As I mentioned above, it's relatively easy, or at least, possible, to talk to your students, receive and respond to feedback, and help each learner get the most out of your course, when your course is relatively small.
My Course Design Formula® Master Course, for example, is like a boutique bistro restaurant that serves custom-catered "meals" (by which I mean, delectable learning experiences) to a small group of highly select students.
I can provide a tailored, individualized experience for a small group of students at a time. I can't (at least, not yet) provide that level of customization for an unlimited number students at a time. That's one of the goals I'm working towards, but in the meantime, I just want to enroll a small group of highly dedicated students for the next cohort, which starts January 12th, 2021.
Class size will be limited, so if one of your goals is to create a powerful, transformative online course that does justice to your unique expertise, it's not too early to start thinking NOW about whether you'd like one of the few spots in that very select group.
There's a lot of pressure on online course creators to grow and scale their courses. Growing and scaling a course is relatively easy if the course mainly provides information in a digital format. But if your course teaches complex processes that learners must APPLY to their own unique situations in practical, performance-based ways, then a higher degree of direct interaction and guidance from you as the instructor will be needed in order to ensure your learners get results.
One of the challenges that I see happening in many "set it and forget it" style online courses is that learner success (and therefore, learner attention) drop off around module 3 or 4. That's where the need to actually APPLY what's been presented in the course so far, begins to come in. How many online courses have you bought where you see THIS pattern happen:
I've been thinking a lot about the above scenario, which I've seen happen far too many times in too many online courses. If that's happened to you (it has to me, and to pretty much everyone I know), here are some things to consider:
What do I mean by that?
I mean that the online learning space makes it fast, easy, and tempting to create learning materials that can be sold to an unlimited number of people.
But the way human beings learn requires personal guidance, fine-tuning, and hand-holding, often at an individual level, especially if the learning is complex and needs to be applied in practical ways.
From a business-model point of view, the online learning space makes it possible to earn a lot of money, as many have done and are doing, by creating a product that can be sold to many people at one time and that requires little to no maintenance, supervision, or upkeep once it's been set up.
From a learning-model point of view, however, learning something new in a way that works for YOU as a learner, may require in-depth focus, attention, wisdom, guidance, understanding, and personal interaction.
This is more true for some learners than others, and more true at some points along the learning journey than others.
I'm working my way towards developing a new, integrated business + learning model focusing on the touch-points that require in-depth and customized focus from the instructor.
My goal is to help all of us optimize both the impact and the reach of our online courses.
I'm working towards creating a high-level understanding of how each of us can structure the entire "universe" of our course offerings (our "whole cow") in ways that optimize the "set it and forget it" aspects for things that DON'T require in-depth guidance from the instructor, and also optimize the "high learning impact" aspects for parts of the learning curve that DO.
Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting (we're BACK after taking last week off due to a conference) and let's talk about what's on YOUR mind with respect to creating online courses that YOUR course participants will learn from, and love!