Tag Archives for " teaching online "

Teaching online as a path of service: The time is NOW

Person creating an online course at their computer

There are so many things that are out of our control right now.  inflation, war, Covid, climate change...the list goes on and seems to keep growing.  

Members of the Learn and Get Smarter community have been meeting every week since the pandemic began, to focus on how to survive and thrive in these challenging times.  

We don’t have the answers, but we’ve learned how to ask better and better questions, and we’ve discovered some things that help us keep going in the most impactful direction professionally and personally, here and now.

If I had to pick ONE thing that makes the most positive difference it is: being part of a supportive community of like-minded peers.

As solopreneurs, focused on serving our clients and customers, it can be hard to connect with peers, who are also busy serving their own communities. Teachers who work in schools have a teachers’ lounge to retreat to...a place to grab a cup of coffee and compare notes on how things are going.

We’ve got that too…and you’re welcome to come by (bring your own coffee mug)… all you have to do is sign up here.

The community meetings are free, and there’s no obligation or requirement to come every time.

Just come as you are, share how things are going with your online teaching and business, and meet like-minded peers.

Another important factor in staying on top of our game, is professional development. If you’re reading this you’re already a creative expert with years of service in your chosen field… I know that because that’s who shows up here, and you are amazing. Thank you for all you’re doing to make the world a better place for the people you serve.

I’m here to serve YOU. 

My mission is to support you in fulfilling your mission, through teaching online.

And one of the  main ways I do that is by offering the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

The Master Course is a community of practice for transformational online teaching.

We meet every Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific/7 PM Eastern, for 14 weeks,

 and we learn the Course Design Formula® that you can read about in my book, step by step, and apply it to YOUR specific course design project and area of expertise.

At the end of the 14 weeks we move into an 8-week workshop/practicum program where you get a chance to present your course material live online and receive focused, supportive feedback from a community of peers.  

Are you ready to commit to your online teaching practice, now?

The Master Course is offered in 2 cohorts per year, starting mid-June and mid-January. 

The next cohort starts June 21st, 2022.

That’s next Tuesday. 

I have room for a small number of new participants each cohort.

Admission is by private interview only so if you want a spot, it’s time to talk to me this week.

june cohort course card screenshot


There won’t be another chance to do this for at least 6 months… so if you want to get the most out of this summer and feel really confident about your online teaching mission, vision, strategy, and skills, it’s time to commit now.

If you’d like one of the spaces in the June cohort of the Master Course, book a time to talk with me here:

https://go.oncehub.com/CourseDesignFormulaDemo

If there are no times left or you don’t see one that works for you,

write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

and send me some days and times that work (and your time zone) and let’s talk.

Is teaching online YOUR path of service in these challenging times? If it is, I’d love to support you in truly standing out from the crowd and serving your audience at  the highest level.

I look forward to helping you make that happen, this summer.  

Let’s focus on what we CAN control to make the world a better place here and now.

Here's what some of my current students have to say 

about how learning the Course Design Formula® has transformed their teaching practice:

Happi Leopold
Easy Finance Academy

Dr. Dilcia Granville

Dilcia Granville Consulting

Sonja Mitchell

Be Retire Ready

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

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

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

Create a course welcome video that’s truly welcoming

A group of happy people frolicking on the beach

Creating the welcome video for your online course can feel like a stumbling block to many course creators.

It’s the first impression you’ll make on your learners, which can feel intimidating to create.

Although the welcome video is the first thing  your course participants will see, it’s often the last thing you as a course creator will put into your course.

Which makes sense, because how can you welcome your students until you’ve created the thing you’re welcoming them to, right?

Do you dread creating 

the “welcome” video

 for your online course?


You might have questions about how to plan for and create your welcome video.

Questions like:

  • What should be in it?
  • What should you leave out? 
  •  How should you come across?
  •  What should you even say?


I've put together a short, low-cost mini course designed to help you solve this problem once and for all. 

Enroll now and get your welcome video DONE 

Because MINDSET is the most important aspect of making people feel welcome,

I created this as a mindset course.

You can see the module titles (left) and mindset course structure (right) below.

screenshot of the course outline showing mindset module structure

How do you feel about creating the welcome video for your course?

If you want to feel happy, excited, and relaxed about it, 

check out the mini course now!

(There's an enrollment link at the end of the short, fun, video below...
which is not a course welcome video, but  just a fun video I made to inspire you.)

Or if you're really in a hurry, you can just

Click to play


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!

Thankfulness through the lens of learning

Thank You note text on a sticky note placed on a keyboard.

Learning means adapting our behavior in ways that promote survival.

This past year has been a massive, forced, global learning experience of the most profound, and often heart-wrenching kind.

Our literal survival on a personal and societal level has been and continues to be at stake.

It’s amazing that in the swirling maelstrom of chaos we’ve all been exposed to, teaching online has emerged as one of the most positive and helpful things we can do.

Giving thanks with pumpkin assortment still life and thankful message


Being able to help the people we care about and are here to serve, learn and get smarter in ways that make life better for them, is a tremendous blessing. Being able to do meaningful work in ways that don’t endanger our own health or that of our learners, is wonderful.

The pandemic has pushed online learning as a global communal experience, forward exponentially.

People are exploring new and creative ways to connect, learn, create and grow using online platforms and media.

 It’s also exposed challenges, weaknesses and drawbacks of those systems…from physical problems caused by too much sitting, to the social and emotional ravages of isolation and loneliness.

What is your role in all of this? What do you personally and specifically want to teach online, and how will that make the world a better place?

As you start thinking ahead to 2021 (YES!), what are your goals to uplevel your online teaching practice?

If you want to be a transformational global educator who truly makes a difference in peoples’ lives, I invite you to consider joining the January 2021 cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

Admission is by private interview -- so if you’re interested, connect with me now to schedule a time to talk.

Join the January 2021 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Space is limited.

Enrollment is via private interview only.

My mission is to support you in YOUR mission of helping people survive and thrive by teaching online. My goal is to make online learning the most dynamic, engaging, interactive experience it can be… taking the whole person on the other side of the computer or phone screen, into account. My goal is to help you get your expertise out of your head and into the world where it can help people improve their lives and also help you improve yours through safe, meaningful, and rewarding work.

Photo of two generations males drinking coffee near fire in nature


We’re all in this together, learning and growing as a global community. 

Not everything we try works out. Sometimes we run into walls, come to a dead end, have to pivot.

 It hurts and it’s hard. This past week I’ve spoken with several entrepreneurs who are succeeding brilliantly at teaching online…they have eager students and are earning good money.

 But this comes at the price of working 14 hour days seven days a week, which is neither balanced nor sustainable.

 I haven’t solved this problem, I have it too. I’ve been working 18 hour days without a break for the past 12 years, and it’s an honor and a privilege to do it… but we all need rest and balance in our lives if we are going to make online teaching work effectively in the long run.

So the first thing I will ask you is: what are you planning and building into your life, to get some rest and some time away from the screen, over the holidays? 

I know that’s easier said than done when our main way of connecting with loved ones involves MORE online meetings.

And those are important.

But take some time this week to connect with nature, and your own inner self, as well.  

Take some time to reflect on this mind-boggling year in the history of the world, and what it has meant for you.

Falling Autumn leaves before sunset


What have you learned this year that has helped you survive and thrive? 

The most important thing I’ve learned is the power of connection, the power of community.

The most amazing process I’ve observed, through the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, in the  Course Design Formula® Master Course, and elsewhere, is the synergy that happens when mission-driven, service oriented experts who have spent their whole lives developing their unique expertise, come together in the service of a common cause.

Shift Key

My job is to be the stone in the Stone Soup.. the catalyst that inspires and encourages everyone to contribute what they can to a group endeavor that becomes much more than the sum of its parts.

In the community meeting over the past six months, we have learned about:

  • systems thinking
  • how to deal with chaos and complexity
  • human motivation and behavior
  •  how to improve memory and concentration
  • how to uplevel our online presence
  • and of course, how to teach anything to anyone online.

We learned that gratitude is the most important driver of success in powering our online learning programs.

Through it all, the thing that has been most sustaining is knowing that there is a group of people who truly care about each other, who provide each other with wise guidance under difficult conditions, and who have each other’s back.

I want to take this moment to express my profound thanks to my students, mentors, colleagues, and peers, and to everyone who has attended the Master Course and  the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, and to invite you to join us if you haven’t already.



Come to the community meeting

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Three steps to take WHILE presenting instruction

blackboard with drawn checked boxes. Text next to boxes reads: Present the instruction/ Provide guided practice/ promote independent performance

You've warmed up your audience.

You've gotten their attention.

You've told them what they're about to learn, and you've reminded them of their prior related knowledge.  

It's time to start actually teaching....this is the exciting part!

"Actually teaching" is a three-step process, if you want your course participants to actually REMEMBER and be able to use what you teach.

Robert M. Gagné's "nine events of instruction" include not just presenting the instruction, but also providing learners with guided practice in APPLYING what they've just learned, with your direct guidance and help.  And once they can do what you're teaching them to do with your help, the next step is to structure in some way for them to do it on their own.

This three step process takes your learners past the point of passively absorbing YOUR expertise, and helps them begin to internalize and develop their own competencies and skill sets, based on what you have shared with them. 

Create a course that teaches beautifully

Make your online course highly effective and engaging!

We'll show you how.

The next cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course launches in June.

Any time you plan to present instruction, it's critical to consider how you will include guided practice, and how you will help your learners implement what you're teaching on their own.

This is what makes the difference between effective teaching and simply exposing people to information.

Over the next three weeks, I'll write blog posts that go into each of these steps in depth:

PRESENT

INSTRUCTION

Present the instruction the way that works best for the specific TYPE of learning the lesson contains. 

What are the different possible types of learning, and how do you know which one your lesson contains? I'll explain  in next week's blog post, so stay tuned!

GUIDED

PRACTICE

Provide ways for your learners to implement the instruction themselves, with your guidance, support, and help.

 This is one of the MOST important things you can do to ensure your instruction really gets learned.

INDEPENDENT

PERFORMANCE

It's not enough to just tell learners to do something...we must build structures into our courses that help them do the right thing, on their own, in the right way...

.. and to demonstrate that they know it, through their own actions.


As you think about content that you want to include in your online course, it's helpful to start brainstorming about how you can help your course participants play an active role in learning the materials... at first with your direct guidance and help, and then on their own. 

If you'd like to learn more about how to do this, check out my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online.

If you'd like to talk about it, send me an email to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com, or join us on Facebook!

Love and Learning

Illustration of hands raised in the air enthusiastically

Love is the greatest motivator for learning, that there is.  We're biologically hard-wired to make it so. When we are newborn and helpless, our parents...the people who (hopefully!) love us most in the whole wide world, are our first teachers.

Incredible amounts of learning take place in early childhood. A baby dropping the spoon over and over from the edge of the high chair is learning about gravity. Does it work EVERY time? It DOES!!!! 

A crawling toddler who puts everything in their mouth is learning about how the world feels, smells, and tastes.

(Have you ever asked yourself if you somehow "know" how rubber tastes? How metal tastes? How the sidewalk tastes? I think most of us DO know how those things taste, and I shudder to think how we learned that, lol!).

A toddler's healthy interest in exploring the world is supported by the safety and security they feel in their parents' love.

Create learning people LOVE

Make your content DELICIOUS and enticing!

Love and learning go hand in hand at every stage of our lives.


If you think back to the most positive learning experiences you've had, can you see how love was involved?


Maybe you loved the subject matter and it held deep fascination for you.


 We are much more likely to persist in a learning task, even a very difficult one, if we are strongly motivated to do so by a deep love of the topic.


Or perhaps you were inspired by a teacher who clearly loved the subject, or loved teaching itself. 

Or perhaps (admit it...because I think we've all done this...) you were trying to impress that special someone with your amazing knowledge of ... whatever topic would impress them.

As educators, we want our course participants to LOVE our courses! It's an amazing feeling to see people all over the world engaged and motivated to learn what you've created for them based on your knowledge and expertise.

I do not advocate the view of online courses as a source of "passive" income. If you create your course right, in the way that will make people love it, there's nothing passive about it.  

A more accurate term for the income you make from an online course is "asynchronous" income. That  means, you get paid at one time for work you did (creating the course) at another time.

Teaching online in a way that inspires deep love for the subject matter and for the learning experience you create, requires a lot of hard active work. But it's work that is well worth it.

Teaching online is one of the most profound ways you can share what you know with people all over the world.

Learning how to teach online in ways that optimize engagement and promote learner motivation, will enable you to create deep impact and leave a lasting legacy.

Most importantly, taking the time and putting in the effort required to learn how to teach beautifully, online, is a demonstration of the caring and appreciation you have for the people you are here to serve: your course participants.

What do you love to learn, and teach, about? 

What learning experiences stand out to you as being connected to love, whether for parents, teachers, peers, or that special someone?

I'd love to hear about it! 

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know!

Happy Valentine's Day -- may it be a time for you to express love and caring to everyone in your life who could benefit from knowing that they are truly loved and appreciated. 

Here are some virtual Valentine's Day chocolates for you to enjoy. These are made from pure pixels of light. All the calories have been removed.(You're welcome! 💖)

Valentine's Day (or any day!) is the perfect time to think about how you can create luscious morsels of learning in your online course!

luscious Valentine's chocolates

Teaching vs. exposing people to information

Sign in page on computer screen. Desktop computer with login form and sign in button. User account. Modern concept. Creative flat design vector illustration

We’ve talked about the difference between being exposed to information (especially online), and actually learning it.

But what about teaching?

What’s the difference between simply presenting information online, and actually teaching it?

You heard right: presenting information is not the same as teaching it.

Just because you’ve said something (using text, video, or audio) doesn’t mean you’ve taught it.

In order to learn new material, people have to go beyond simply being exposed to it.

They have to:

  • focus on it
  • take it in
  •  process it
  •  label it, and
  • store it in long term memory for easy retrieval.

Now wait just a minute”, I hear you saying. “How can I control what someone else does with the information I present online, after I’ve presented it?”

You can’t.

Frustrated teacher standing in front of a chalkboard screaming

Unless you’re teaching online in an academic or corporate setting where learners are required to show up for your course and pass it in order to fulfill a requirement, you have little if any control over whether and how learners consume and process your course material.

As an online course creator working with independent adults, your responsibility for teaching the material ends once you’ve put it out there for people to consume.

So teaching online (as opposed to just exposing people to information) involves putting the material out there for people to consume, in ways that promote learning.

That means you have to present the material in ways that allow your audience to:

  • focus on it
  • take it in
  •  process it
  •  label it, and
  • store it in long term memory for easy retrieval.


In this type of online teaching context, presenting the material is not the first step; it’s the last. If you want to teach online in an effective and engaging way, presenting the material should be the final step in a carefully planned series of steps. That series of steps will guide you in knowing exactly what material to present, and how to present it.

So.. what are the steps you should take in order to present your material online, in order to teach it effectively?

Stay tuned for the next blog post to find out! (Can you stand the suspense? It's a real cliffhanger....)

rock climber hanging on to the edge of a cliff with bare hands (it's a real "cliff-hanger"!)

(If you just can't wait to find out how to teach effectively online, go here.)