EPISODE 99

How to Do Livestreaming with Online Courses, Membership Sites, and More

For the best online learning experience possible, you really need to include a live element in your courses. In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett and Mark Nelson of codeBOX talk about how to do livestreaming with online courses, membership sites, and more.

Livestreaming is basically real-time interaction with people through any device they use. Events, podcasts, and even interactive conversations can be livestreamed through the internet. It’s like a Skype session or video internet call, but it’s embedded in an application like your online course for a potentially broader audience. You probably won’t want to livestream your entire course, but as a support feature it’s extremely effective.

Setting up for livestreaming has become quite accessible with services like YouTube Live, which interfaces with WordPress. Livestream and Ustream also allow you to schedule broadcasts and collect analytics. For best results, though, you’ll want a custom setup on your own server that gives you minimal latency and complete control over your livestreaming. This is where codeBOX web development can help you with a custom setup.

In a blended learning environment you incorporate multiple teaching methods to reach each student the way they learn best. A livestreaming element contributes significantly here by adding a level of human connection that is too often absent in online learning environments. It demonstrates that you’re a real person who takes a personal interest in your students. It’s also an added value they’ll be willing to pay for.

You could have online office hours, live quiz sessions, or scheduled discussions where you’re available to your students for live Q&A. It offers you a unique opportunity to meet your students and provide adaptive, personalized learning in response to your live interactions with them. Beyond that, it allows students to interact with each other in a real-time online community setting.

To find out more about how to do livestreaming with online courses, membership sites, and more, or to discuss options we can help you with for your own custom project, visit us today at gocodebox.com.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined with Mark Nelson. Today we’re going to be talking about livestreaming, how to do livestreaming for online courses, membership sites, learning management systems, and more. Now we ended up getting some unique experience with livestreaming, and of course it’s an important part in our quest for creating better online education options and educating the community about what’s out there and what’s possible, but let’s take it back a second and start with what is livestreaming? How would you define livestreaming, Mark?

Mark: Livestreaming, it’s just real-time interaction with people. It can be one way, and you can livestream an event, or livestream a podcast, like we’re doing right now, or you could have a two-way conversation where you livestream with one or more people. It’s just real-time communication.

Chris: Absolutely. I think it’s important to realize, we’re all kind of used to perhaps using something like having a Skype call, or doing some kind of voice over IP, or video internet call, but when you put livestreaming in the context of something else, that’s more what we’re talking about here where it’s embedded in whatever it is that we’re teaching, or an application that we’re building, or whatever goal we’re trying to do with a web property or application. We’re introducing a livestream component, which of course is really important for online education. It doesn’t necessarily have to be just about clicking play on a bunch of videos that were recorded a long time ago. It doesn’t mean you have to go all the way in to livestreaming is all that your online courses are, but perhaps you want to blend in … you’ll have your passive video course, but then you’ll also have monthly livestreaming broadcasts, or two-way conversations.

There’s just so much opportunity with livestreaming, and with our web development company, the company behind LifterLMS, which is called codeBOX, you can find that at gocodebox.com. We’ve been recently built a livestreaming solution for an auction management system, so there’s all kinds of different ays you could incorporate livestream. How does someone get started, if they’re first getting into livestream, Mark?

Mark: Livestream’s really taken off this last couple years, especially in 2016, you started to see it a lot more with YouTube Live, Facebook has their own livestreaming service. Everybody’s getting into it, and that’s because it’s becoming more approachable from a development standpoint. Things like Skype, and Zoom, have been livestreaming for a long time. To be able to put it into the browser and allow people to access it from their phones, and tablets, and desktops, and being able to have a reasonable latency … which latency is the time in delay between people communicating, really moving into a place where it’s actually feasible. Really, livestream’s always just been thought of as chat. Chat applications, business meetings, or talking to your friends, or maybe team meetings, getting together, bridging that gap.

I think the possibilities are really becoming endless now that it’s becoming more of an approachable thing. It’s really easy to get started with livestream now. YouTube Live is probably the easiest, or even Facebook. YouTube Live, you can embed that into WordPress, and then you can just start up your channel and start sharing whatever you want to do. I think it’s really cool that entrepreneurs can start thinking about new ways to use livestream for interaction. It’s not just maybe a seminar, but maybe there’s office hours that you’re open, and people can pop in and say hi, and ask you questions, but you’re actually physically there. There’s this human touch element to it. Or, even just livestream quizzing, and discussions. It’s really cool. I think the things that we’re going to come up with over the next few years are going to be amazing, and it’s really going to become a big key role in online education.

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, if I was just getting started, perhaps I could add a Facebook group to my online course, or my membership. Then within that group, I would have a schedule when I would be broadcasting, or have the livestream turned on. That way, you could introduce it at low cost, let Facebook do the heavy lifting to bring in that technology. You’re leveraging Facebook and that group there. What if I want to build my own livestream solution? How do I do that?

Mark: It comes with the ‘you get what you pay for.’ It’s really easy to get into using YouTube Live, or Facebook, and get those set up, and maybe you want to do that, just to find out … get a feel for how you like using it, and maybe how your customers like using it. Do you get a lot of people that are interested in it? You could even do polls, or just start hosting some live events, see who shows up.

When you start to get more serious about it, there are avenues like Livestream, or Ustream, they’re excellent systems that you can start to … They do the scheduling. They have more stuff that you can set up for your livestream. You can get a lot of analytics back from them. You can get a lot of analytics from YouTube, too, they’re actually pretty good. Then, there’s the big one, which is some of the stuff that we’ve done for our clients, is where you actually set up a livestream server and the big benefit to that is extremely reduced latency, and full control over how you’re going to handle it. There’s a lot of custom things that we could build into the livestream, with interactions and analytics, that you can’t get from the traditional third party sources.

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, so if you’re … It’s cool to use Facebook, and Periscope, and Blab, and YouTube Live, and all these things, but there comes a point with your web property where you may want to have your own custom solution that you own, and does exactly what you need it to do. Like you mentioned, reduce the work on the latency issue, if real time down to the second is pretty important to you. There’s things you can do there. If you’re interested in finding out more about a custom livestream project, just go send us a contact at gocodebox.com, you’ll find the contact page there. We can go from there.

Let’s talk a little bit more about online education and livestreaming. When we talk about blended learning, often we’re talking about what are we blending? Are we blending a live classroom experience, like in person, along with some take home video course, what’s really cool about … that’s how a lot of people think about blended learning. If you look at livestreaming, you can do it without having an in-person classroom, so you can still have that global reach, then also bring in that live component. Which, if you’re interesting in charging more money for your course, or your platform, or maybe you want a smaller group of people in it, have it be more intimate and exclusive, livestreaming is a good way to add that value. Nothing beats the live face-to-face human interaction, even if it’s through the internet. Any other ideas, Mark, on how you could bring livestreaming into a learning management system, or online course, or membership site?

Mark: I think it’s pretty simple and can be approached in a really simplistic manner. We have a client that does really well with his scaling the human touch. He does a lot of stuff with emails, and a lot of stuff that LifterLMS already provides. He’s using all those different tools. One of the things that he does is he does a session where he sits down, people can get on and just start asking him questions and then using the livestream component, he just answers their questions in real time.

I think it’s one of those ways that you can really give people a sense of value in what they’re learning and what they’re paying for, if they’re paying for something. It shows your level of interaction interest in their problems. The issues could be related to the course content, or they could be life issues that he’s answering questions about. I think that’s a really good opportunity to scale that human touch.

That’s all types of different ways you could do it. Start small, just start with posting a schedule to see how many different people sign up for it, and then start it. Even if there’s only a couple people, just keep going. It will attract people. When I do a lot of online courses, and that’s one of the coolest things that I’ve found that’s starting to be a big trend with online courses is that there is this … not all of it, in fact, it’s probably 10% of the course will be a live interaction. Some of the courses I take, you do a lot of videos, you do a lot of book work, a lot of homework assignments, but once a week, there’s a 1 or 2 hour live session where people can sit and just ask questions about all the stuff they’re trying to cover.

It’s really cool because you get answers that you wouldn’t get. When you do something like a livestream where there’s multiple people, it’s not just you engaging with the professor or you engaging with the course author, you’re also engaging with the other people around. You make other connections, you build friendships, you build business connections. It’s an awesome way for people to connect that you just can’t really get from just a basic chat, or forums, or comment sections.

Chris: Absolutely, yeah. We’re big believers in the power of community and the place that needs to be to be a part of the online education system. Especially online where, if you’re not going in person, it’s easy to get isolated, or just not have those benefits of community. By introducing that livestream element, you can bring in that community piece. That’s awesome.

Think about it like a podcast, or YouTube video, or whatever. What if you could get to the end of the video, and raise your hand, and start talking to the person there? It would become way more interactive. Some of the big buzz words we hear today in online education, and things that need to change, and learning, are adaptive learning and personalized learning. What better way to adapt on the fly and change your role or your approach to teaching when you have live interactions from your students? You can see what’s landing, you can see what’s not landing well, and you can adapt on the fly to increase that engagement. You can also personalize it. You can call on people in the group. You can bring out examples that are the most relevant to the individual, the group that’s on the call live with you.

Mark: Yeah.

Chris: Lots of opportunity there in livestreaming.

Mark: I think anyone who’s ever taken a course has moments where they have a question that they can’t get answered. It’s just pretty much when you’re watching a video of someone teaching you and you’re like, “Well, why did you do it that way?” It’s a lot to go into forums and then ask the question, and get the response, when it’s just a simple question that you could have shout out to them and they could have given you an answer that sometimes you can’t get from a forum. It’s just knowledge that’s being passed down, like when you’re hanging out with somebody and you’re shadowing someone for a job, there’s a lot more you can learn than just watching a course on that. That’s what livestreaming gives you the opportunity to do.

One of my favorite course authors is Chris Coyier. He doesn’t do livestream, but one of the things he does in his video is he doesn’t edit them. He just lets them run, and so when he runs into an issue, and these are development courses … when he runs into an issue doing his development, he de-bugs the issue right there in the video. Sometimes he’ll make a simple mistake, and it’s obvious, and he eventually finds it. It’s a really good learning opportunity to watch someone go through that, because you’re picking up a lot of things that you wouldn’t pick up if he would have edited it and just give you only the facts. You get some of the discovery process as well as just the information.

Chris: Yeah, there is such a thing as being too polished. That’s a danger of going live is that you might make a mistake, or you might say “Um,” or you might click the wrong button, or say the wrong thing, or put the wrong slide up, but through all that, you could create a more real learning experience. In the same way that if you think about why Facebook is popular, it’s popular because it’s essentially trying to take how real human relationships and friendships work, and bring that on the internet. If you’re serious about bringing … and of course, they don’t do that perfectly, but they do a pretty good job and in some ways, do things that aren’t possible in person because you have the internet and this digital world.

If we’re serious about online education, if we want to take how people actually learn in the real world and try to put that on the internet, or on the world wide web, there’s no way you could look at that without somehow incorporating the live component. We’re designed to learn through mirror neurons and interaction with other people. There’s got to be some kind of live element if you want to really create the best possible learning environment.

Mark: Yeah, I totally agree. It’s a lot of fun, too. It’s a cool way to meet the people that are taking your courses. From your side, it’s really beneficial.

Chris: Absolutely. Well, that’s awesome. Well, thank you for checking us out at this episode of LMScast. If you want to find out more about livestreaming and discuss options for a custom project in that world, go to gocodebox.com. Thank you for listening. Thanks for listening. Thanks for coming on the show, Mark, and we’ll catch you in the next episode.

Mark: All right, thanks.

EPISODE 98

When You Need Custom Membership Site, Online Course, or Learning Management System Development and Design Services

If your online business is growing, the time will come when you need custom membership site, online course, or learning management system development and design services. In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett is joined by Mark Nelson and Ali Mathis of codeBOX to discuss how you can benefit from their services.

First some history. This LMScast program began in February of 2014 with the release of the original LifterLMS course development software. codeBOX is the parent company for LifterLMS, and the LMScast was designed to help education entrepreneurs, membership site owners, and learning management system administrators get the most out of the software.

The LifterLMS platform can be implemented by technically inclined users, but most people really prefer to focus on their business. That’s where custom development services come in. codeBOX essentially works with you to define the scope of your project and bridge the gap from your business needs to the technical system required to support your goals.

The codeBOX service uses a unique approach that they call their discovery process. They take the time to really get to know you, your business, and your vision before any other steps are taken. They help you expand and refine your idea, then collaborate with you to co-create a plan and a site map to make it happen. Their discovery process is also the most effective process for setting an accurate budget and timeline for your project.

You can benefit most from professional development services when you’re already successful in your business and need to go to the next level. You should really understand what you want to do and have a budget in place. If you’re a beginner just starting out, you’ll do better to use an off-the-shelf solution like the LifterLMS platform and get your minimum viable product up and running.

Once you’re ready to leverage the power of an innovative team of expert programmers, developers, and designers, make sure you choose a service that’s the right fit. Chris, Mark, Ali, and the rest of the team at codeBOX understand where you’re coming from, because they’ve all been there themselves. When you need custom membership site, online course, or learning management system development and design services, the codeBOX team members would love to be your long-term technology partners. Visit our website at gocodebox.com and discover what we can do for you.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name’s Chris Badgett, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about when you need custom membership site, online course, or learning management system development and design services. Wow. That’s a mouthful, but we’re going to cover all that in this show. We have some special guests with us, but before I introduce them … Just so you know what you’re going to get in this episode, because we’re going to talk about really what custom development services are, why you need them, how they should start with something we call a discovery process, who’s it for, who’s custom development not for, and how to pick a company. We’re also going to get into the story of codeBOX and LifterLMS and LMScast, and how these three different things all tie together through a common story.

First, let me introduce two of my favorite people. Mark Nelson who was the original lead developer behind LifterLMS, and he is also an all-star developer in the customer development service arm of codeBOX, which is the company that makes LifterLMS. How you doing Mark?

Mark: Fantastic. How are you?

Chris: Good to have you back on the show. It’s been awhile.

Mark: Yeah.

Chris: We’ve also got Ali Mathis. Ali has been with us for a long time and helping out over on the client services side of codeBOX, and has been involved in a lot of custom development projects. Very large projects. Medium size projects. Figuring out what kind of project it’s going to be from a project management perspective and also just helping kind of co-create the project which is a big part of what we believe at codeBOX. Part of our brand is that we co-create our projects together with our clients so more heads are better in lots of different perspectives. Thanks for coming on the show Ali.

Ali: Hey Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris: All right. Let’s start out with the story of codeBOX and LifterLMS and LMScast. If you’re listening to this episode you’re an LMScast listener. We started this show back in I believe it was February of 2014 when we were originally getting ready to launch the first version of the LifterLMS software, so this show is designed to help education entrepreneurs, membership site owners, learning management system administrators to kind of see the landscape of what’s possible out there and to have conversations around the topics and issues that we run into. I’m one of the owners of the LifterLMS project and the codeBOX business, but I also create and sell online courses myself which is why one of the reasons I created this show is to help other people like me figure out the best options and to even find out about things that I should be caring about but may not even be aware of. LifterLMS, it’s a business by itself but the parent company that makes it is called codeBOX. You can find codeBOX at gocodebox.com, and we’re going to give you some other cool URLs that you should look at on that site a little later on the show. That’s how codeBOX, LifterLMS, and LMScast all fit together.

LifterLMS is more of a product whereas codeBOX is our client services and custom design and development services. That’s kind of what makes us unique in the space and somewhat well rounded is not only do we make online courses or care about LMS projects and membership sites ourselves, we create products in that niche like with LifterLMS and our various add-ons and also do this as a service for other people who may need more than just online courses, or need to build other software on top of their learning management system, or need just some kind of custom user experience where they can’t create it out of the box. That’s the story of codeBOX, LifterLMS, and LMScast.

In this episode we’re talking about taking and figuring out when and if you need custom design and development services. We’re going to get into that in just a second.

We’re going to get into how to go about doing a custom development project. You’ve got an idea. You know you’re ready to create an online course or membership site or an LMS, and you’ve decided that you’re ready to go the custom route. There’s not an off the shelf solution that solves all your problems. We do something a little differently, and to be honest with you at codeBOX we here a lot of what we would consider, I don’t know, horror stories or people basically coming from a bad experience with a web development or design agency, so we kind of start off needing to earn that trust back. We feel you and we know what it’s like if you’ve hired freelancers before, you’ve worked with agencies and left with not necessarily the best experience. What we do that’s totally different is we like to slow things down and start off with what we call the discovery process.

Just like building the house. You can get a cookie cutter house in a subdivision or if you want to really design something truly unique and do exactly and look in a way that you really want it to look, you’re going to need to have some custom engineering or architect type thing in the beginning of the project. That’s the nature of custom. If you’re not cookie cutter and you’re not using something off the shelf, it’s really important to invest that time in discovering the project and what it’s going to be and unpacking it and leveraging the expertise of experts.

We want to talk a little bit about what’s possible if you go through the codeBOX discovery process. I’ll hand it over to you Ali and Mark. Again, Ali is one of our all-star project managers at codeBOX and has worked on custom development projects with us for a long time. Mark here is an all-star developer and one of the original architects of the LifterLMS product that we have as a sub-business under codeBOX.

If you’re watching this and you’re thinking in your head, “What do I get if I invest in this discovery process?” What do I get and what are the benefits?

Mark: Well, you get a plan. A lot of times people come to us with an idea and the discovery process is really intended to take someone’s idea and come up with a plan. You have your idea for the website. You have an idea for how it wants to work. You have an idea for the custom functionality that you’re looking to get. Then, over a series of weeks we meet with you. We revise your idea. We work with you to vet out the possibilities of your idea. Help you come up with new ideas. Help you refine your idea to be even better than what you initially had, and then in the end you walk away with a solid plan on paper that outlines your idea. It’s no longer just an idea. Now you actually have a plan. If you want we carry out your plan, that’s up to you but that’s part of the discovery process is helping you refine that vision.

Ali: Just to add onto what Mark said, it’s not even just a plan but you also walk away with a site map. That’s one of our key deliverables that we promise. If you do go forward with the project the cost of the discovery’s actually applied to the overall project cost, so it’s a really good invest in making sure that you’re able to get the best product and help us deliver the best product.

Chris: Absolutely. That’s the other thing where we’re different is a lot of other agencies or companies would want to throw out a number and just start right away, but we can’t actually responsibly give you a financial estimate on how big the project’s going to be, how long it’s going to take, how much it’s going to cost until we go through a proper discovery process. That’s not something that can be done with a quick fifteen minute sales call, so it’s really important to invest in that piece.

Ali: I think a lot of people can be intimidated by the term discovery process because it sounds like such a big … They just want a number for how much their project might cost and that sounds like such a big investment of time, but we really have it kind of broken down to a science. We do it in two to three phone calls. In the first call we really learn about you and what you want to build. In the second phone call we kind of reflect that back to you and show you some wire frames and the site map and make sure that we are all on the same page. Then, by the third call we’re ready to discuss the scope of the project and the timeline for the project.

Chris: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s awesome. If I could throw a metaphor out there, a lot of us who have a project when we come we have a vision in our head but it’s really important to build a foundation under castles in the air, as I like to say, because by going through the discovery process we can uncover the details that maybe haven’t been thought about yet. You’re leveraging our expertise having done lots of projects in the membership site, the learning management system, the online course, and other different niches in web development. We have a lot of experience in e-commerce, integrating with other third party software through APIs and things like that so you get to leverage our expertise and we can help really define all the pieces that go into building that house or that web property.

Ali: Absolutely.

Chris: I think another thing to mention too is that we also take a value stance in the sense that we’re looking for the value that you’re going for in your platform and we understand that what we want to use web development and design, and software and tools to solve business problems. We can speak to you on both sides and we understand where you’re coming from as an entrepreneur, business owner, and expert of some kind. What we do is we help build that bridge from your business problem or needs into the technical system that’s going to help support and solve that. Then we do it in a visual way so that we can kind of orient you of exactly what you’re going to get, and then also in a line item way so that you can understand how big and what are the costs of the various features to implement.

Ali: Mm-hmm (affirmative). The discovery process is also a really good time for us to get to know you better and learn how you like to work and how we like to work, so that when we do start the project together we’re all really familiar and comfortable with each other.

Chris: Absolutely. I’d like to say, if you’re watching this I want you to know who the discovery process is not for. We’ll get into who it’s for, but who it’s not for. There’s a couple things that come to mind for me.

One is if you don’t have a budget. If you don’t have a budget you’re not at a place where you’re really ready for custom development, so you need to work with off the shelf tools and try to get your MVP, your minimum viable product, or your phase one do it yourself project off the ground. You’re not quite ready for the custom build. It’s important to know where you’re at on that journey.

Also, it’s not really for what I would call online or business beginners. What I mean by that is where codeBOX really shines is we help take already successful entrepreneurs to the next level, and what I mean by that is that doesn’t necessarily mean … You may be successful offline and you’re just trying to bring your business online, so that’s the way we help take you to the next level. Perhaps you’re already online. You’ve gone through the hard yards and you built your project a couple years ago, or this year, or five years ago but you’re really ready and now you see the value in hiring a professional to help you do that and you’re looking to grow to that next level. That’s another thing.

The other thing is technology overtime is becoming more and more approachable. The tools are out there for people with non-technical skills to get in there and start messing with things like WordPress or plugins or hosting accounts and things, but this service is not for the do it yourself-er. It’s true that we don’t build any black boxes that you can’t work on and maintain in the future, but this is for someone who’s ready to leverage the power of a team, and programmers, and developers, and designers and let those strengths come from the people who have been doing it for quite some time.

What else would you guys add? Who is the codeBOX discovery process not for?

Mark: Well, what you said’s really true. It’s not for people that are doing it themselves. If you’re doing it yourself or you don’t have a budget you have a hard time getting and collaborating and building out a solid plan. I think it’s definitely not for the small business that doesn’t really know what they want at all. I think if you come to us and you just want to get online we can help you do that, but we really want you to have something that you’re trying to do. We really want to take you to the next level, take your business model and move it online or take your existing system that you had built and move it to 2016. Make it better than everybody else. We like to make people exceed better than the expectations.

Ali: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Absolutely. Really who is the codeBOX discovery process for? It’s the opposite of that. It’s for folks who have a working budget, who have some kind of success already and they’re ready to kind of go to the next level, and then that values the time savings and the ability to leverage the expertise of the experts. That’s who the codeBOX discovery process is for.

Also, I just want to add that one of the questions we get is how much is a project going to cost. Well, we don’t know. That’s the purpose of the discovery process. When you invest in that we’re actually able to give you a concrete number that we can work with, but we can’t do that before we go through the discovery process.

Ali: I would add that most people that tell you that they can do that without really understanding the project are probably wrong.

Chris: Right.

Ali: It’s really important to really understand what you’re building and have more than a fifteen minute phone call before getting a number to work with.

Mark: Yeah. It’s as important to us to scope it out as it is for you. We’ve learned that from doing custom development for years and years. This is the best way that we’ve found that we can sit with you, we can come up with the plan, we can understand you, we can understand your budget, we can come back to you with what we can do within that budget. It’s really beneficial. We’ve never seen anything that works as well as the discovery process as far as coming up with an accurate budget and timeline for your project.

Ali: Right. That’s what I was just going to add to what Mark was saying was that it’s not just about a number, but it’s also about a timeline because that’s another thing that you’re worried about is, “When is my project going to be completed? I have this great idea but I’d like to launch it in twelve weeks. Is that possible?” The discovery process really helps us answer those questions.

Chris: Absolutely. Like we mentioned a little earlier in this video is that sometimes people have experience where they ended up at odds with their web development or design agency and a lot of times that comes from just not having gone through the discovery process, whereas with us we end up with being known as long-term technology partners. We have clients who have been with us for years. It started out with a discovery process. We built whatever the web property, or the application, or the website that we were building, and then these clients keep coming back asking for more and taking their business to the next level with more and more projects and so on. We want to be seen as a long-term technology partner and in order to do that properly we need to do our diligence with each other and leverage each other as best we can in the beginning with that discovery process.

Mark: We use the same process model for our current clients, the clients who have been with us for years. They come up with a new feature that they want to implement and we make them vet it with us. Sometimes they walk away and decide that it wasn’t a good feature. It doesn’t really fit their model or it’s just completely out of scope of what they want to do, and they end up walking away with a different idea. Sometimes we vet it out and it’s perfect, and that way we can execute exactly what they want.

One of the big things with discovery in general, whether you’re already a client or you’re thinking about becoming a client, is we want to make sure that what we build you is what you wanted or more-so what you needed. Sometimes you think you know what you need, but through the vetting process you actually refine and figure out exactly what you need and then when we build it you’re not surprised. That’s something that I’ve seen throughout my entire career in development and it’s one of the most common issues that you see is you come up with a great idea, you talk about it really quick, the developer goes and builds it, and pretty soon it’s not really what you wanted … Or, it might be what you initially wanted but it’s definitely not what you needed and it doesn’t work the way that you intended it to.

Ali: Right. It’s all about expectations.

Chris: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That makes sense. We’re also flexible. Like you were saying Mark, if a project needs to change on the fly or the scope needs to be adjusted we can absolutely do that. We don’t get locked in because we know that as projects evolve and deploy out that some things might change. Some things may become more important, less important, or need to change. That’s okay and we can work with that as technology partners.

Mark: Yeah. I think from a project manager’s standpoint the discovery process isn’t a waterfall system, it’s just a way to refine the idea before we get started. We like to approach the entire development process from an agile perspective. We like milestones. We like to do small implementations and refine that and work with you. Even what we came up with in the initial discovery might not be the final project, and that’s only because through the development process we came up with new ideas, things are refined, and it’s just changed slightly. That initial discovery process is still incredibly important because it at least gets us all on the same page, we define the scope of the project, everybody understands what we’re trying to achieve, and I’ve never seen it go from … The goal never changes. Pieces might change, but the overall goal, what we’ve solidified in the discovery process, is what you come out with.

Chris: Absolutely. If this is resonating with you, if you’d like to find out more about a discovery session with codeBOX, go to gocodebox.com/discovery-session. You can easily get there if you just go to gocodebox.com. You’ll find this video there if you’re not already there and then below that or beside it you’re going to see two buttons. One where you can go ahead and purchase and invest in your discovery process, and get on the schedule and get things rolling. The other option there is going to be a button or a link where you can schedule a quick call to kind of talk about it or figure out what your questions are that need to get answered about the discovery process before moving forward. Again, go to gocodebox.com/discovery-session.

We’re not done. We’re going to keep going here. We’ve got some more information for you about the discovery process. That is just to tell you a little bit about the codeBOX brand and what we’re all about. Really not all agencies, or companies, or freelancers are the same. There’s some different things that make us unique and why you should consider possibly working with us compared to, let’s say, trying to outsource your entire project overseas to a different country where you can find lower cost help.

There’s some great people all around the world in web development and marketing and all these things, but people don’t always have the best experience with that or they run into issues with timezone issues and trying to communicate on a decent schedule. Not all freelancers are the same and they don’t all cost the same. I’d really advise you strongly to watch out strongly for something that seems like too much of a good deal because there are cheap options out there for freelancers or agencies, but in our experience you really do get what you pay for in a lot of cases. Just like a hair cut. You can get the twenty dollar haircut or you can get the hundred dollar haircut.

Ali, I’ll hand that one over to you. What makes that different?

Ali: Well, Chris if you go get a twenty dollar haircut you’re going to get a less experienced stylist who doesn’t really take into consideration the texture of your hair, might not listen to your story and understand what your daily needs are for your hair, if you like to wear it up in a ponytail because you run all the time or if you like to wear it down because you have to go into an office everyday. Versus if you go to a high-end salon they’re going to listen to you, they’re going to listen to your story, they’re going to listen to your needs and come up with a haircut or a style that suits you and fits you.

It’s actually a great analogy because it’s just like using us. We are the experts and we can create a website that suits you, and that fits your needs and your user’s needs. It’s the same sort of thing.

Chris: Absolutely. I think one of the biggest benefits is the experience. You get to leverage our experience and all the other projects that we’ve worked on, so we have so much history that that gets reflected in the consulting process that emerges in the discovery process and the in quality of what it is that we built.

Ali: Right. You don’t want somebody cutting you’re hair that’s doing it for the first time. At least I don’t.

Chris: That’s right.

Mark: The twenty dollar haircut is for some people. Some people it would make a lot of sense to ship your product overseas have it done as cheap as possible, or hire a local developer because what you’re looking for can be done by that, or it’s just your budget. You just don’t have the budget to go to the high-end salon and get the best haircut you possibly can. That’s kind of where it goes back to who’s it not for. The discovery session or development work isn’t for the twenty dollar haircut type people that just need to get something done, and maybe we’ll meet again because this is an MVP. You’ve got to start somewhere.

What we focus on is, like you said, we want to be technology partners with you. We’re always innovating. We’re always pushing ourselves to be the best at what we do, and we are the best at what we do. When it comes time to build a learning management system on WordPress or it comes time to build an application or website that’s going to have a lot of viewers or a lot of data, we’re professionals in that realm. We can do it right.

Ali: Just going back to my favorite analogy, the haircut analogy, again: If you do invest in a good haircut you might not need to get your hair cut every four weeks because the hairdresser knows how to style it and knows how to cut it so that it will grow out well. Knows how to do it right the first time.

Chris: Absolutely. It’s not something fragile that’s just put together. It’s made just like a solid constructed building to last and stand the test of time, and if you want to add onto it later you can.

Ali: Right. Exactly.

Chris: Speaking of haircuts and our analogy here, one of the things that we get feedback on from our clients is just how friendly and approachable we are. We like to have fun. Just like right here we’re talking about haircuts. You can also see our faces. A lot of web development and design agencies like to pretend that they’re bigger than they are. They put up fancy office buildings and things on their website. As a technology partner we also like to be the kind of people that you enjoy interacting with. We don’t want to be the dentist that you never look forward to going to. A lot of our clients we meet with weekly, and we enjoy our calls, and we have a good connection with each other, and care about our clients above and beyond just the website or just another project.

Do you guys have anything you’d like to add to that?

Ali: I think that’s absolutely true. We have a lot of fun working together as a team on codeBOX and I think that gets translated to our relationships with our clients because we have a lot of fun working with them too.

Mark: Yeah. We love what we do. That’s the big part of it. Everybody on the team is obsessed with websites and internet technologies and technology in general. We’re all just a bunch of people that love that stuff, so we really get into working with clients that also love that stuff. If you’re looking to innovate that get’s everybody excited on the team.

When we have a client come to us and they want to do something that hasn’t been done before or they want to do something better than what they’ve seen, we love that. We love a good challenge and we just work with them, refine it, figure it out, and just build it to the best that we possibly can. We have a blast doing it.

Chris: Absolutely. We celebrate the success of our clients. What I like to say is, “Your success is our success.” When you do a launch of your membership site, or your course, or whatever your application or platform is and you have a successful launch where you earn way more than it cost to develop the thing, we celebrate that. We celebrate the success of our clients and invest in it. The better you do, that’s better for all of it. It means it’s working and everything is paying off and we’re getting the most value out of the project as we can.

Mark: Yeah. That kind of goes back down to the whole, “Who do you want to work with,” because what we’ve found … When you decide you’re going to get into the learning management space, you’re going to get into membership, you’re going to do a custom site, you’re going to do something innovative, that’s not a one-stop thing. You’re not going to have us build it and you’re done, and you can just manage it forever. That’s a life-long partnership and that’s what we strive to build is trust with you from the initial project, and ongoing trust, and that we know what we’re doing and that we can help you refine your vision and keep your project innovative. That’s the big thing is working with you forever because we’ll be hanging out every week if you’re successful and you just want to keep innovating.

Ali: Yeah. That’s my favorite part of the week, actually, is talking to our clients and hearing what they’ve been up to and talking about their sites and what new projects we have coming up.

Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Absolutely. Well, if this is resonating with you and you’d like to move forward go ahead and click the button below this video and invest in your discovery process. That’s at gocodebox.com/discovery-session. If you want to jump on a quick phone call and have some pre-sales questions about the discovery process or just things you want to get ironed out before you move forward, go ahead and click the other button where you can schedule a call for that. We’re just going to talk about one more thing before we close out this video and that’s really how to get the most out of discovery call.

Let’s assume you’re here and you see the value in co-creating your project in the early phases, and avoiding mistakes, and leveraging our expertise, and saving your time, and we’re moving forward with the discovery process. How do we get the most out of that? Well, I think some things that come to mind for me is to really present … We may not know your exact business and what you’re trying to do with your web application to best benefit your business, so you need to educate us a little bit on who your customer is or your ideal customer, and how your business works or how it’s going to work, or what the problem we’re going to be solving is, and what is your vision. Your short-term, your medium-term your long-term vision. Those things are really helpful. You got to educate us a little bit so we can discover a little bit about you and really invest in your story, and your goals, and what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s one thing that I would really recommend is to treat us with a beginner’s mind and tell us what you’re trying to do.

Ali: The number one way I think that you can get the most out of your discovery session is really thinking about what your budget is and being honest with us about it, because when clients are hesitant to share their budget with us it hinders our ability to be able to be creative and come up with a plan that fits your needs. I think that’s a number one thing that’s helpful.

Mark: Yeah. That’s difficult because obviously … Maybe it’s people they’ve worked with before or it’s just a preconceived notion that sharing their budget means we’re going to try to maximize the project to their budget, but what it really does is it helps us wrangle in their vision because you can take any concept and it could be wide ranged. If we don’t know what your budget is and you’re telling us all these things you want to do you’re going to get shocked when we come back and tell you how much the project’s going to be, but if you tell us what the budget is through the entire discovery process we’ll be working with you in those means. Talking about that is a killer idea, but maybe that gets pushed to V2 while we work on this. Or all this is way below what you’re even estimating. We’ve seen both. What we’ve seen is we get a lot more out of it when the customer does share it and we don’t always go up to their budget. Sometimes they do realize that they need to come back later when their budget’s better and sometimes their budget’s beyond what we even need to charge them to get something done. It just helps us understand what we’re working in.

Ali: Yeah. That’s one of my favorite things about working with Mark actually is he loves a challenge and he’s really creative. If I tell him, “This client has a, and I’m just making up a number there, fifteen thousand dollar budget but they wanted to do x, y, and z.” Mark is really good at figuring out, “Okay. Well, this is what they can do now but maybe we can roll this feature out later,” and just trying to work with them. It just makes the process much more efficient for everybody and everybody’s much happier with the results.

Chris: Absolutely. If maybe don’t have a budget and have a budget range we can work with that range as well too. That’s a really good one.

I think the other one that I’d just throw out there is to really allow us to leverage our strengths in the conversation and let us come in and help create the best options or unpack your story based on our technical experience, and also our experience with other clients with what we’ve seen works, what we’ve seen that doesn’t work. Really leverage our experience, ask our opinion, and try to get the most value out of us as well.

Ali: Yeah. Absolutely.

Chris: Well if this is resonating with you, if you’re not there already go ahead and head on over to gocodebox.com and there’s two option on the discovery page which is at gocodebox.com/discovery-session. You can click the button and buy your discovery session start and then we’ll get that on the calendar and get rolling on your project or if you’d like to set up a quick call to kind of discuss what you have in mind and get your questions answered, we’re happy to do that as well.

Ali: Okay.

Chris: Thank you for checking us out at gocodebox.com/discovery-session. After that if you want to connect with us on social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter. Over to you Ali, where are those at?

Ali: And Instagram. On Facebook you can like our page which is codeBOX. On Twitter our handle is gocodebox. Instagram we’re codeboxpics.

Chris: Awesome. Well, that wraps it up for this episode of LMScast. We look forward to catching you in the next one.

EPISODE 97

Online Course Creation Freedom Secrets

In a departure from the usual focus on business, this LMScast speaks to a more altruistic purpose behind educational entrepreneurship. Chris Badgett shares his online course creation freedom secrets to help you help others and make a living while doing it.

The 14th Century Sufi poet Hafiz wrote, “The small man builds cages for everyone he knows, while the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.” You have a unique opportunity today to drop those keys that can set people free from their cages around the world. You can create a course around anything you know well enough to teach. The narrower your niche, the more valuable your service.

This is about more than building a business and turning a profit. This can become an expression of your authentic life purpose. And what could be better than making a living doing something you know is beneficial to others, and fully aligned with your own values and priorities? That’s what LifterLMS is for us. This is the key we offer to you – to give you the tools to build the platforms by which you can share your value, your skills, and your authenticity.

You have value you may not even recognize, because you’re too close to it. So many people in the world want and need you to teach them the things you know better than anyone else. You’re caged by not knowing what you have to offer. They’re caged by their inability to learn from you. But you can make that connection through the internet. Unlike 20 years ago, you don’t need access to big money, production, distribution, or media outlets. All you need is passion for your niche and the desire to share it.

You’re standing at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and technology. There are no limits here to what you can teach and learn. You can locate and serve a sub-niche of your own creation, and support yourself doing it.

We at LifterLMS want to be your partner in helping you share your knowledge, skills, and expertise with everyone who needs it. To learn more about Chris’s online course creation freedom secrets and how LifterLMS can help you start your journey as an educational entrepreneur, visit our LifterLMS My Online Courses page.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode, we’re going to be talking about online course creation freedom secrets. What am I talking about there? What I’m talking about is the big opportunity with online courses, but not just from a business perspective, also from an authenticity, from a life purpose, and from just a freedom of expression perspective. Now to dive into this one, this episode is a little different from our usual more tactical, more strategic point of view. I’m going to start with a poem from a Sufi poet named Hafiz from the 14th Century. He said that, “The small man build cages for everyone he knows, while the sage who has to duck his head when the moon is low keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.”

I’m going to read that to you one more time. “The small man build cages for everyone he knows, while the sage who has to duck his head when the moon is low keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.” This is a really inspiring poem and I want to deconstruct it with you a little bit on this episode. In some ways, I’d like to consider this episode a key that is being dropped for you to help push you over the edge, to create your online course, to move forward with your expressing your value, your skill, your authenticity. One of the reasons and one of the missions behind this podcast and our product, LifterLMS, which is an online course creation software is to enable education entrepreneurs to give them the tools to build these platforms easily.

It also comes from a place of looking all around us as the world is dramatically changing and technology is accelerating. I see people who have all kinds of value trapped inside of them and it’s typically several things that keeps that value trapped or caged if you will. One is just an ignorance of the fact that it’s there which is not a bad thing. It’s just that when people or organizations are really, really good at something, they maybe humble or just may simply be unaware of the fact that they’re sitting on so much value.

If somebody is let’s say super healthy and just really developed in the health and fitness niche, whatever that is, let’s say is a yoga or some kind of specialty type of nutritious cooking or whatever, they may not realized how valuable that skill that they’ve developed is and how many people would love to learn from that person, how to become like that. In a way, they’ve have this cage around them and there’s all this other people who have this cage who were like, “Please help me. I wish I knew about you. I wish I could learn from you.” That’s the beauty of the online course opportunity is because the internet is a global connectivity device which I’ve been working on the web for a long time, but it continuously amazes me the true raw power of the internet and how powerful that connection is.

It’s not just about having websites. It’s really about those connections. You maybe listening to this podcast on the other side of planet earth from where I’m at right now and 20 years ago, that just wasn’t really possible and definitely not possible for someone without a lot of money and let’s say access to like radio stations and massive production and distribution and that sort of thing. The technology is here. There’s never been a better time at the intersection of education, technology, and entrepreneurship.

It’s all here and there’s so many people who are struggling or just not optimized where they could diversify with an online course offering in various niches, whether that’s health and fitness, business, leadership, internet marketing, relationships, even like corporate training or technology courses. There’s so many niches that you could go into and start unlocking cages for people. Part of that is when we unlock a cage for somebody else, we’re unlocking a cage for ourselves too. We’re stepping into our highest, best, most authentic self and we’re sharing that value. One way I like to say is it if you look around and you see people who have all these incredible talents, my statement is stop hoarding all that value, like stop being so selfish.

You can share that and you can also make a living and make an impact by simply sharing what you have. One of the great things about these times where we’ve never been at a better place at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and technology is that the niches in which you can go into of like what is that value, what is that cage you’re unlocking for people can be very, very specific and precise. That’s a change. I think it’s part of the reason a lot of people stay trapped inside those cages if you will is that they don’t realize that you only need like 100 people or 1000 people all over the world to get into your online course before you have a real business, like a full time income kind of business if you have the right pricing model and that sort of thing.

If we look at book publishing as an example, the traditional bookstore only had so much shelf space. The internet has unlimited shelf space, so what does that mean? In the traditional bookstore, you had to be a “bestseller.” You had to be popular. You had to be mainstream for the various categories. If you go into the bookstore, there’s gardening, there’s cooking, there’s business, there’s fiction, but there’s only so many categories. On the internet, what the beautiful thing is you can go another layer down. There’s unlimited shelf space. Let’s say if we go back to the health and fitness example, let’s say you do some kind of specialized yoga combined with a certain kind of diet, combined with a certain kind of meditation exercise.

You essentially created your own unique practice that helps people to transform their health and get better mental clarity and all these kinds of things. It doesn’t really fit the box for just like a general yoga instruction book or DVD or that sort of thing. On the internet, if you can get enough traction and you can get a word out about it, if your stuff is good, you’re going to develop a following on the web for that specific sub-niche of yoga which is a sub-niche of health and fitness. You can go to that lower level down. If you had 100 people paying you for $1000 course which would need to be pretty substantial and add a lot of value and even potentially have some live components and that sort of thing or a 1000 people paying you for a $100 US course.

That’s significant amount of income, but the most important thing is that if you are that person, if you are that expert, you need to partner with somebody or a company or develop a skill so that you can package all that and deliver that in an online course that make sense on the internet. I have a special video message for you about my journey in this. If you want to check that out, you can go to lifterlms.com/my-online-courses. Again, that’s lifterlms.com/my-online-courses and I talked with you a little bit more about my journey through the online course space. I’ve been in this industry for quite some time, both developing courses myself and helping others do the same all around the world. It amazes me this big opportunity of all the different niches and what people can create courses about.

The key ingredients of course is that you have to be passionate about it. You have to be able to teach, but these are things that a lot of people have. There’s a lot of people out there who are either have problems or have desires and they’re looking for somebody to come help unlock the cage or help them unlock the cage for themselves and move forward and advance in life, whether that’s in business or health or some kind of technology skill or whatever it is. There’s just never been a better time to unlock that online course opportunity and really just became an education entrepreneur. There’s platforms out there like Hosted Solutions that you can go to and you can start adding your course to those places, but you can also develop your own platform, your own hub, which is what I recommend. I’ve been around this for a while.

I’m also a big believer in posting courses on hosted solutions as a side income and as a lead generation or marketing activity. At the end of the day, I think it’s important as an education entrepreneur to own your platform and control it and have it be really just about your content and your education. Thank you for checking this out and I would encourage you to think about this opportunity of creating online courses to help other people. Again if you’d like to hear more about my journey, you can go to lifterlms.com/my-online-courses. I’m going to close out by reading this poem by a Sufi poet in the 14th Century called Hafiz, “The small man build cages for everyone he knows, while the sage who has to duck his head when the moon is low keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.”

EPISODE 96

How Not to Fail as an Instructional Designer or eLearning Consultant

Creating outstanding online courses is a balancing act. In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett tells you how not to fail as an instructional designer or eLearning consultant by making sure you strike that balance.

There are three elements to a successful online course. You need:

  1. Expertise
  2. Instructional design
  3. An online course delivery system

If you’re an instructional designer you’re already ahead, but you still have to find the right partners with the knowledge and expertise your business needs. You’ll also require a fully capable and dependable learning management system for your online course delivery.

Maybe you’re the expert and you need to find a compatible instructional designer to showcase your knowledge. You also have to use the right LMS to package and deliver your online courses successfully. You may even be a solopreneur looking to balance all three tasks by yourself. Your online course is like a three-legged stool. If one leg is short or missing, the whole thing will come tumbling down.

Whether you’re the expert, the instructional designer, or the solopreneur, you’re at best only a third of the way there. Don’t make the mistake of leaving out any of these three foundational aspects or your online course can’t work. Also realize that any tasks you choose to do yourself beyond your own area of specialization will be far less effective than what someone can do who already has mastered those skills. You especially can’t treat your learning management system as an afterthought, or you will fail.

If you’re ready to partner with a company like LifterLMS that can fulfill your requirements for expertise, for instructional design, and for online course packaging and delivery, then visit us today and watch our introductory video at our My eLearning Technology Partner page. We’re ready to blend our services with your existing knowledge and skills to help you build your course and make it successful.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode we’re going to talk with you about how not to fail as an instructional designer or eLearning consultant. When you approach online education or the creation of online courses or learning management systems, or even membership sites, it’s important to really look at what I call the three-legged stool that supports a solid platform. Those three legs are the expert or some kind of body of expertise or knowledge; the second is instructional design; then the third is the learning management system or the online course delivery system, or the membership site system or members area. If you’re not firing on all three cylinders there, your project is likely to either fail or not achieve the opportunity that is in front of it to the fullest.

The most important part when you approach this issue, if you’re an instructional designer or eLearning consultant, is to make sure that you’ve got the other two missing pieces in place. The first one is much easier. It’s making sure you’re partnering and working with qualified experts or organizations, that have a significant body of knowledge, or need to develop a significant body of knowledge. You may be a good instructional designer, but if you’re not leveraging experts or working with the right types of companies or small businesses or individuals, your business is really not going to go anywhere.

That first part is pretty obvious, but the next part is more subtle, which is, you may be able to help that expert or that organization with a body of knowledge, craft and co-create and co-design some training materials that really work, but then you’re also going to need an online course delivering system or learning management system, to take that body of knowledge that’s been beautifully designed and crafted, into a learning experience, and then package that inside of an online course delivery system or learning management system. If you don’t want to fail, you really need to make sure that that learning management system piece, or that online course system piece, is not an afterthought, that a lot of intention goes into that.

It’s definitely okay if you want to learn how to work with lmS software and online course solutions. In essence, you’re doubling your job, in the way that, now you have to master this other skill, too. If you want to be the best instructional designer or operate the best instructional design firm, you should really stay focused on instructional design, and not necessarily on the online delivery component of that. If you’d like to find out more and continue this conversation, and you’re looking at finding a technology partner that can come in after you’ve done the instructional design piece, to package all that into an online delivery system, go to LifterLMS.com/My-Elearning-Technology-Partner. Again, that’s LifterLMS.com/My-Elearning-Technology-Partner. There’s a video message over there, and we can continue the conversation, if you’re looking to develop some kind of partnership around the LMS piece.

Really I just want to draw attention to everybody who’s listening to this, that if you’re the expert, perhaps you need to take a moment, take a step back, and realize that even though you’re an expert, you may need some help with instructional design. Let’s say you’re a company with a large body of knowledge. Just because you have that body of knowledge, it doesn’t mean it’s already packaged or designed in a way that creates a compelling learning journey. If you’re an LMS provider or an online course provider, it’s really important to realize that you’re going to need to have an expert, and you’re also going to need to have that expert content or material, packaged and designed into a quality learning journey. It doesn’t mean that one person or one company can’t do all this in-house, but it’s really important to acknowledge these three very different skill sets, when you’re putting together any kind of online training or learning journey.

Again,, the three legs of that stool are expertise or a large body of wisdom or knowledge; the second is instructional design; the third is online course delivery system or learning management system. Again, if you’re an eLearning consultant or an instructional designer and you’re looking to partner with a company that can come in and deliver the online course piece or the learning management piece, go to LifterLMS.com/My-Elearning-Technology-Partner, and we can continue the conversation over there.

I want to thank everybody for coming to this episode of LMScast, and I just want to encourage you, that even if you are a solo act and you’re trying to do this all yourself, that you divide your time equally between these three areas, because if you’re an expert at something, you’re still only a third of the way home. If you are a master in designing quality learning courses, you’re only a third of the way home. If you are an online course and marketing system guru, you’re only a third of the way home. If you want to increase your odds of success, let’s get all three legs under our platforms there, to develop the three-legged stool and build amazing learning experiences. Thank you again for coming, and we’ll catch you in the next episode.

EPISODE 95

Smart Corporate Training and Organizational Development Systems

Implementing internal training courses is a great way to grow talent inside your business. In this LMScast Chris Badgett talks about smart corporate training and organizational development systems that are far more effective than the tools you’re using now.

Training and organizational development systems are necessary, but generally businesses haven’t changed their approach over time. New employees usually learn the business by shadowing a current employee for a few days, or at worst, they’re thrown into the job and expected to learn through trial and error while working. Often managers are hesitant to improve onboarding and training systems, because they’re afraid their own jobs might be compromised if they’re not putting personal time and effort into the training process. But the truth is, more effective tools would allow them to pursue more high-level tasks as the training gets done efficiently without them hovering over the process.

Traditional tools for onboarding and training new employees usually include an employee manual and maybe a checklist of duties and expectations. This is outdated technology. It’s dry, difficult, and ultimately ineffective. People learn better if they’re engaged, and making the training process fun will get your new hires excited about your business and invested in doing well. Online courses really shine in this area since the trainee can learn through gamification, and then earn incentives like badges, certifications, or congratulatory emails as they successfully complete each stage of training.

Creating your own internal tools also allows you to capture value by capitalizing on the knowledge and expertise of your best employees. It may seem counterintuitive, but training is not necessarily best designed by your CEO or other leadership positions. Your best trainers are the people who actually do each job and do it well, and they’re the people you would normally assign your new hires to shadow and learn from. But what happens when those A-Players leave the organization? If you have them help design your training program, then you capture the value of their contributions to your business and make that resource evergreen, scalable, and available on demand.

Putting together a system of internal online courses may sound complex, but you can hire a service like ours to set it up for you quickly and professionally in just five days. Then your key people can add your content and media. It’s all about improving your existing business, helping your team grow, and capturing value through smart corporate training and organizational development systems. Find out more by visiting our LifterLMS My Corporate Training page.

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Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett. In this episode we’re going to be talking about the organizational development and corporate training opportunity with a learning management system or online course website that’s really for internal use. It’s not for the public. It’s not about selling courses or building a business. It’s about improving your existing business, helping your team grow, capturing value. There’s three areas I want to focus on for why corporate training and organizational development systems are important and the opportunity to leverage these within your business.

The first one that I want to talk about is if you’re not doing it, if you’re using two, kind of, outdated methods that need support or just there’s a gaping void or opportunity available to improve your new employee onboarding or new contract or onboarding system. The first is just not having any kind of organizational development or tool for newcomers to use to get onboarded beyond just the typical shadow or mentor of an existing employee. Or what’s even more common is you kind of throw people to the wolves and let them figure out their job through trial and error, through just experimenting and finding out when things don’t work. Often times it’s kind of counter intuitive, but if you have a management layer in your business sometimes the managers may feel it’s not in their best interest to create these kinds of tools because it might make their job obsolete, which isn’t entirely true.

What it actually does is if a layer of management creates and maintains and continuously improves these tools then that management function can focus on higher leverage opportunities because the training part of what they do or responsible for is much more efficient. If you’re not using any kind of tool to help support your new organizational development where you’re either bringing people into a new position that have been freshly hired or you’re trying to improve your existing team or leverage training opportunities to bring everybody to a higher level of performance, that’s the first gaping void.

The second is to just be using outdated technology, like for example, having an employee handbook that might be written in a way that’s kind of dry, doesn’t cite a lot of specific examples, talks a lot about high leverage philosophy, which is important but it may not get into the nitty gritty of this is what this point, exactly, means when translated into the day to day of the business. Perhaps you’re just using just some kind of other outdated method like some kind of checklist that a new employee has to go through. A mentor checks off everything as that new person goes through there. It’s a checklist, it’s nice but it’s not necessarily as developed as it could be.

In addition to filling gaps that are there in the organizational development or corporate training space, the other big gap is just to bring the fun back in training. If you’re a new employee or a new contractor and you’re coming into a business training should be fun. That’s a perfect opportunity to get that new hire excited about your business and not feel like they’re behind or they got to get through this hard trials and tribulations of getting to understand their job. There’s a big opportunity to make corporate training and organizational development fun.

The fun factor, you can do things like you can gamify the systems as they learn things. They can compete with other people in a similar position or in completely different positions but kind of learning similar things. You can put a little healthy competition in there and you can gamify that. For example, if you’re doing an online course about, let’s say, customer support and how you, as a company, what your culture and this is how we respond to customers and once people get through that, that course they get a badge or they get certified in company XYZ support philosophy or whatever. You’re giving them little milestones incrementally as they go through the training process to make it more fun. Or, you could things like, as they complete something you can have an email go to them that is just congratulating them on their progress and letting them know how much you appreciate their investment in learning how to do their new job well and going through the program.

Just bringing the fun and the excitement back into training, whether that’s a new hire situation or a continuous improvement situation, bringing the fun back with online courses and a well designed learning management system is another great thing about incorporating the modern training tools in organizational development and corporate training.

The other big opportunity is what I like to call value capture. Who should create this? Well, the insight is counterintuitive. It shouldn’t necessarily be the CEO or the co-founders or the leadership of the company that creates all the training tools. While ultimately the brand and the business may stop with the founder, the buck stops there or whatever, the reality is if they’re good at building their business there’s probably other players on the team who are going to be better suited to train specific components of various roles within the company.

Basically, what I mean by that is you want the A-players on your team to assist in the creation of the training program. That also scales and that’s why there’s a big opportunity for value capture because if you don’t have a corporate training or organizational development tool or system in place you may put the new hire with the A-player and they’re learning from each other, which is good and I’m not saying don’t do that but that value is never captured. What happens when that A-player has to do that exact same thing with somebody else and somebody else and somebody else. You’re not leveraging the scale of creating training products and tools that are evergreen or last forever.

The other big thing to consider is what happens if that A-player, which often happens or can happen with A-players is they’ll leave and go to another opportunity and you’ve just lost that. If you were to capture their way of training, let’s say, sales methodology and even if that person leaves or even if the company gets really busy and you don’t have the bandwidth to put your best people on training the new hires you’ve still go that training resource. There’s a big opportunity for value capture.

How do you implement a corporate training or organizational development system and get it going quickly because it can seem complex. It can seem complicated but the reality is there is resources out there to get you set up and running so that all you need to do is just plug in your key players and some media and start moving forward with your corporate training system.

If you’re interested in learning more about that and finding out more about the opportunities for greater value capture and positive culture change within your organization I would encourage you to go check out lifterlms.com/my-corporate-training and that’s, again, lifterlms.com/my-corporate-training and there’s a video message over there that will tell you more and let you know what you need to do next. There’s an opportunity to have a company like ours set up your system for you so that if you’re not an expert in online course delivery systems or learning management systems but you are an expert in your business we can kind of come together and get you up and running in five days with a platform for your to move forward and reap the benefits of a modern organizational development or corporate training system at your fingertips that’s easy to use.

Thank you for coming to this episode of LMScast. Again, if this all sounds good to you and you want to find out more go to lifterlms.com/my-corporate-training.