business, course, and media item will be unique in this regard. 

That's why developing a deep understanding of the domains of learning is so important,

so you can get clarity on how to structure each aspect of your online teaching enterprise.

learning domains for different aspects of my business


How about you?

 What’s the learning domain for your online academy, program, or course?

Take the free quiz

to find out your program's learning domain. 


How will YOU change the world through teaching online?


And.. what kind of help do you need to make that happen?

Join us on Facebook

 in the

Course Design Formula® Community.

Send me an email

 to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

Come to the 

Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays on Zoom.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive

 with online courses and online business

in these challenging times

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

My “Tinkerbell” moment… and yours

Rainbow reflected human hands

As creative experts and solopreneurs, facing challenges is part of what we do. If we didn't love facing challenges, and do so willingly... and if we weren't at least somewhat good at coming up with solutions to those challenges.. we wouldn't be entrepreneurs.

That said, there's a limit to the coping skills, time, energy, and resources that any individual or business has... and when that limit is reached, a deeper level of resourcefulness is needed than ever before. 

My premise in this blog post is that we have reached that moment now. I'm calling it a "Tinkerbell" moment... when your own level of belief in the importance of what you're here to do, and your clients' and customers' commitment to supporting your business endeavor, are critical to the well-being and survival of your enterprise.

Rainbow reflected human hands
Flower growing through crack in the asphalt
Background Abstract Misty Mountain Range Colourful Wallpaper Digital Art Gradiant Pastel Dramatic Backdrop

Business experts and CEO's of large corporations, 

reflecting on the first quarter of 2022 and its implications for the year ahead, seem to agree on one thing:

 there is continuing volatility and unpredictability in store for all of us.

We in the online course space are in a very fortunate position, compared to many industries.

Let's count our blessings:

  • The pandemic has been GOOD for the online course industry 
  • We are able to do our work in safety and from home
  • Conditions of uncertainty require that people learn new things.. and that's where we can help

That said, I'm seeing signs of financial and emotional stress out there (and in here, too) that are starting to take a toll, even on us.

The conditions of prolonged, unrelenting, and continually worsening stress that have been impacting the world for the past several years have energized and inspired us to grow, to get creative, to found our businesses.

 But these same conditions, especially as they continue to get worse, and worse... and worse...may also be wearing you, me, and our clients and customers, out.

Since about last November, it's been harder for people to make and follow through on financial commitments... and this becomes a vicious circle.

If your OWN suppliers are charging you more, due to supply chain issues. .. and your OWN customers are able to pay you less, or less reliably, or in smaller numbers, due to the stresses THEY face... and if inflation starts making all this worse... a downward spiral can start to set in.

Can you relate? Have you faced this? How can we best cope?


Person falling through a hole

The MOST important thing we can do at a time like this, is to take good care of ourselves first. 

This  really IS a "put your own oxygen mask on first" moment.


To help you do that, I've created a "Mindset Reset" workbook for course creators. 

It's a fillable PDF and you can

 download it here

(or click on the arrow to access it).

Be sure to download it  from the web,

save it to your own computer,

and after you fill it in, hit "print to PDF" to save your inputs.

download arrow

How are you taking care of yourself, your business, and your customers in these challenging times? 

What lessons are you learning about what works for you, and what doesn't,

as a result of facing prolonged and ongoing stress under unpredictable and volatile conditions?

Heart hands as a group of diverse people hands connected together shaped as a love symbol expressing the feeling of being happy and togetherness.

Once we take care of ourselves, we are here to take care of each other.

 The premise of business in general, and an online course business in particular, is that we are creating products, programs, and services that provide solutions to other peoples' pain.

There's a lot of pain out there in the world these days... which means there are a lot of ways we, as online course creators, can be of service.

What pain points do YOUR products and services solve?


How are those pain points being impacted by current events?

What are the implications for the courses you're creating, and the way you're offering them to the people you serve?


Here's an interesting question:

What does learning design have to do with all this?

The surprising answer is: A LOT!


Understanding the PURPOSE of your business = KNOWING YOUR WHY.

WHY are you working so hard to create online courses and learning programs that improve peoples' lives?
WHY are you here, in this online business space?
WHY do you do what you do?

How will peoples' lives be DIFFERENT AND BETTER 

as a direct result of using your products and participating in your services?

If you have read my book,

taken my Streamlined Course Creation course

or participated in the Course Design Formula® Master Course,

 you will recognize that what we are talking about is:

the OVERALL LEARNING GOAL 

for your business as a whole.  

Your business' learning goal determines the overall shape or structure you create for the way you offer your products and services.

The romantic tunnel of pink flower trees


My business, as a whole, is here to promote MINDSET CHANGE.

I want to change the way people approach creating online courses,

so that they always put GOOD LEARNING DESIGN FIRST.

How about yours?


 What's the driving purpose, mission, vision of YOUR business? 

What's your WHY for doing what you do?

What makes fulfilling that "why" even more important now than ever, in these very challenging times?

Let's talk about it!

Join us on Facebook

 in the

Course Design Formula® Community.

Send me an email

 to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

Come to the 

Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays on Zoom.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive

 with online courses and online business

in these challenging times

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Why is transformation so hard?

Transformation of common lascar butterfly ( Pantoporia hordonia ) from caterpillar and chrysalis on twig

We all say we WANT transformation, right?

Online course creators NEED to focus on the transformation they want their course to deliver, if their course is going to actually DO anything and make a difference in the world.


BUT… here’s the dirty little secret of online course design that no one talks about (because it’s so hard and painful for all of us, as humans, to face).

We all WANT transformation. That’s why we sign up for online courses to begin with (and why we create them for our clients and customers).

But in order to ACHIEVE transformation, people have to actually CHANGE.


Frightened Woman

Change is hard, and people resist it. And they should.

And they… wait… WHAT??? They SHOULD?

 I thought we were focused on producing transformation here.

 We are.

 And in order for transformation to be real,

 it has to overcome the learner’s natural and instinctive resistance to change.

 

If there's no resistance, there's no (real) change!


Why do we resist change? Because change is hard, scary, and dangerous.

Many online courses DON’T produce real transformation… because they’re not designed to. 

That can happen because the course creator doesn’t know HOW to design a course to produce transformation. 

Or because no one really wants transformation to happen, to begin with.

Those are two separate use cases, so let’s explore them one at a time.

1) No one really wants transformation to happen, to begin with:

Sometimes, people like the IDEA of transformation, but don’t want to do the hard work needed to really make it happen. We’ve all been there at different times in our lives.
We buy the gym membership, but don’t actually go to the gym. 

We sign up for that class in accounting or yoga but never actually log on.

That’s from the learners’ side.

From the course creators’ side, a course that PROMISES transformation (but doesn’t actually deliver it) is fast and easy to create because it requires no learning design chops.

As long as you know how to ♨️SELL the sizzle♨️, you never need to actually cook the steak.

Plenty of people have gotten rich doing this.

All I have to say about that is… well... you know what they say about karma, so I won’t repeat it here.😱😱😱


2)  The course creator has excellent intentions, but doesn’t know how to design a course that actually produces transformation. 

I know that if you have read this far, use case #1 above does NOT apply to you, which means, you WANT your online course to produce real transformation.

The challenge then lies in understanding how to make that happen.

Here's what transformation looks like in each of the five domains of learning described by educational theorist and researcher Robert M. Gagné.

In my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online, I share how to use Gagné’s research into the domains of learning to set up your course to produce real transformation.

What I want to explore here is, WHY do we need five different ways to produce transformation?

I mean, change is change is change, right?

Wrong!

The collage of faces of surprised people

Different kinds of change require different teaching strategies, because of the different ways we RESIST each kind of change.


Now let’s get a high-level view of how to set up a course that produces real transformation.

In order to overcome resistance, pretty much any kind of transformation works best when we approach it from the right mindset, so let’s start by exploring mindset change.

MINDSET CHANGE

Woman changing smileys on her face


Surprisingly, when you set out to produce mindset change (meaning, to help people change their attitude and the resulting behaviors), the first thing to do (based on Gagné’s research and what I’ve discovered works from helping hundreds of creative experts set up their own online courses) is to start by helping your learners understand WHAT DOESN’T WORK: the unhelpful attitudes they COULD adopt, or maintain, if they want to.

Depressed woman lying on couch in messy room isolated flat vector illustration. Cartoon lazy character resting on sofa at home and surfing internet on smartphone. Apathy and indifference concept


Why would you start a course that promotes positive mindset change, by focusing on what DOESN’T work?


Here’s why: mindset change is a CHOICE. 


If you want people to actually change their mindset and resulting behaviors (instead of just SAYING they’ve changed while continuing to do what they were doing before), they have to first realize they COULD just keep doing what doesn’t work… and understand the long-term consequences of NOT changing.

The resistance to mindset change comes from the natural tendency we all have to want to stay in our comfort zone. It’s only natural, right? Lounging on the couch scarfing down carbs is a lot easier than getting up early to train for that half marathon... at least, at first.


So to produce mindset change, people need to first understand that change is their choice, and see the long-term consequences of NOT choosing to change.

  • You can keep scarfing down carbs… and here’s what you ‘ll look and feel like in 50 years.
  • You can NOT work hard to learn that new thing... and here’s how not knowing it will impact your performance and promotions at work over the next 10 years
  • You can smoke a pack a day for the rest of your life, and here’s what your lungs will look like compared to the lungs of someone who chooses to quit smoking now
  • (and so on...)

Seeing the long-term negative consequences of NOT choosing to change, counteracts the natural tendency we all have to want to stay in our comfort zones.

That’s why the first thing to teach in a mindset change course is what doesn’t work.

Next, people have to know what does work, which is the heart of the course’s teaching content.

But knowing what does work is still not enough to produce real mindset transformation.

People need to see concrete examples of what positive mindset change looks like, in the form of role models or case studies.

 They need to be inspired and to see that making the choice to change is possible because others have successfully done it.

Young man standing in front of large superhero shadow on white background

So now we’re good to go with mindset change, right?

NOPE... that’s still not enough!

Because changing our mindset and resulting behaviors is really really hard.

Even:

  • knowing what doesn’t work
  •  learning what would work better, and
  • seeing how others have successfully made the change

are still not enough!

There are two more very important pieces to the mindset change puzzle.

People need help getting in touch with WHY they want to get out of their comfort zone to make this change. 

They need an immediate short term “why” (that motivates them to take immediate action so they can get some quick wins) and they need a deeply compelling long term “why” so they can keep going over time.

If your reason for changing your attitude about healthy eating is that you want to look great for your friend’s wedding in three months, you need a longer-term reason to keep at it once the wedding is over.

And finally, the MOST important aspect of mindset change is

 long term ongoing support,

which means that producing lasting mindset change is a great foundation for an online membership or a coaching practice.

Heart hands as a group of diverse people hands connected together shaped as a love symbol expressing the feeling of being happy and togetherness.

Is mindset change an important part of YOUR online teaching program?

To learn more about how to create mindset change that really sticks, read my book, 

3D book mockup including back cover

For a deeper dive into mindset change and how it impacts us as online course creators, check out my blog post,

 “Are you ready for a mindset make-over”,

which focuses on the mindset changes we may need to make OURSELVES as digital entrepreneurs in the online learning space.

Video call or conference concept with men and women working together. Virtual meeting

I’d love to hear about YOUR experiences in producing mindset change that really sticks… let’s talk!

Join us at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern, on Zoom,

where we focus on how to survive and thrive with online courses and online learning in these challenging times.

(These meetings are one of the ways  I provide long term ongoing support for all of us, as online course creators! 

It would be great to see you there!)

Come to the

Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Saturdays

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

Focusing on What Works

TJe world

A lot of things are not working right now.

From the health care system to supply chains to being able to reliably plan things like work, child care, travel, and school, everyone on the planet is living with prolonged and severe stress.

It's hard not to succumb to exhaustion, anger, and despair. Those feelings are only natural.  I'm not here to blow Pollyanna sunshine around...we need to acknowledge what's real and to feel the way we feel. BUT...

For many of us, whether we are parents, entrepreneurs, educators, something else, or all of the above: WE are all we've got. The space between our ears has got to run the show, and in a positive way... or the show will not go on.

I know you know what I'm talking about, so I won't waste time. We are all acutely aware of what's NOT working right now, and the many things that are out of our control.

So let's get right to focusing on what does work, and what we CAN control.

The Importance of Self-Efficacy

"Self-efficacy" is one of the three motivational factors described by educational theorist and researcher Robert M. Gagné.

Self-efficacy means "being able to take effective action on one's own behalf". That's a fairly abstract concept during normal times, because people are generally USED TO taking effective action on their own behalf, all the time.

So explaining "self-efficacy" can be like trying to explain water to a fish: you're always swimming in it, so it's hard to understand what it IS. Until now.

 That thing that's missing from all of our lives right now?

 That's self-efficacy. 

When you work your hardest to get ahead, only to find yourself slipping behind:

 that's LACK of self-efficacy

The entire planet is facing a self-efficacy crisis right now. We've all been working our hardest, stepping out of (or being unceremoniously thrown out of) our comfort zones, being creative and adaptable and keeping our spirits up, but at a certain point, when faced with an invisible shape-shifting enemy that's literally trying to kill us... it can all feel like too much.

This is where YOU, and the importance of the expertise you want to teach and share with the world, come in.

glass globe sitting on top of a graph or chart

I've worked with hundreds of experts creating courses in all kinds of subject areas.

Whenever I ask them, "What's the difference you want your course to make for your own life, and for the world?" the first thing they focus on is how they want their course to change the world and make a difference for other people in positive ways.

I know that's your focus too... or you wouldn't be reading this blog. 

So let me ask you: would it be helpful to focus on building more self-efficacy into your own life, and the lives of the people you serve, in these turbulent times?

We can't do anything about the conditions out there,

but we can do everything about our own focus, attitude, and the structures we build to help others improve theirs.

That's what an online course is designed to do.

How do you build self-efficacy into an online course?

The online space has been a safe space during these turbulent times. If you want to build community and create a positive path forward for the people you feel called on to serve, creating an online course is a solid place to do that. So the CONTEXT of an online course provides self-efficacy to begin with.

To build self-efficacy into the STRUCTURE and CONTENT of your course, it helps to follow a proven, step-by-step process that ensures your course is designed for the way people actually learn. I created this schematic to show you the step-by-step process we follow in the Course Design Formula® Master Course:

the cdf journey map

If you’d like to make creating an online course that really teaches at a deep level, a priority this year, 

schedule a time NOW to talk with me

about whether the Course Design Formula® Master Course (starting January 18th, 2022) is right for you.

 Spaces are limited so book your call now.

(If you can't find a time slot that works for you on my calendar, 

just send me an email to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

with "Master Course" in the subject line).

Join the January 2022 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

CLASS STARTS JANUARY 18TH, 2022

Book your enrollment interview now!

I'd love for you to be able to look back next June and see the first half of 2022 as the time when you learned how to  make a tremendous positive difference in highly effective and practical ways.

The most impactful thing you can do in 2022

person's hands with online energy between them

This is an exciting time of year, filled with the energy of new beginnings.

Granted, everyone on the planet has been through the wringer for the past few years. Remember the dewy-eyed hopefulness with which we all greeted New Years 2020? HAH! How did THAT work out for us, hmmmm....

For many of us, planned holiday gatherings this year may have been overshadowed by the sudden emergence of the Omicron variant. Where did THAT come from?

It's clear that with this pandemic, we're way beyond talking about whether we're in a marathon or a sprint.

What we're clearly in for, and have been for some time, is a long, long siege.

E-Learning text on the keyboard with notepad and pencil. Concept of E-Learning using laptop and mobile devices.

If you're like me, ie, a normal human with feelings, you may be feeling discouraged, alarmed, or appalled about all this right now.

It's only natural to feel that way.

BUT...there is good news for our community of mission-driven, service-oriented online course creators and the good news is:

Online teaching and learning

 are clearly here to stay. 

Learning how to teach impactfully online

 has gone from something many people may have thought might be nice to do "someday",

to something we will all be better off for having already learned how to do well, yesterday.

One of the design principles I teach about in my book,

is the idea of affordances and constraints:

Affordances are those things that a design situation

 makes it easy, convenient, and effective to do.

Constraints are those things that a design situation 

makes it difficult, ineffective, or impossible to do.

The constant and unpredictable nature of the pandemic places constraints on many factors, situations, and activities we've all come to expect and enjoy and consider as normal parts of everyday life. 

There are constraints right now on systems as far reaching as supply chains, in-person meetings, family get togethers, air travel, and all sorts of recreation and fun.

And that's just if we're lucky. 

Many people all over the world are facing severe constraints on things like earning a living, getting enough to eat, or simply staying alive. 

So what does this unprecedented (in our lifetimes, at least) situation,

AFFORD us the opportunity to do especially well?

This is an amazing time

 for long-term, focused, introspection

and creative online work.

Online Learning Services Presentation and Infographics. Close-up shot on LCD screen.


In other words,

 this is the perfect time to

design, develop, and deliver

an online course.

It's not just that the course you've been carrying around in your head for all this time is important for YOU to create. 

Your course may be desperately needed as a path to a more meaningful and focused life, for the people you serve. 

Your course may be the difference your audience is waiting for:  to help them make a living, improve their physical or emotional health, learn new skills, or otherwise improve their lives. 

There's no better time to commit to making it happen, and getting it out there in the world, than NOW.

Inspiration quote - If not now, when?


And the most impactful way to do that is to

commit to your course design process 

by enrolling in the January 2022 cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

If you’d like to make creating an online course that really teaches at a deep level, a priority in the new year, 

schedule a time NOW to talk with me

about whether the Course Design Formula® Master Course (starting January 18th, 2022) is right for you.

 Spaces are limited so book your call now.

(If you can't find a time slot that works for you on my calendar, 

just send me an email to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

with "Master Course" in the subject line).

Join the January 2022 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

CLASS STARTS JANUARY 18TH, 2022

Book your enrollment interview now!


We'll resume the Saturday community meetings on January 8th, 2022.

Come join us to talk about how to survive and thrive

with online courses and online business in these challenging times.

2022. 2022 business goals concept illustration. Business team seeking new opportunities. Leadership. Vision. Achievement. Success vector design


Your Year in Pictures, 2021

Messy group of disorganized photos covered up by pieces of paper

I've noticed a message about the year in pictures for 2021, from various websites and publications,and the message is:

 "It isn't pretty. Are you SURE you want to look back?"

While I couldn't fully read the New York Times version, since I decided it isn't healthy to digest a steady diet of bad news, my glimpse at the headline before it got covered over by advertising messages promised a photo album of the apocalypse, with cities covered in dust.

(Hey, if I want to see things covered in dust I need look no farther than my own living room, amiright?)

Low-angle closeup of "Caution High Winds" traffic sign with strong winds visible in the cloud formations behind


While 2020, as I wrote at this time last year, may have been

 "a nonstop series of life or death storms for our little

 planet,"  2021 has been more like one BIG storm that never seems to end.

Just when you think it's safe to peek your head outside, you get blasted back  under your rock by the howling wind of another Covid variant.

And sometimes by the ACTUAL howling wind as well.

We've read the positive-thinking books. We've got the meditation apps. 

We know that it's important to have a positive mindset, in order to bring more positive things into our  businesses and lives ....

But it's a Catch-22 when negativity comes flying at us day after day after day, for years. 

No blowing smoke here, this is a very long slog up a very steep hill.

It isn't easy. And it isn't over.

So how should we look back and remember 2021?

My suggestion is, don't.

Don't look back. 

Look forward.

Keep going.

Envision the good that  you want to do in the world and focus on that with laser vision.

Because everything else is going to heck in a handbasket, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Just focus on your circle of influence and make the positive changes you can in your world and life... and especially in your courses and teaching work.

Young couple running away from waterfall (blurred motion)

What is the specific change you're here to make in the world, and how can you best achieve that? 

What will it take to make that happen, given all the odds that are stacked against all of us on this planet, right now?

Here's how my version of that looks (I'd love to hear yours!):

I'm here to help people create effective and engaging online courses that really DELIVER on the transformation they promise.

An important goal of my business is to take the stress and overwhelm out of online course design.

I'm like a professional organizer for your mind... helping you structure and display the aspects of your expertise you want to share with the world, in ways that (as Marie Kondo famously puts it) "spark joy" for you and your course participants.

In the midst of the swirling chaos, crazy weather, and general mayhem of the past year, it's been a source of great joy to celebrate my coaching clients' and course participants' successes as they launch their courses and deliver meaningful transformation that beautifully expresses their life's work.

I truly couldn't ask for anything more.



Your course content... 

before and after

applying the

Course Design

 Formula® to it!

Wide angle view of young woman with hands covering face kneeling on bed among large tiles of clothes and other objects in a chaotic bedroom. León, Castilla y León, Spain.
An organized closet

How about you? Despite everything that's going on outside your sphere of influence,

what have you been able to focus on in 2021 that WAS in your control?

What's the difference your work and teaching made in the world this past year?

As you look back on 2021, what pictures do you see in your own mind,

 that reflect the impact your work has made on others' lives?

POV From the bridge of a boat sailing ocean
Sailboat in stormy seas, lighthouse in distance (Digital Composite)
Composite image of a lighthouse beacon shining with stormy weather and crashing waves

When you're out there  on a stormy ocean, it helps to have a group of fellow travelers to help you reach your goal.

For each of us, our guiding mission and vision

 serves as the beacon that keeps us on track no matter what the external conditions are...

and our community is our group of fellow travelers to support us in reaching our goals.

In 2021, our community met every week on Saturdays to brainstorm and synergize about how to survive and thrive with online courses and online business in these challenging times.

The members of the Learn and Get Smarter community are experts in many fields, and we shared ideas and pooled our expertise on topics ranging from systems thinking to human behavior to software development... and of course, teaching and learning.

As a result, we all learned and got smarter. We created a community of practice around transformational online teaching, and a weekly practice of building community and supporting each other in these very challenging times.

I'm thankful for the participation and sharing, the generosity of spirt, and the sheer brilliance, that the members of this community have shared with each other and with me. Thank you for being who you are and for doing what you do.

What's your mission and vision for teaching online,

and what beacons and landmarks have you set for yourself 

to head towards in 2022?

If you’d like to make creating an online course that really teaches at a deep level, a priority in the new year, 

schedule a time NOW to talk with me

about whether the Course Design Formula® Master Course (starting January 18th, 2022) is right for you.

 Spaces are limited so book your call now.

Join the January 2022 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

CLASS STARTS JANUARY 18TH, 2022

Book your enrollment interview now!


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of this community, for your vision,

 and all your hard work to make the world a better place in these challenging times.

I hope that 2022 will be a year filled with blessings, growth, and service

for you and your students, clients, community, and family.

We'll resume the Saturday community meetings on January 8th, 2022.


Have a great holiday season and I will see you next year!

2022. 2022 business goals concept illustration. Business team seeking new opportunities. Leadership. Vision. Achievement. Success vector design


Designing your life and work for the year ahead

Kids arranging arrow symbol

It's an interesting time of year as we collectively reflect on 2021 and start envisioning the lives we want to live in 2022.

With so many things out of our control these days, it's more important than ever to focus and be intentional about the things we CAN change,  and the difference we are here to make.

At this time of year, many experts provide helpful guidance in how to do this:

  • Michael Hyatt's LifeScore Assessment helps you identify the areas of life you want to focus on most.
  • Chris Brogan has a process called "My Three Words" that helps you select the three words you want to focus on this coming year.
  • Ryan Deiss, CEO of Digital Marketer and the Scalable Company, is running a "Top to Bottom Challenge" focused on how to scale your business.

Here in our own community, Puzzle Artist Alli Berman graciously shared her "Color Your Gratitude for the New Year" mandala-making activity at last week's Learn and Get Smarter community meeting.

You can learn more about mandalas and how Alli uses them to create focus and intention that brings all the important aspects of our lives together, from this short video.

You can learn more about Alli and her work on her website.

If you're interested in a "Color Your Gratitude" class for yourself or your organization, email her at alli@puzzlearttherapy.com with "GRATITUDE" in the subject line.


What's the difference you are  here to make in the world?

And.. would you like help doing it?

The fifth cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course wrapped up last week...with amazing results.
 
At our final class meeting, I used the Mentimeter app to focus and capture the group's feedback, and saved it in the flipbook you'll find below.

My students have given me permission to share their feedback about what they can now do and how they now feel about creating online courses for their own businesses, as a direct result of participating in the Master Course.

Check out what they have to say in the flipbook below.
(On a computer or tablet, click on the white square in the lower right corner of the blue rectangle, just below the logo, to expand the flipbook to full screen for easier reading. On a phone, use landscape orientation and drag across the book with your fingers to make the pages bigger).

I am so thankful for and proud of my amazing Master Course students, for all their hard work and accomplishments over the past six months.

 I'd love for everyone in this community who feels ready to do so, to experience it for themselves!

The Course Design Formula® Master Course starts 

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

4 PM Pacific/ 7 PM Eastern

January cohort screenshot

Would you like to be part of it?


If you'd like to join the course,

click here 

to schedule an enrollment meeting

and/or write to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

to set up a private admissions interview.

You might also enjoy watching my on-demand webinar

which teaches three secrets of online course design

 (secrets we go into in much more depth, in the Master Course).

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

 I'm here to support you in your online teaching journey. 

How do YOU want to change the world in 2022 and beyond?


Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting... Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

We're focusing on how to  use our online teaching practices and online businesses to help ourselves and others survive and thrive during these challenging times. 

Click here to register for the meeting

(We meet on December 18th, 2021 and then again on January 8th, 2022).

No meetings on Christmas Day and New Years Day... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

many people online in a conference call

The MAGIC of coaching: what makes it work?

Young woman flexing muscles in front of large superhero shadow on pink background


In previous blog posts, I’ve shared how I structure the coaching aspect of my business, and what happens during a coaching session.

Now let’s explore the most interesting thing about coaching, which is:

 WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES IT WORK?


What I mean by “coaching”:

Working with clients individually to provide “done-with-you” course design and course creation services.


What I mean by “makes it work”:

The client ends up with a course design that fulfills their vision, goals, and expectations for what they were hoping to produce.

It's the  immediacy and specificity of the coaching situation

 that make it so highly effective.

Coaching is completely customized to the client’s unique course design situation: 

their specific target audience, subject matter, and goals.


The importance of CONTEXT

Clients often have course-design questions such as:

  • “Is this ENOUGH guided practice?” 
  • “What’s the BEST app to use?”
  •  “HOW should I provide independent performance?”

The answers can only come from understanding the whole CONTEXT:

  • Enough guided practice for teaching WHAT, to WHOM, under what CONDITIONS?
  • The best app to use for WHICH content, in WHICH situation?
  • Independent performance for WHOM, based on their having already learned WHAT?

The structure of a coaching session optimizes the ability to answer these types of questions.

Designing an effective and engaging online course requires BOTH subject matter expertise AND course design expertise, and coaching provides a customized context for making that happen. 

The client operates their subject matter expertise and I operate my course design expertise. 

Two people moving a heavy couch together


We are like two people moving a large heavy item of furniture (the course content) 

to place it in the ideal setting (the course structure).

It's difficult or impossible to move a couch up three flights of stairs and around a corner all by yourself,

but if you have someone helping you by holding up the other end, the job gets much easier.

That said, there are times when coaching is NOT the best solution to a client's course design situation or needs.

 If  you don't have an immediate, specific need to create a specific course, or don't yet have a defined course topic or  target audience, it may make more sense to take the Course Design Formula® Master Course rather than coaching.

The Master Course provides space, time, and a community of peers, allowing each participant to develop their online teaching skills while also clarifying the specific transformation they want to deliver, and for whom.

Let's say coaching IS the right answer: What makes it work?

Coaching is completely customized to the client’s unique course design situation:

their specific target audience, subject matter, and goals.

We start by creating  a high level vision for what the client wants their course (or their whole online academy) to achieve.

That gives  us a “North Star” to guide by, so that everything we design or create aligns correctly with the client’s highest vision and goals.

We then work our way down through a customized process I’ve created, to get clear on the specific transformation the client wants their course to provide.

Once we know that, we determine the specific domain of learning that will deliver that transformation most effectively.

We then use the Course Design Formula® to structure the course based on best practices for delivering instruction in that learning domain. 

Getting the domain of learning right

is essential for creating an effective and engaging course.


When you have the domain of learning right,

 the effect is smooth and easy -- like a knife through butter. 


When you have the domain of learning wrong, 

 the effect is unpleasant and grating, like nails on a chalkboard.

(Yes, having the wrong domain of learning really is that unpleasant, it actually hurts).

Young braided hair african american girl over isolated background covering ears with fingers with annoyed expression for the noise of loud  screeching

Coaching allows us to quickly adjust the course design to fit the client's deepest vision for it.

We can listen for any discordant notes,  quickly discover anything that doesn't fit the client's vision for what they want to create, and adjust it right away.


Coaching is highly effective and impactful. It gets optimum results for clients, fast. That’s because coaching:

  • Has high SOCIAL PRESENCE
  • Provides direct live GUIDED PRACTICE
  • Allows for supervised INDEPENDENT PERFORMANCE
  • Offers immediate FEEDBACK
  • Supports effective ASSESSMENT by both client and coach
  • Encourages monitored ITERATION for continual improvement

The Coaching Conundrum

When the goal is to CREATE SOMETHING NEW (the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy) it is very helpful to have one to one direct support in alignment with the 2 sigma problem discovered by Bloom (yes, the same Bloom.. this is another aspect of his research).

The coaching conundrum though is that as Bloom points out in his 2 sigma article, coaching is expensive for the client and resource intensive for the coach. 

Coaching takes a lot of INPUT of time and energy from the coach. The reason it works so well for the client is that it’s completely focused on the client’s unique situation and goals. That by definition makes it not at all scalable. The scale it works at is the scale of one to one.

Businessmen walking on top of complex maze

So coaching solves one problem 

(how to provide a customized solution tailored to each client’s specific needs)

 that reveals another problem: how to design a scalable business.

"AHA!" you may say... and in fact, many people DO say... "this is where online courses come in! 

You create online courses to scale your coaching practice."

There are ways in which this can in fact, work.

BUT...even in online courses, there is often a need for one-on-one direct live support

to help learners APPLY the teaching in the course to their own specific situation. 

Coaching is highly effective.

Courses are highly scalable.

To be both highly scalable AND highly effective, courses often need to include at least some direct one-to-one coaching

BUT... coaching is not scalable, which then puts a constraint on how scalable an online course can be and still remain optimally effective.

Have you grappled with these issues in your online course business?

We are going to take a deep dive into exploring this "wicked problem" at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021. 

I hope you can join us as we brainstorm and synergize how to provide an optimized learning experience for as many people as possible!

If you'd like to share your thoughts with me before then, drop me a note to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com.

I can't wait to hear YOUR experiences, insights, and reflections on coaching, courses, and how they can work together in your business to help people learn and get smarter!

Coaching and courses: How do they fit in YOUR business?

items representing different forms of learning and development

We hear a lot, and rightly so, about the importance of working not just IN our business, but ON our business.

Does working ON your business include figuring out whether and how you want to provide coaching, in addition to online courses?

I've been thinking about how we as service-oriented, mission-driven online educators can optimize the mix and balance between coaching and courses as two different ways of providing guidance and instruction.

In this blog post, I'd like to share the method I've created in my business, for structuring my course design coaching practice.

(Next week, I'll go much deeper into the topic of how coaching and courses can fit together in your business from a LEARNING DESIGN perspective...but first, let's explore the basics of how to structure the coaching in practical terms.)

If you provide coaching in addition to online courses, or have been thinking about doing so, I'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections as well.


What IS "Coaching"?

"Coaching" has different meanings in different contexts, so it's important to be clear on what we mean by the term, specifically.

There are specialized definitions of "coaching" based on the standards of specific industries.

I'm using "coaching" to describe a DELIVERY STRUCTURE for conveying my course design guidance to clients. 

In that context, "coaching" means working with my clients one-on-one in a "done with you" format. 

coaching concept

In coaching,  the focus is on the client and their specific goals.

The focus of my course design coaching is to help each client design their course as quickly and effectively as possible.

My coaching is specifically tailored to the unique project goals of each client.

It's a highly customized, hands-on, bespoke experience where I provide in-depth guided practice to walk my clients through the process of setting up their own course.

In my coaching process, the client operates their subject matter expertise, and I operate the learning design expertise.

In coaching,  I handle the "heavy lifting" of course design  FOR the client; they don't need to learn the art and science of course design for themselves.

If they WANT to learn course design per se (in order to be able to create additional courses in the future, for example), that's when they would need to take a course, which is a very different experience than coaching.


What's a "course"?


"Courses" are structured learning experiences delivered in an online format.

The goal of my Course Design Formula® Master Course is for each participant to learn how to operate the Course Design Formula® for themselves.

In the Master Course, as in coaching, each participant ends up creating an online course.

The difference between the course and coaching is that in the Master Course the focus is on internalizing and mastering the learning design PROCESS, over and above creating a specific finished product.

The goal of my course-design coaching

is to develop a PRODUCT.

The client sets the goal for the product they want to develop,

 with my ongoing support and guidance.

The goal of the Course Design Formula® Master Course 

is to learn a PROCESS.

I as the instructor establish the learning goal

 for what the student needs to learn at each step of the process.

In my business, I follow a specific set of procedures for coaching.

I thought it might be helpful to share these, as I see many experts and entrepreneurs contemplating how to structure these aspects of their own businesses.

If the processes and procedures I've developed in my business can be helpful to you as you develop yours, that will be great!

Check out the flipbook below to see the coaching process I've developed.


(You can enlarge the flipbook by clicking on the white square or the + icon in the lower right hand corner of the navy area below. If you are on a smartphone you can expand the flipbook by in landscape view by dragging on it with your fingers, as well).

Coaching structure for Learn and Get Smarter, Inc.

What does "coaching" mean, and what does it look like, in the context of YOUR business?

How does coaching integrate with the way you offer, or plan to offer, online courses?

Join us in the Course Design Formula® community Facebook group, or at the Saturday morning Learn and Get Smarter community meeting, to explore these and other topics in depth.

What are your goals for summer, 2021?

2021 Summer Calendar Folders

In a time of as much upheaval and uncertainty as we've all  been going through, it can be challenging to set and achieve goals. 

When everything around us is in a state of unpredictable change, just getting ourselves and our loved ones, clients, students, and associates through the day, is often as big a goal as we can manage or achieve.

That said, I’ll go out on a limb here and ask:


WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS SUMMER?



When you set aside all the things that are in flux and that you have no control over, 

what things that you DO have control over,

would most move the needle forward in your life right now?

I’ve been enjoying the audiobook of Atomic Habits by James Clear, and reflecting on the habits that lead to success  in achieving goals,

for myself and my students. 

(The picture below contains my affiliate link for this book... just to let you know).

  • Having a specific time and place where we have to show up, to get things done
  • Having a community of people we care about, and who care about us, who want to see us succeed
  • Surrounding ourselves with positive role models who are living proof that what we want to do is possible
  • Committing to a series of small, achievable steps we can follow in a clearly laid out sequence, over time
  • Making it FUN to do the things we want and need to do, to achieve our goals
  • Setting our sights on small short term milestones that lead to a larger result

Learning how to teach effectively online can feel overwhelming, I realize.

Many people all over the world got thrown into the deep end of online teaching and learning this past year...without a paddle to steer with and without a rope to hold onto.

I provide guidance, tools, support, and resources to make the experience of teaching online enjoyable and fun.

My students and clients develop grace and ease  both teaching in general, and teaching online specifically.

The Course Design Formula® Master Course  focuses on the factors that lead to success

 in becoming a transformational online teacher:

  • Guided, step by step ACTIVE learning focused on getting you RESULTS
  • A caring community of experts and peers
  • Intensive individualized support from me

This course is only offered twice a year, and I may never offer it again at its current price point, because people keep telling me I’m not charging enough. Admission is by private interview only.  

The June 2021 cohort starts on Tuesday, June 15, 2021  (that’s THIS Tuesday) so if you’ve been thinking about enrolling, now is the time.

Learn more about the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Check out my free, on-demand webinar to learn more


If you’d like to make this summer count and become a skilled transformational online teacher by this fall, write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know what your goals are for teaching online. We’ll find a time to talk on Zoom (I’d send you my scheduler, but it’s pretty much booked up) and see if the course is a good fit for your needs. If you’d like to learn more, check out my webinar.

I’ve also created another course, Streamlined Course Creation, that follows the process I use in my private one- on- one course design coaching sessions. If you’re in a hurry to create a specific course, check out Streamlined Course Creation to enroll directly, or learn more about it here.


What are your goals for this summer when it comes to teaching online?

 What kind of support and guidance would best help you achieve your goals?

Drop me a note to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know how this summer is shaping up for you,

 and where you’d like your online teaching and course design skills to be by September.

2021 Summer Calendar Folders


Whatever your goals, hopes, dreams, visions, and plans, I hope this summer will be a time of safety, good health, community, learning, relaxation and fun, for you and everyone you know and care about. 

If you’d like to enjoy some of that community, learning, and fun as part of our amazing community of creative experts and entrepreneurs in the  Course Design Formula® Master Course, that would be fantastic.

If that’s you, I look forward to talking with you soon!

Write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com or join us on Saturdays on Zoom for the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting...where we talk about how to survive and thrive with online learning and online courses in these challenging times.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter

community meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive with online courses and online learning 

in these challenging times

Saturday, June 19th,   2021

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Understanding different types of learning — and how they interact

woman learning motor skills online

On May 26, 2021 a Google Doodle was unveiled that is absolutely brilliant.

The Doodle commemorates the historic Savoy Ballroom in New York City, and pays tribute to the Swing and Lindy Hop dancing the ballroom was famous for.  You can read about the Doodle itself, its historical meaning, and how it was created, on Google's blog.

What I want to focus on here,  is the Doodle itself, because it provides a brilliant example of how to teach motor skills online.

WHAT ARE MOTOR SKILLS?

Motor skills are one of the five "domains of learning" described by educational researcher and theorist Robert M. Gagné.

Motor skills are physical movement routines such as the physical steps involved in touch typing, driving a car, hand motions used in surgery or manufacturing,  or sports.

The other four domains of learning include:

  • Verbal Information
  • Attitudes
  • Cognitive Strategies
  • Intellectual Skills 
This image shows the five different types of possible results

What makes the Savoy Ballroom Google Doodle so exciting (to me, and I hope also to you, by the time you get done reading this article) is that it is an absolutely brilliant demonstration of how people can teach, and learn, motor skills entirely online.

If you watch and listen to the Google design team discussing how they created the Doodle, you can learn a lot about the creative inspiration they put into it, based on physical dance movements. 

When you follow the movements of the Doodle, even though using only your fingers, you can actually FEEL those dance movements on a sensory whole-body level. 


What makes the Doodle very special, from my perspective as a learning designer, is that it provides us with the opportunity to experience what it FEELS like, at the visceral, sensory level, to learn a motor skill in a completely online setting -- a setting that is self-paced, evergreen, and does not require the presence of an instructor in any way.

(Also, it is highly addictive -- in a good way--I'll talk more about that in a minute.. and a lot of fun).

To experience what it feels like to learn a motor skill in an entirely online environment, try out the Doodle for yourself.

The goal is to type the indicated letter key (F, D, J, or K) in time with the music.
If you type the key correctly, you get feedback in the form of a  yellow circle that appears around the letter on the screen.

If you make a mistake the circle turns red and makes an unpleasant clunking sound instead.

You can watch my attempts at completing all three levels, here.

While I got 100% on the easiest level (not the first time I tried it... that took me many practice tries), even with practice you will see that my ability to perform the motor skills correctly decreases as the tempo gets faster and the number of letters to be pressed at the same time, increases.

The increasing difficulty of the motor skill to be learned is exactly what provides us with a wonderful opportunity to learn and get smarter about how people (and by "people" I mean you and me, specifically, right here and right now) can learn motor skills online.

Which is why I'd love for you to go to the Doodle and experience it directly for yourself.

doodle google screenshot

Become a transformational online teacher

The Course Design Formula® Master Course Starts January 18th, 2022

As the speed increases and you start having to press multiple letter keys at the same time, one's first experience is that of complete overwhelm.

For me, there was no way I could even SEE which key to hit next, let alone get there fast enough to avoid making a mistake.

How can anyone do this?

Then I discovered a thread on Reddit where a group of dance experts were talking about how they had nailed all the levels (including the top secret BONUS level.. who knew there even WAS one?).

These experts had mastered  all the levels.

First of all, that told me that IT COULD BE DONE. Not that I could necessarily do it.. but SOMEONE could.

The redditors served as inspiring role models for me. Their chat in the thread made me aware that what I was trying to do was not impossible, since others had done it. (Inspiring role models are  a feature of mindset change learning. Mindset or attitude change is a different type or domain of learning than motor skills. But it's clear that having the right mindset is important in order to keep trying long enough to master a motor skill.)

SO.. inspired by the redditors... and intensely CURIOUS about this new secret bonus level I'd now been made aware of... I returned to practicing the game. I practiced pretty obsessively for several days... it is indeed addictive (but in a good way). 

What is it that drives someone to practice a motor skill (or indeed, to try to learn anything) over and over until they master it?

You can see two of the motivational factors described by Gagné elsewhere in his work, here:

  • Curiosity.... I was CURIOUS about the mysterious bonus game and determined to see it for myself.
  • Self-Efficacy... I wanted to be able to DO IT MYSELF.. to play the game as well as others had

Why could some do easily, what was so hard for me?

They had something I lacked: relevant PRIOR KNOWLEDGE 

(one of the "Nine Events of Instruction" described by Gagne).

Their relevant prior knowledge consisted of:

  • muscle memory
  • finger dexterity
  • eye-hand coordination, and
  • experience in responding quickly to visual cues on a screen.


Motor skills are a SPECIFIC type of learning, and there is something very special and unique about learning them:

we have to develop muscle memory and internalize a smooth movement routine

by putting together individual movements one step at a time.


And then we have to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

until the smooth movement routine becomes an automatic habit

 that we can perform without having to stop and think about it.

bonus round of the Google Doodle


I did finally manage to unlock the mysterious bonus round of the Google Doodle, and I'm very proud to show you my (as yet far from perfect) performance of it here

This took many attempts to learn and practice, but I was highly motivated... not just so that I could write about it in this blog post and share with you (though that, too) but because getting immediate feedback (which the Doodle provides in the form of color and sound cues and also your score), is an incentive to keep going and improve.

Motor skills learning is hardwired into our most basic survival mechanisms. 

The ability  to flee a predator, climb a tree to pick a piece of fruit, or securely navigate rugged terrain, 

are motor skills that have often meant the difference between life and death to humans throughout history.

I was struck by how driven I felt to achieve self-efficacy in performing the motor skills needed to master the Doodle.

It was important to my sense of self-esteem to be able to DO IT MYSELF.

The redditors served as role models showing me it COULD be done...and that in turn improved my mindset enough to keep trying.

The motivational factors of CURIOSITY, SELF-EFFICACY, and (eventually) ACHIEVEMENT,

 kept me going long enough to practice and master the skill.

I developed a COGNITIVE STRATEGY (a way of "learning how to learn")

that helped me master some of the trickier two-handed letter combinations. 

Once I realized that what I was looking at on the screen was not just a series of hopelessly fast-moving dots that I had to somehow press on time, but rather a predictable, repetitive, series of movements combining specific letters from both hands at the same time (the F and K keys, the D and J keys, etc), then I was able to isolate and practice those moves.

I still didn't always get it right, especially at first.

But once I was able to analyze and evaluate (from Bloom's taxonomy) the places where I kept messing up, 

I could create a learning strategy that helped me master the moves.

The Google Doodle provides us with a direct,  tactile, sensory experience of learning motor skills online.

It provides us with the opportunity to reflect more deeply on how humans learn movement routines,

and on how we can  create effective learning of all kinds in our own online courses.

If you get a chance to try out the Google Doodle, drop me a note and let me know your own experiences of, and reflections on, learning and teaching motor skills in an online environment.

Write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com or join us on Saturdays on Zoom for the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting...where we talk about how to survive and thrive with online learning and online courses in these challenging times.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter

community meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive with online courses and online learning 

in these challenging times

Saturdays starting January 8th, 2022

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Teaching changes the world. Are you ready for what that means?

Hands together equalty concept. Hand drawn Illustration


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.

goldfish jumping off to new fishtank


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.

Cat lying on grass under umbrella

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.


Globe Covered in Bandages

       
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:

Maslow's pyramid of needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Physical well-being and basic survival needs
  • Emotional comfort and social connections
  • Intellectual understanding and skills
  • The search for meaning and fulfillment

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.

stick figure in balance with pros and cons

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.

Young male athlete running on race track.


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?

heart painted on frozen glass
  • Be extra patient, especially when its hard.
  • Be extra kind to yourself, as well as to others
Adhesive Tapes Moving Forward on Solid Blue Colored Background. Standing Out from the Crowd Concept.


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.

Black Board with "Never Give Up!" written on it by white chalk.

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.


Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting... Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

We're focusing on how to  use our online teaching practices and online businesses to help ourselves and others survive and thrive during these challenging times. 

Click here to register for the meeting

many people online in a conference call

Teaching changes the world

Someone cutting the

Education removes the obstacles that prevent people from achieving their dreams.

The difference between failure and success often comes down to learning... whether learning to change one's mindset from "I feel like I can't" to "I know that I can" or learning how to perform a new skill.

Times of accelerated societal change, like the present, call for accelerated learning. This is a time of unprecedented growth in online learning  as we are called on to meet the needs of those we are here to serve.

How will you rise to the occasion to meet this time of need? 

What's the difference you are  here to make in the world?

And.. would you like help doing it?

The Course Design Formula® Master Course starts TODAY

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

4 PM Pacific/ 7 PM Eastern

Course Design Formula® Master Course landing page screenshot

Would you like to be part of it?


If you'd like to join the course,

write to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

to set up a private admissions interview.

You might also enjoy watching my on-demand webinar

which teaches three secrets of online course design

 (secrets we go into in much more depth, in the Master Course).

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

Whether the course is right for you at this time or not, I'm here to support you in your online teaching journey. 

How do YOU want to change the world in 2021 and beyond?


Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting... Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

We're focusing on how to  use our online teaching practices and online businesses to help ourselves and others survive and thrive during these challenging times. 

Click here to register for the meeting

many people online in a conference call

Make 2021 YOUR year for teaching online!

Goals for 2021 Using Goalscape software

The past  year has provided everyone around the world with the opportunity to see things in a new (though often, harsh and painful) light.

Learning is the process of adapting to one’s environment in ways that promote survival, and 2020 forced us all onto a very steep learning curve.

The ability to learn from each other and connect online has been a lifeline to hold onto while navigating the twists and turns of this steep learning curve.

What lessons have we learned that can guide us for the year ahead?

I’d love to hear your lessons learned, so please send them to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com.

 Here are mine:

  • Online learning is a powerful resource for effecting positive change.
  • Many things can be taught online, that one would have thought required a physical in-person presence.
  • Learning works best when it includes community, accountability, connection, and continuity.
  • We are all more skilled in some areas than others.
  • We can optimize our lives by teaching the things we are skilled at, and learning the things we need help with.

I spent most of my time last year either teaching the things I am good at, or being coached in the areas where I need help.

I worked out with my trainer 3x a week (on Google Duo, using weights and medicine balls and a mat in my own living room).

As a result, my flexibility and strength have improved despite not being able to go to the gym.

What made this work: consistency (3 times a week every week, even on holidays) and continuity over a long period of time.

I worked with my professional organizer twice a week on Facetime.

She supervised me while I cleaned my own house, organized my own paperwork, and restructured my life.  

Again: accountability, consistency, and commitment to getting the help I needed, were what made the difference.

How about you?

What are your goals for 2021?

What type of accountability and consistency do you need to build into your life NOW, to ensure you achieve them?

How do you want to feel a year from today, as you look back on the year we are about to live, together?

If creating an online course, or a whole academy, is something you’ve been thinking about doing, 

NOW is the time to get professional help--from me.


And by now, I mean, right now, today, this week.

The Course Design Formula® Master Course January cohort starts January 12th, 2021

 at 4 PM Pacific,

7 PM Eastern.

If you want to become a transformational teacher in the online teaching space,

NOW is the time to commit to making that happen.

You can learn more about the course from my new, on-demand webinar:

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

Now is the time to decide.

Only you can know your schedule and time commitments,

 but I can't be sure when I'll be teaching the Master Course again

… that will depend on many things. 

I also can’t promise that the price will stay as affordable as it is now.

Are you ready,willing, and able to commit to YOUR online teaching practice?

Is becoming the best, most transformational, global educator you can be, a priority for you in the year ahead?

If your answer is YES, you NEED to be in the January Cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know you want a spot, 

and I’ll send you what you need to start the enrollment process.


Because this is an ongoing, high level mastermind, enrollment is by private interview (with me, personally).

There are some things you can do to speed the process along, right now.

Once all that has happened, and we’ve had a chance to talk, I’ll send you the link to enroll.

 If you’re not sure whether the course is right for you, here are some ways to learn more:

  • Watch this video starting at the 6:07 mark.
  • Join this webinar.
  • Email me with questions (Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com).

Don't wait. Do it now. Class starts January 12th, and  I’d love to see you there.

On another note, the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings are BACK

on Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern,

 and I’d love to see you there as well.

Let’s continue to support each other in finding ways to survive and thrive

under the conditions of uncertainty, challenge, and risk

that everyone on the planet is facing at this time.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, January 9th,  2021

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Gratitude, Fulfillment, and Ease

Thank You written in different languages on speech bubbles.

As you reflect on the past year, with its unprecedented challenges, and think ahead to 2021, it can be helpful to adopt a practice created many years ago by Chris Brogan, which he calls "#My3Words".

I adopted this practice last year for the first time, and it worked! My three words for 2020 were:

  • Prosperity
  • Service
  • Joy

Despite the surrounding conditions that 2020 presented to us all, these three words helped keep my focus on an even keel... allowing me to serve clients, students, and customers in ways that brought joy and allowed me to make a sustainable living in challenging times. I am profoundly thankful.

#My3Words for 2021 are:

  • Gratitude
  • Fulfillment
  • Ease

I wish for these not only for myself but also for all my readers, clients, customers, students, family, friends and members of the Learn and Get Smarter community...and for everyone in the world.


To start the new year off on a note of gratitude:

screenshot of the art materials for Alli Berman's Color Your Gratitude course

Color Your Gratitude

with artist Alli Berman

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

5 PM Eastern/ 2 PM Pacific

on Zoom

Are you ready to uplevel your online teaching practice in the new year?

The time is NOW if you would like to reserve a spot in the January 12th cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

(Write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com if you'd like to talk about it).

To learn more, watch my new, free, Master Class and learn three secrets of online course design.

I hope that 2021 will be a gracious year for you, filled with gratitude, fulfillment, and ease in all areas of your work and life. 

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

Your own “Year in Pictures”

Crystal photography ball showing the seascape at St Bees, Whitehaven, Cumbria - British seaside

Many publications are coming out with their “Year in Pictures” for 2020.

As I scrolled through the New York Times’ version, I was overwhelmed by the enormity, the intensity, the global impact that this past year has had on everyone around the globe. 

And no sooner had I gotten done with this heart wrenching visual odyssey than the next headline assaulted me: the earth is about to be impacted by major storms on the Sun, whose effect on our atmosphere and telecommunications may be significant.

Alright, then!

Lighthouse beacon shining over stormy seas

Sometimes, you’re gently sailing your (metaphorical) ship on a calm sea with the wind to your back.

And sometimes, it takes everything you’ve got to keep your ship upright in a life-or-death storm.

2020 has been a nonstop series of life or death storms for our little planet.

It’s forced us to batten down the hatches and tighten up our act.

We’ve had to become more self-reliant, uplevel our technology skills, and develop entirely new social structures and ways of running our work and family systems.


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to turn inward (if it’s possible to turn any MORE inward than many of us already have) and reflect.

  •    What went well for you this past  year, in spite of everything?
  •    What did you have to let go of?
  •    What did you learn? 


As you scroll through the mental images stored in your memory (the memory in your head, not the one on your phone), what pictures stand out for you?


If you were creating a virtual photo album of this mind-boggling year, what would it show?




young woman using laptop PC and various pictures. internet streaming service concept.

Here's mine:

When the pandemic started, I tried to figure out how to stock up on groceries that would be both sustaining,tasty, and workable for the new weight loss program I had just started… Weight Watchers online.

 I wasn’t sure what would work so I tried to guess. It turned out I did pretty well.

After a last trip to Trader Joes, I started relying on Instacart. Turns out I LIKE having expert grocery shoppers comb the aisles for me, and I like not having to carry heavy bags of groceries up multiple flights of stairs.

Instacart’s algorithm has learned my weekly shopping list, and only shows me pictures of the things I need to buy.

So my first set of pictures will be my standard grocery items, lined up every week on the screen.

These are pictures of the life giving foods that keep me alive and healthy, have been an important source of enjoyment during a year filled with restrictions, and have helped me lose almost 30 lbs.

Food backgrounds: table filled with large variety of food

What has worked, or not worked, for you on the level of sheer physical survival, this year?

What pictures stand out in your mind?

Some people have had a lot of chances to be outside in nature this year, and others have had almost none.

I was in the latter category, and one thing I’ve learned this year is how important being outside in nature is to our physical and emotional health.

The feeling of moving our feet on uneven natural surfaces, the sensory crunch of our footsteps falling on leaves, the surprise of discovering different types of animals and plants and weather and clouds… this type of sensorimotor learning is fundamental to how our bodies and brains are wired.

We were meant to learn through and from interactions with the natural world around us, while moving and touching and feeling and seeing and hearing.

The need to sit at a screen for (often) 14 hours a day, has made it harder than usual for many of us to experience this type of natural interaction.

After a while it starts to wear on you.

 Once I realized that, I made a point of getting out to a park and walking around, even if only once a week or so.

The vistas that I saw there and the way their natural beauty fed my soul, is the 2nd set of pictures I would share.

palm trees against a cloudy sky

What has worked for you to stay connected with nature, to feed your senses, and to get out and move? 

How have you experienced the world beyond the edges of the screen?

The social world this year has both shrunken to a single point (with each of us alone in our own spaces for months on end) and expanded to cover the whole world (with new connections forged via not only endless  Zoom meetings, but an increased appreciation for online learning, virtual conferences, and creative forms of physically distanced/socially connected interaction.)

The online learning space has been through a forced evolution that propelled our collective understanding of how to interact online, ahead by quantum leaps from where it would have been.

 We may be sick of Zoom calls but we’ve also gotten good at them.

 From trying to figure out how to unmute ourselves, we’ve graduated to playing online scavenger hunts, inviting goats to attend our meetings, and giving collective virtual hugs.

My third picture would be of the many online conferences I’ve attended this year where I’ve met amazing experts and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Laptop screen webcam view diverse people engaged in group videocall

Who have you met this year through online conferences and meetings?

How have you expanded your connections while remaining physically apart?

My most important pictures from 2020 are pictures of YOU: the mission-driven, service-oriented, incredibly creative clients, students, community members, colleagues, mentors, coaches and friends who have sat across the screen from me and shared what was on their minds. 

Whether in private coaching calls, the Course Design Formula® Master Course, Course Crafters Camp™, our Saturday morning community meetings, or informal chats with colleagues and friends, it is YOUR faces I see when I think about this year. 

Thank you for being present with me and working so hard, amidst all the chaos and upheaval surrounding us all, to make the world a better place for those you are here to serve.

Hand of touching network connecting the human dots icon in business project management. Teamwork organization and brainstorm concept

You are radiant, you are beautiful, you are remarkable.

 You make the world a better place by being here. Keep being you, keeping doing what you do.


Let’s all picture a better world in 2021… what would YOU like to see, experience, and do?

Dreaming Intellect series. Visually pleasing composition of human face and technological elements to serve as  background in works on mind, reason, intelligence and imagination

Join the January 2021 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Space is limited.

Enrollment is via private interview only.

I’d love to see some “pictures” from your virtual photo album. If you’ve taken my digital flip book course and would like to create a flipbook of your own, come share a link to in the Facebook group

Or just describe your “pictures” verbally… on Facebook or via email privately to me (Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com), or in a blog post of your own to your own community, if you prefer.

We won’t be meeting on Saturdays for the next two weeks… there will be no community meeting on Saturday, December 19th or Saturday, December 26th.

Let’s all take this time to rest, reflect, and prepare for the new  year.

I’ll keep writing this blog and I’ll look forward to hearing from you anytime via Facebook or email.

The community meeting will return on Saturday, January 2nd 2021 (you can register for it