Episode 210

How to Design Programs Around Outcomes, Unlock Flipped Classrooms, and More with Course Launcher Ellen Martin

How to design programs around outcomes, unlock flipped classrooms, and more with course launcher Ellen Martin in this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of the LifterLMS team. Ellen and Chris dive into how online course creators should gauge success versus course completion.

How to design programs around outcomes, unlock flipped classrooms, and more with course launcher Ellen MartinEllen has a lot of experience with course creaton, serving course creators, and elearning in general. Ellen noticed a couple of years ago that course completion rates were abysmal, with only 2%-15% completion rates on average. This caused her to question what truly defines a successful course if not competition rates.

There are three major types of courses: learn a process, change a behavior, and a resource course. The resource course is the most dangerous, because it is the least engaging and most intimidating. Resource courses also tend to be ineffective, because they focus on information rather than achieving a specific outcome.

Ellen shares some tips and strategies she uses with her clients to create effective online courses that get students the results they signed up for. One key strategy she covers is touch points, where she will create engagements with students who haven’t completed a lesson or quiz in a while and ask them if they need help moving forward or if they’re satisfied with what they got from the course.

The strategies Chris and Ellen discuss really put you in the mindset of serving your students and focusing on delivering results to them. A lot of course creators try to handle every part of course creation themselves and end up failing, because they become overwhelmed. There are often five hats course creators wear:

  • Expert
  • Teacher
  • Community builder
  • Technologist
  • Entrepreneur

It is rare to find someone who can do all five of the jobs above. So if you see a skill set you don’t have it is important to create partnerships or delegate that work out, so you can focus on what you bring to the table that really delivers value. Personalization and individualized help are what really bring a course program together and add value to your students’ lives.

To learn more about Ellen Martin be sure to head to CourseLauncherHQ.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Ellen Martin.

Also be sure to check out LifterLMS.com to find out more about how you can add online courses and memberships to your WordPress website. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Ellen Martin, from courselauncherhq.com. Ellen has an eclectic background that we’re going to get into in a little bit. Lots of experience with course creation, serving course creators, elearning in general, and even a unique vision as a child into serving education in interesting ways and how that’s evolved. To start, I wanted to ask you, Ellen, you have some opinions on how we gage success as course creators from the perspective of course completion versus success. Can you riff on that a little bit?
Ellen Martin: Yeah, sure, and thank you for having me. I’m really excited about talking with you today. A couple years ago, I started seeing some studies come out about course completion and how course completion rates are just abysmal, when you’re looking at online courses. That’s really pretty true. Anywhere from 2 to 15% of the people on average tend to complete an online course, but really, is that what makes success? Is that a really good gage of what a successful course is, that somebody completed it? So, I started looking at it a little closer, and I think about my own experience with taking courses, and as an adult learner, we have different ways of approaching how we do courses and all that kind of thing.
Our motivation is different. If we don’t want to learn it, it’s really hard to get us to complete something. There has to be some motivation, and that’s where gamification comes in and all that. I was looking at some of your blog posts and watching some of your other podcasts, and you were talking about un-schooling, and I was like, yeah, that’s exactly how I’ve been. I look back at … I think the only reason I got through college and actually got a college degree was because I was in the Navy ROTC, and so I had that structure and I had to graduate.
Otherwise, I would have been like, ooh, that looks interesting, that looks interesting. Let me take this course. In fact, when I went for my Master’s degree, that’s exactly what happened. I started going, okay, that’s interesting, and I came onboard with that piece, let’s go on to this. So, the whole idea of un-schooling that you talk about, where you really kind of set your own path and let … When you’re working with kids, you let them set their own path, and with adults, it has to do as well with setting their own path.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it has a whole new name these days for adults. It’s just called lifelong learning. They want to learn something. You want to take a course on cooking, or how to learn a musical instrument, or become an entrepreneur? There’s all kinds of stuff that you can put in front of you these days.
Ellen Martin: Yeah, and so my experience … Back again to my experience with taking some of these courses that I’ve taken, I go into it with I want to learn this stuff, and 90% of the courses I’ve taken online I have not completed the whole course.
Chris Badgett: But did you still get value?
Ellen Martin: Exactly. That’s the key right there. It’s like, okay, I got to the point where I’m like, I got exactly what I needed from that course; now I’m going to move on. So, when we’re looking at creating courses, how do we decide what it is our students need to get out of the course? I mean, if it’s a certification program, chances are they really do need to complete the whole course, but even then, does that mean they actually learned it? So, you have to have the assessments in there and make sure that there’s some validation that they learned it. But if it’s just something that they’re learning for their own personal improvement or empowerment or whatever, then that’s not really a good gage that they completed it, in my opinion. So, when I build courses with folks, they come to me and they say, “Hey, I’ve got my course ready. Let’s build a website.” I typically find that, in the process of building this website and consulting with them, we totally revamp their course and make it more outcome-based. So, I-
Chris Badgett: Yeah, tell us more about that specific point, because that’s … I find that really interesting. What are you uncovering through the website-building process, or that kind of opens the door to that pivot to outcome-based? I like to say there’s three types of courses. There’s learn a process, a behavior change, or what’s called a resource course. A resource course is the most dangerous. It’s where people put in all kinds of valuable resources, but it’s not necessarily focused on an outcome, like following a process to achieve a result, or learning things that allow you to create lasting change in your life or the lives of others. So, I’m fascinated by what you just said there. What happens with the website to get the focus on results?
Ellen Martin: Well, one of the things I like to focus on is how do we engage the student along the way to encourage them to complete the course or to encourage them to at least consume the content of the course that they need. So, as we go through and build the course, one of the first things I do is I ask … I have this whole course outline that we work from. It’s a spreadsheet and it’s got all kinds of things in there, beyond just a basic outline.
We have touchpoints, okay, so we look at okay, at module two, if they haven’t completed that module in a week, maybe a week from the date that we expected them to, maybe we need to nudge them a little bit, check in with them, see hey, is something going on? Do you need some help? Or, are you just satisfied that you got what you needed? So, we use touchpoints, and as I work with my clients to identify the touchpoints in their course, that’s when the light seems to go on. They’re like, “Oh, I get it.” So, then we start putting together pre-assessments and post-assessments and say, “You know, what does the student really want to get out of this?”
Chris Badgett: One of the things we talked about actually quite a bit on this podcast is what I call the five hats problem, where a course creator has to be an expert, they have to be an instructional designer or teacher, they have to be a community builder, they have to be a technologist, and they have to be an entrepreneur. It’s very rare to find that whole skillset in one person, which is often why, in my experience watching the successful course creators and when I’ve found success in my own projects, it often came from partnering with other companies or people to round out those skillsets, but which … What you’re talking about here with this spreadsheet and behavioral nudge points, that’s kind of an instructional design skill, so it sounds like you’re coming together with an expert and be like, “All right. There’s a lot of great expertise here, but we’re missing some teaching opportunities.” Is that kind of what’s happening?
Ellen Martin: Yeah, and sometimes I just do it directly. I don’t bill myself as an instructional designer. I do have an education background. I could have been a high school teacher, but I looked at doing the student teaching and said, “You know, I don’t really want to teach high school. I want to teach adults, I want to do this.” So, I’ve been through a lot of education background, and so there’s a lot that I know, but I actually teamed up too with a number of instructional designers, and some of my clients, I’ve actually said, “Okay, I want you to work with this instructional designer, because you really need to nail this down to make the kind of impact you need to make.” So, that’s kind of where we go with that, and the spreadsheet really is just a tool that we use to organize the content, but in the process, it actually helps to evolve that content a lot of times.
Chris Badgett: Why do you think experts are often missing the results focus or the outcome-based … Is that a curse of knowledge type of scenario, or what is that?
Ellen Martin: You know, I think so, because as an expert, they have so much in their head, and they’re like, “Oh, I have to teach all this stuff.” I’ll tell you, there’s two courses that I’ve taken where the content is outstanding, but it was like, these brilliant people did these brain dumps and put them into these massive courses and said, “Okay, here’s a year’s worth of content, and I want you to consume it in six weeks.” I’ll tell you, it’s overwhelming, so that curse of knowledge where they want everybody to get all this information from them, they don’t think about it.
So, I always look at designing with the end in mind. What is the end? What’s the end result that you want, and then design backwards from that. There’s actually some books out there called Outcome Primers. I’m pretty sure it’s outcomeprimers.com. We can post the link later, I guess, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is, and there’s some good reading in there about designing your course with … Pretty much going backwards, saying, “Okay, what is it that the student’s going to get out of the course?” And then go backwards from there to figure out what they need to learn to get there.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, as opposed to starting with some good ideas or what I think. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Going back to the point on completion versus success, recently, somebody gave me access to an e-commerce course to check out, and I didn’t take his whole course, but there was some stuff in the beginning where he was like, “Here’s some low-hanging fruit things you can do with your e-commerce store.” I was like, oh wow, this is really great, and I started doing some SEO work I had been putting off. Nothing crazy, but these small tweaks, and I started seeing results instantly on those tweaks, and I’m like, that’s cool. Now, I haven’t finished the whole course, but it’s already a success.
Ellen Martin: Exactly, yeah. So, that’s why letting the student decide, really, what do they think is their measure of success? Because your course may speak to students in different ways. One student may think that completion is their measure of success. They want to consume every bit of content you have; that’s their measure of success. Another student says, “Hey, I might just want to learn how to SEO my e-commerce site,” and then that’s success. If you can identify those things upfront and then create the learning paths to get them there, that’s where it really, really shines. Sometimes what I’ve found too is with some of my clients is they’ll come to me and they’ve got this massive course. It’s one, big course, and what we’ve done then is we break it down into smaller courses so that we can take them down different paths, depending on what the student really needs.
Chris Badgett: I love that. Yeah, that’s awesome. I used to talk a lot about the dirty little secret of membership sites. I still talk about it, which is abysmal completion rates, but that was kind of my original tune, but it’s kind of evolved to … That’s still a problem, but what’s the bigger problem is results coming from the learning, because you could have 100% completion rates of something that didn’t impact somebody in a meaningful way.
Ellen Martin: Exactly.
Chris Badgett: That’s an even worse problem.
Ellen Martin: You know, when I first started using some of the tools to integrate the LMS software with the CRM, so if you have an email marketing software and you try to integrate the two together, that’s what we use. I don’t want to go into all the tech, but there’s ways to integrate the two so that your CRM helps you deliver your course in a different manner, in a more diverse manner than you could, necessarily, through the LMS software itself.
Chris Badgett: Is that what you mean by advanced gamification?
Ellen Martin: Yes, so the student engagement, the gamification, all the kind of stuff. If you connect a CRM like Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign, Drip, there’s a whole bunch of them now that can be connected to any of the … There’s a lot of different LMSs you can connect to that way, and LifterLMS is one of the ones that you can connect to in a couple different ways. Both Memberium and WP Fusion will let you connect your CRM to LifterLMS. So, when I first started doing that, my whole thing was okay, let’s see what we can do to nudge people to make them finish. As I started doing that, I was like, yeah, it’s actually a lot more … It’s about a lot more than just finishing, though. It’s about what do they really need to get out of it. There’s a course that I took same way, where I never finished, but I got through what I needed to get through because they kept nudging me and they were using those kinds of tools.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, there’s a concept of engagement, which we talk about a lot at, an electrical disc, but then there’s also re-engagement. But like you said, getting them back to complete isn’t … Getting them back to find what they were looking for and get results is almost more important than the completion rate itself.
Ellen Martin: Yeah, and depending on the course, there’s some courses that don’t have a lot of instructor interaction, but I really think it’s important for either an instructor or a coach or somebody to reach out, personally reach out somehow to the student at certain points during the course. A lot of that can be facilitated with things like the CRM integrations. There’s some video things you can use to send somebody a quick video somewhere along the way, and you can queue all that up in your CRM.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s fantastic. You mentioned in our pre-chat we have a mutual contact with Danny Iny, and he has a program called the Course Builder’s Lab, which we rave about over here at LifterLMS, and Danny’s a great guy. We’ve done projects together and we have an upcoming bootcamp about course building. I’ve learned a lot, personally, from Danny, and one of the things I noticed watching him with the Course Builder’s Lab, or Laboratory, as he likes to call it, is it’s not just content. I mean, there’s coaching. I mean, it’s not just … It’s all about the stack, but I think he does a great job with course plus coaching. Could you speak to … Because you have some relationship with the Course Builder’s Laboratory. How was that for you?
Ellen Martin: Yeah, so that’s actually what got me where I am now. It was after I took his class … I took his course because I was going to teach something entirely different. I thought I was going to teach marketing, because I was getting … I’ve been doing digital marketing of some sort for 20 years as well, 20 plus, and so I thought I was going to teach that. I went in there with that in mind, and as I was listening to people in his group talk about their tech, that’s how I ended up pivoting into the e-learning. But the coaching element of it was what I really felt was so important with his program, and I actually consider it more of a program than a course. I feel like a course is just a piece of the overall program that people are going to deliver inside their learning system and their learning sites.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, and I just want to reiterate that point, a program, not a course. It’s all about the stack. You can have a course, but you can also have coaching, you can have community, you can have live events, you can have all these other things to create the program.
Ellen Martin: Yes. The program is what I really encourage people to focus on, more than just course building. What’s your overall program? Yeah, you kind of need to pilot your course in the beginning, but all those other elements, if you don’t have a community in place, it’s really hard to pilot your course, it’s hard to really validate. So, building your community is definitely an important piece, and then having that interaction with the coach, especially if it’s a high ticket item. If you talk about-
Chris Badgett: If you have a $2,000 thing or whatever, I mean, there’s got to be some personalization in that. The days of a $2,000 video version of a e-book is … I mean, maybe you have content that valuable, but having personalization and individualized help is really what brings in that value.
Ellen Martin: That’s what’s really going to take somebody from just completing the course to having that successful outcome, because it really enhances that ability to learn, when you’ve got the community and the coaching and that whole piece integrated with it.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Can you tell us about your program, the CourseLauncher HQ? That’s over at courselauncerhq.com. Where did that come from? What problem is it solving? Tell us about it.
Ellen Martin: So, that actually grew out of Danny’s Course Builder’s Lab. I had done some e-learning. Around 2008, I worked with a … Did some consulting for an e-learning company and did some Moodle back then. Then, when I took Danny’s course, I was going to teach digital marketing, and as I was building out my own course, using an LMS software, I started hearing all these questions in the Facebook group from Danny’s-
Chris Badgett: In the community of the program.
Ellen Martin: In the community, and people were like, “Well, what kind of membership software do I use?” So, I’d start piping in, it’s like, well, do you really need membership software, or do you need course software?
Chris Badgett: That’s the right question to ask, by the way. When people say, “Which tool should I use?” really vaguely, I’m like, “Well, what do you need? What are the requirements? Do you have courses? Do you have coaching? What are you trying to do?”
Ellen Martin: So, I ended up developing this big, long list of talking points, and next thing I knew, people were asking me questions. Well, how do I build it? How am I going to build this thing? Then, I went to one of Danny’s live events and met a bunch of people and they all begged me to do a course on how to build their site. So, I put together a workshop on how to build an online course website with … It was pretty much an entry level, and it’s grown into the CourseLauncher Accelerator, where the whole idea is to walk you through setting up a WordPress-based course website.
Chris Badgett: Can I put a pin on that and ask to go down a rabbit hole with you?
Ellen Martin: Sure. I like rabbit holes.
Chris Badgett: One of the things I really love about Ellen and why I wanted to bring her to you guys, you all in the LifterLMS community, is her philosophy is … She’s unbiased about tools. Whatever works for the situation … The world needs more people that tool agnostic and focused on, like you said in training, results. One of the questions we get a lot at LifterLMS, or especially if someone is first hovering around the idea of creating courses, or building an online education business, either a one-course site, or a multi-teacher platform, or whatever, the first kind of line in the sand is do you need …
Are you the type of person who needs a … Who would be better off with a hosted LMS, like Teachable, or Thinkific, or do you want to go into the WordPress LMS, self-hosted area where there’s tools like LifterLMS, LearnDash, Sensei WP course, MemberPress, Memberium, all these … Well, I guess Memberium’s a little different, it’s connected to the CRM. But that first line in the sand, in your opinion, what’s the type of person that should go to something like Teachable and Thinkific, versus the type of person that goes into the WordPress, own the platform out. How do you talk about that delineation?
Ellen Martin: So, what I usually try to find out is where are you in the process of actually building your course and your program? If you have it pretty well fleshed out, if you’ve taught it before, if you’ve got an audience, you’re probably a good candidate to go into the WordPress space. If you’re just testing, sticking your toe in the water and saying, “Do I really want to do this course?” Then look at something like Thinkific or Teachable, because you can start for free and you can get people into your course. Just have them send you some money via PayPal, you put them in there for free, and you’re not paying anything for the platform. So, you’re not spending a lot of time and money just to beta test your course. Those are the kinds of people I really think that’s a good platform to use.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. I think that’s a really cool way to talk about it. I kind of talk about it abstractly, like, well, do you want the dorm room, or do you want the house? Do you want to rent, or do you want to own? But I love what you’re saying there, if you’re just getting started and trying to validate, save the technology ownership responsibility, which comes with a lot of great benefits, but rent some space, validate the idea before you start getting really deep in the tech. I love that. Thank you for that insight.
Ellen Martin: Well, and then there’s this whole other stage where you decide yes, WordPress is appropriate, and I’ve seen people spend six months to a year trying to figure out all the pieces, parts to fit them together. It took me a whole year before I actually got things really the way I wanted and said, “Okay, these are the things that really work well together.” I’m a techie. I’ve owned a hosting company for 20 plus years, and it took me a year. So, I can’t imagine somebody who’s either not a techie or doesn’t do it every day, trying to keep up with it. So, yeah, I’ve tried to bridge the gap on that, and that’s … So, when people work with me, we actually manage the whole process of building the site and stuff, but I really try to encourage people don’t get caught up in the tech when you’re trying to get your course built.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. I have an opinion, which you may agree or disagree with, either way, which is I think people should not go for the tech. Don’t go shopping for tech or get the hands on the tech until you’ve got some course content already kind of put together and figured out, because I’ve seen a lot of people kind of come into the tech and then … They haven’t made their course yet or figured out exactly which course they’re going to build, or if they’re going to do a series of courses, or a membership that includes the course, plus other benefits. That’s not even fleshed out yet, and then I see people in the rabbit hole of tech for six months, 10 months, which page builder do I need? Which them should I use? I mean, what do you think?
Ellen Martin: Yeah, I see that a lot, and those are the people I say if you’re in that stage, go to Teachable, go to Thinkific. You can have it up in a couple days. You can start just dropping your content in there, and it’s not that hard to then transfer it out to another platform that you own later after you validate it, but yeah. Sometimes I think it’s an excuse not to actually build their course, but they’ve got this fear of success or whatever you call it that they’re like, well, if I spend all my time just trying to figure out the tech, I never have to really put it out there.
Chris Badgett: You know, we are like birds of a feather. I keep finding all these similarities, because I’ve … I used to not really believe in that fear of success thing, or … But then I watched so many people just stall out and crash and burn on the five yard line, and just not … Just all these little things coming up at the very end that I was like, something is going on here, and I think it is that fear of success or … It’s interesting. I used to not believe in it, but I 100% believe in it now.
Ellen Martin: Yeah. I also think it’s important for people to own their zone of genius, because just because you can do the tech doesn’t mean you should. I can do my bookkeeping, I can put stuff in QuickBooks and I can spend hours a day handling all my bookkeeping, but should I? So, just because you can do the tech doesn’t necessarily mean you should be the one doing it. So, that’s another thing to really consider when you’re looking at this stuff, because that can get in the way of you actually delivering your course where you’re in your zone of genius and doing what you really excel at.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well-said. Tell us more about CourseLauncher HQ, because you have a service, but then you also have this workshop, implementation workshop. That’s kind of an interesting stack. How does that kind of work together?
Ellen Martin: Yeah, so at one point, I thought I might have a do-it-yourself platform where I could maybe compete with Thinkific or Teachable, and what I’ve discovered, really, is it’s a little complex for most people to come in and try to do it themselves on WordPress without some kind of coaching. So, in addition, we actually will do an entire site build for people, but now I … I’ve done these workshops before. I’m getting ready to launch some new ones, but we’re doing more of the group workshops where you can come in, you can watch the videos to learn how to do the pieces, and then you come to a live session, it’s a work session. It’s not a I’m going to sit there and teach you something session, it’s a session-
Chris Badgett: It’s not passive, it’s active.
Ellen Martin: Yeah. So, I call it the CourseLauncher Accelerator Workshop because I try to accelerate that process of getting that course website set up and running, but I also like to use the word implementation in there, because it’s all about implementing, and I was saying I have this coffee cup sitting here on my desk. It says less meetings, more doing, and I want one made that says less learning, more doing, because we really need to be implementing. So, my workshops are all geared toward walking you through, holding your hand through the process of actually building out the site, and what we do is we actually give you a pre-made site. All the plugins are all put together for you. You don’t even have to think about that stuff.
There’s a couple different levels, so some people start off with just the real basics, and the thing I like about this setup is that as you decide okay, I want to add more student engagement, you can increase your level, just upgrade to the next level and get more features. So, it’s like the packages if you look at your packages for the LifterLMS, you’ve got the free thing that they can get started with, and then they can add different add-ons to that. Then, you’ve got your different packages after that where they’re kind of bundled together. So, we do a similar concept with both the platform and the accelerator, so you pick what your needs are for where you’re starting. We walk you through that process of getting it set up and launched. We handle all the tech, you don’t even have to think about it.
Chris Badgett: Just to highlight this particular stack, this is a course plus, which is kind of an implementation workshop, plus a service, plus tech. That’s such an interesting stack that’s really designed around the outcome of having your cake and eating it too of the sense of you get the tech, you save a bunch of time. The starting line for your project, instead of way back here, is way up here, and I mean, I love that you call it accelerator, because as you were describing it, I’m like, yeah, that would make things move a lot faster for a lot of people.
Ellen Martin: Yeah, and it’s not a … I don’t let anybody just sign up without … They have to actually go through an interview. Right now, I’ve been doing all the interviews, but as I bring on more coaches, they’ll be doing more interviews for me as well, because I want to make sure somebody’s ready. That goes back to that question of are you sticking your toe in the water, seeing if you want to do this, or are you really ready? Do you have your course … It has to be at least outlined to the point where you’re ready to put it in the site before you start even thinking about the tech.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome.
Ellen Martin: That’s what I do. There’s no lock-in either, and that’s one of the differences of mine.
Chris Badgett: That’s one of the problems with a hosted solution or whatever, is they’re like, “Okay, you’re stuck. If you don’t make the monthly payment, you’re going.”
Ellen Martin: Yeah, and so with this, if you say, “Okay, I want to put it on hold, I want to come … I want to move it elsewhere,” you can do that. I have no lock-in. Most people, once they get on the platform, they’re like, “I like not having to worry about my plug-in updates,” because the first time you press that update plugins button and your site blows up, you’re like, ahh. So, we manage all that stuff for the people. I bundle my accelerator workshop with the hosting so that it’s all just handled.
Chris Badgett: Very cool, very cool. This couldn’t be an e-learning podcast without some lingo and some terminology. There’s a couple final questions I have for you around lingo. You talk a bit about the concept of the flipped classroom. For the uninitiated, could you describe what the flipped classroom means to you?
Ellen Martin: Traditionally, if you think back to school, you’d walk into the classroom, you sit down, and teacher talks at you and teaches you stuff. Then, they send you off to do homework. In the flipped classroom, you’re maybe watching a video, doing some research, doing the preliminary work, and doing the homework before you come to the classroom. So, you would watch the videos on how to do … Maybe how to set up your sales page, or maybe how to put a lesson into LifterLMS. Then, your homework would be put that lesson into LifterLMS. Then, the next phase is to go to the class where you’re sitting there. You can ask questions of the teacher, you might be working on it during the class, and so once you get to the class, you’ve already learned the stuff, it’s just solidifying that learning with actual doing.
Chris Badgett: I love that, and just to be clear, the flipped classroom could be a live in person thing, or it could be virtual, through a service like Zoom or GoToMeeting or Skype, or whatever. Another piece of terminology that you, in fact, invented a word. Usually, in the LMS industry, we have TLAs, which are three-letter acronyms. But you invented a four-letter acronym, which is the BYOL concept. Could you tell us loosely what that means?
Ellen Martin: BYOL stands for bring your own license, and so when I built my platform, we actually put it together with all the licenses included. So, somebody just pays us a flat fee, we give them the licenses. Everything they need is included in that flat fee. You don’t have to think, okay, do I need this, do I need that? But some people already own licenses for things. They might have a lifetime license or an annual license or whatever, and so we’ve got some … We call it BYOL, so you can bring your own license and get a discount off our rates-
Chris Badgett: Oh, that’s very cool.
Ellen Martin: … because you’re using your license instead of us using our developer license, because what I’ve done is by building this, I’ve gone out and I’ve actually negotiated with some of the providers, some of the plugin vendors, and gotten some discounts that I can pass on then. I bundle it all together with my discounted rates, and a lot of times, the cost of the hosting and the plugins as I give them is no more than if you went out and bought all the licenses yourself directly.
Chris Badgett: Which is a huge value, yeah.
Ellen Martin: Then, you get the tech support on top of it. So, I have people that’ll send an email. I forgot how to drip my lessons. What do I do? The tech team can then answer here’s … They’ll point them to where they go to drip the lessons, so they get some support that way.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Final question. You had a vision as a kid, as an eight-year-old or as a child. Could you tell us about that vision and how it connects to today?
Ellen Martin: Yeah. When I started getting into education a couple years ago … Because it’s been a little over two years that I said, “I’m all in on e-learning,” and all the other stuff I was doing. It’s still going, that part of my business, but my focus is all on e-learning. I started really reflecting back, and I’m like, you know? When I was eight years old, I had this vision. I was sitting in the basement of our old house as a kid, going, you know what? I want to be rich some day, because I want to give scholarships to kids that need it, coming from underprivileged areas where it could change their life because they got an education. So, that was my vision back then.
I taught my brother how to ride a bike. I taught swim lessons to little kids when I was a teenager. So, I started looking back and I’m like, I’ve always been a teacher. Now, with my vision, I really believe we can change the world through education. You can change individual lives, and I’m also a Kiwanian, and our motto is improving the world one child and one community at a time. I see that same thing in e-learning and education in general, is that one child, one community at a time, we can change the world through education. So, my vision has morphed from giving out scholarships to providing e-learning, and I’d love to be able to go into some of these countries and set up e-learning, or even set up some schools to help kids really come out of these bad situations and improve their lives.
Chris Badgett: Wow. That is really strong and powerful, and we’re in a lot of alignment in terms of our passion for democratizing education, and there’s two sides to this whole education entrepreneurship thing. There’s empowering the teacher entrepreneurs out there and the results they can get for the people that are looking for training and education and learning. They’re amazing. Thank you for sharing your vision with us. Ellen Martin, from courselauncherhq.com. Go check that out.
If you’re listening to this podcast, make sure you’re inside our Facebook group. We’re also live streaming this to Facebook. If you are watching this on Facebook, Ellen is in our community there. Feel free to drop a comment under this video, and yeah, I just want to thank you for coming on this show, and it’s great to share some time with you, talking about your e-learning journey and how you’re serving the course building community and solving some really challenging problems for course builders trying to juggle all these things and get things done, and get road blocks out of the way and get results. It’s awesome. Thanks for coming on the show.
Ellen Martin: Well, thanks for having me, Chris. I really enjoyed being here.
Chris Badgett: Absolutely.

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