In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett steps you through the top 10 themes from the Online Course Creation Summit with Devin Slavin. You’ll learn what the Summit is all about with major points of course creation from leaders in the industry.
It’s all too easy for people working online to become isolated in their endeavors, so in 2016 Devin gathered 40 top online entrepreneurs and course creation experts for the first Online Course Creation Summit. There they shared their knowledge and experience and what works in designing, building, launching, and marketing for their online courses. Devin and Chris share a deep appreciation for nature, which Devin brings to his business model through collaboration instead of competition. He’s now building his Course Creation Network and bootcamp hub on that foundation of partnership for people involved in creating online courses.
Today’s discussion highlights the top 10 takeaway themes from the Summit. Number 1 is achieving engagement by creating courses that people will purchase and follow through with. Next is the idea of pre-selling your course before it’s finished and working with a pilot group to build a course that people will actually buy. The 3rd theme is user experience and how your course flows. Number 4 is community, how to build it and take it to the next level. The 5th point is to focus on results and your students’ outcomes.
At number 6, authenticity is about being real and is key to connecting and engaging with your students in a meaningful way. Automation and segmentation form the 7th theme, including tracking user participation and finding out what people are actually interested in. Number 8 is an overview of technical platforms and how to choose the best one for your needs. Live engagement is the 9th element, including streaming platforms, webinars, and other ways to interact with current and potential students. And finally, number 10 is certification, whether that’s a simple badge or an industry accepted certificate of completion.
Too many course offerings are built on conversion and getting the sale rather than providing real value to the customer. At LifterLMS our focus is engagement and democratization of education through the digital classroom. We want everyone to have access to truly relevant teaching and learning in the global community and in niche markets by making our LifterLMS platform and codeBOX services accessible and affordable. These top 10 themes from the Online Course Creation Summit with Devin Slavin can further help you deliver that value.
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Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today we have a special guest, Devin Slavin. How are you doing, Devin?
Devin: I’m great. So glad to be here and joining you on this awesome show, Chris. This is … I’m just stoked.
Chris: Thanks. It’s been a long time coming. I first came across Devin when he was doing the Online Course Creation Summit, which I ended up buying and working through the videos. I couldn’t go through it as fast as the summit which was really cool. I checked out some of the things but I was just really busy at the time. I was like, “I’m going to get this, and then I’m going to go through this slowly as I go through it,” and I’m finding so many cool nuggets of wisdom in there, and I just want to thank you for putting that on. But tell us a little bit about the Online Course Creation Summit, what it was, when it happened, what it’s evolving into? Then what we’re going to get into in this episode is 10 of the major themes or takeaways that you got from the summit, but tell us the backstory.
Devin: All right. Well before I do that, I have to say that you would have been a speaker on it had we connected earlier, Chris. I think I told you that as we connected. It was, we connected right before it went live and everything was all set in place, so I have to say that, and give a mention to you that we’ll have to have you on the next one, which I am, not to get ahead of myself, we are planning maybe next year so we’ll have to talk about that. Anyway, the Online Course Creation Summit was essentially me gathering up 40 of the top online entrepreneurs and course creation experts from around the world and they were just sharing all of the things that’s working in 2016 for course creation, whether it’s designing, building, or marketing, launching your online course, and it was a blast.
I feel like, I mean, I’ve been studying this for years and consider myself an expert in course creation, but being able to interview so many of the people that I’ve been interacting with and following over the years was awesome. I myself learned a tonne while I was doing that and connecting up the dots which is what I plan on sharing with you guys here today, and with you, chris, so I’m really excited to do that, but that was just the … We did a series of interviews and presentations and really the vision was to bring everyone together in one place because I think sometimes, not always, but sometimes what happens in the online world is we all have our own platform and we promote our own stuff and I think at least with some of the people that I was talking to at the summit, it was like a way that we could all come together and share best practices together, and all win from it.
That was the vision of the summit. It was really awesome. Got a tonne of great response. So much so that we’re planning on doing it next year, like I said, so yeah, it was awesome.
Chris: That’s awesome and I totally resonate with that message of sometimes it’s easy to be isolated, like I’ve worked with a lot of experts. I’ve launched online course platforms myself and the expert, it can be quite isolated and just busy doing their craft. The people who provide the software solutions are doing their own thing and the consultants and other experts that support the industry of it all are sometimes in their own silos. When I saw you pull that off, I was like, “That is a great idea. I’m so glad somebody took the leadership to do that.” That’s awesome.
Devin: That’s cool, man. I was just going to say, I mean, the interesting thing is I come from, and I think we’ve talked about this, but we have similar backgrounds in that we’re into online courses and creating courses and supporting people in that, but also we have a deep appreciation for nature and that’s where I came into the world of online course creation, and a lot of the spirit of nature and community is to collaborate rather than to compete, so I’m bringing that into my business model and I’m actually building my business off of that principle which is a little bit of an experiment.
I know a lot of businesses have been successful based on their collaboration and the partnerships, but I’m actually launching the Course Creation Network, which is not just featuring my stuff but featuring everyone’s, the top leaders in the field in course creation and resources around that. It’s kind of an experiment because I’m not saying, “Everyone buy my stuff.” I’m going to be saying, “Hey, check out what this guy’s doing and this person, and this woman’s doing.” It’s about the spirit of what’s really working in course creation as a whole, and not about me. That’s what I’m excited about.
Chris: That’s super cool and I admire that heavily, and I think I heard an interview with Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL, where he was talking about the third wave of the internet and there were 3 Ps. 2 of them are policy and partnership. I forget what the third one was, but the idea of partnership to be successful going forward, there’s just so much going on, everything’s so complicated, integrated. It’s going to be the partnerships that pull ahead as opposed to “I’m a solo operator and I’m going to do all this by myself and my silo.” It’s a different world and I totally resonate with that ecological perspective and trying to turn competition into collaboration and all that.
Chris: Let’s see where the experiment goes and look forward to seeing the journey.
Devin: Yeah, man.
Chris: In the spirit of collaboration, what were some of the … You’re in this leadership position, you’re interviewing all these experts, and you’re starting to pick up on big takeaways or common themes or trends, and I know you’ve got some to go over today, let’s jump into it. What’s the number 1?
Devin: Yeah, let me bring up my cheat sheet here. Oh, this is great. Of course, somehow I managed to close the window with all my notes. Just hold on one second, but what’s cool about this, and by the way, the only people who have got this content that we’re going to share right now are the people that happened to tune in to my final keynote of the Online Course Creation Summit so you guys that are tuning into this, you’re basically going to get the top themes of the whole summit, so if you can’t tune into 40 different interviews, you’re going to hit the highlights right now. Let me just … Bare with me for 1 second. My apologies that I somehow closed the window.
Chris: Yeah, no worries. I mean, in that whole spirit of a summit and collaboration, I like to think of it in terms of when you read a book, you’re taking that author’s sometimes 10, 20, 30 years of experience, condensing that down into a smaller chunk and then when you do something like a summit, you’re just exponentially doing that. Like, you’re taking all these different people who have spent decades refining their craft, condensing their information down into the best things and then you get to, as the organizer and everything, you’re then curating and collaborating to bring out the best of the best. It’s just such a powerful format.
Devin: Yeah, totally, and it’s really interesting. Something I didn’t expect with it, and I hope this isn’t too much information for you guys who are out there to create courses, but the cool thing is that I was interviewing people and they didn’t know what the other person was saying by the time it went live, so I’m sitting here going, “This person’s saying this, and this person’s saying that. They don’t know what everyone’s saying,” so it’s just like, these themes that I’m going to share with you, it was really cool, because this is what everyone’s saying without knowing what the others are saying, so anyway. I know it’s 10, 10’s almost too much to remember, so I hope you guys can remember.
I’ve heard that about 4 things is the most that we can remember, but I’m going to just go through them and we can discuss them individually, I think, but I’m thinking as I rolled them out originally for this presentation, I kept people on their seats with what is going to be the next one, but I’m going to touch on every one of them really quick and then we can decide which ones we want to discuss. In terms of the top 10 themes for the Online Course Creation Summit this year, 2016, number 1 theme was actually engagement. Engagement in terms of how do we create courses where people actually purchase them, engage with them, get their results, complete them, share them with the world, because the background on that is that sometimes a lot of people buy courses and they actually don’t even open them which is crazy. Like, purchasing a course and then it doesn’t even get used.
I’ve never done that personally, but I’m sure I understand people get busy. As a course creator, that ends up being an issue because all of a sudden you’re selling your course and nobody’s getting results from it because they’re not actually using it. Anyway, I’m getting into the details but number 1 is engagement. Number 2, pre-selling your course before actually creating the course. Actually pilot it, pre-sell it before you invest the time and energy, so that you know people are going to buy it before you invest all of the resources. User experience, so the whole experience of creating the course is number 3, of taking the course, and how that flows, and is it related to how people naturally learn.
Number 4 was community, and really how to take your community to the next level and then that increases engagement. I’m going to share number 5, because all of a sudden I’m saying, something’s telling me that I shouldn’t share them all at once right now to keep you guys on your toes, so number 5 was having the results based focus. We’re really creating courses that are focused on the outcomes for our students over everything else, like, what is somebody coming to this course to get and how do we design a course to maximize the impact on our participant’s lives? Okay, that was just 5. I feel like I probably shouldn’t have introduced all 5 like that, because how are we going to discuss this, Chris? I’ll just stop there and let you take it from here.
Chris: Yeah. Well, I would 100% resonate with the engagement one. That was one of the things we did at LifterLMS, is we wanted to focus on engagement as a top priority and as a differentiator in the marketplace, and I think I heard the statistic in one of our Online Course Creation Summit presentations that there was a, I don’t know if it was from Udemy or it was an industry standard, that there was a 10% completion rate and we’ve had content on this podcast, LMS Cast, about the dirty little secret of membership sites, which is that sometimes there’s all this focus on getting the sale and the conversion and not enough focus on actually delivering and keeping people engaged on the other side of after they pay. It’s kind of like the dirty little secret of the industry, and that’s one angle we want to take. What are some common actionable ways that people can increase engagement that you saw?
Devin: Oh, wow. Okay.
Chris: There’s a lot.
Devin: There’s a lot. There’s a long checklist actually that I have and maybe we could include the checklist. I wasn’t planning on it before we started this interview but I can include my checklist of engagement tips and by the way, it’s not like some offering that I give out or anything. This is just my personal checklist that when I talk to people like you, I’m like, “Oh, that’s a good tip.” I just write it down. Maybe we’ll be able to include that, but yes, some of the things … Okay, so this really gets back to the whole essence of creating a course and before you even start creating a course, how it relates to engagement is really getting in the world of the person that you’re hear to serve. As a course creator, whatever I’m putting out there, whatever I’m doing, it’s not about me. It’s about the person that I am serving, the person that’s going to purchase the course, the person that’s going to get results in their life.
I think the number 1 thing in terms of engagement is to first of all really get that and get in the world of your participant rather than having it be about yourself, which is actually a tricky thing to do. I think as humans, we’re all figuring out how to do that and be evolved and be beyond our own world, but in terms of engagement, just getting in the … The foundation is getting in the shoes of a participant and designing things for them. For instance, if I’m purchasing something, I love to, whether the course is complete or not at the time of purchase, which is a whole topic in itself, if I purchase something and then I get access to it, I love some sort of interaction where I can go in and get started with my course, like a welcome or introduction model, something that I can immediately take action.
That’s one thing that increases engagement and some people might be saying, “Well, of course I was going to do that,” but to jump ahead with pre-selling, a lot of people are actually having success in creating courses by releasing 1 module at a time, and creating it along with their first participants. The point is just to think like your participant, have something there for them so they can get started, get dreaming, as an introductory module, setting goals and creating that future for themselves which is why they purchased your course. That’s what I would say is one of the number 1 things right there. Just having something there when people start.
Chris: That’s huge. I mean, at LifterLMS, we say we’re on a mission to democratize education in a digital classroom. That’s not just a fluffy thing. The educational system is broken, and I mean it’s not like completely broken but there’s so much room for improvement and the way people work and the way people get jobs. What people do with education, either general or specialized is changing so rapidly and all these niche opportunities are being exposed because the internet, that there’s never been a better time to start tweaking and fixing that problem. I’m not saying that traditional schools should not exist or whatever, but there’s just so much opportunity to blend in some kind of more engaging global access online stuff, so it’s really cool to see what entrepreneurs out there are building and who are working on that engagement issue.
Devin: Yeah, totally. I have a feeling you and I could have a whole episode on that because it’s actually something that I’m really passionate about. I’m so grateful for all of my teachers throughout my life, but I really felt like as a kid growing up that there was so much more to learn and learning can be different versus learning about things that I didn’t care about and seemed irrelevant to my life as I was developing. Anyway.
Chris: This is the beginning of the series, so we’ll do some more, but yeah, that’s definitely a big issue and there’s never been a better time to work on that. Tell me more about pre-selling. We’re big believers in that, we’re big believers in validating your idea, validating your market, getting your language right, like you mentioned, like focusing on a result is another one where maybe you don’t want to teach somebody web development. Maybe you want to teach them how to get their first, to make 60 grand a year as a web developer as a solo freelancer. That’s a more specific than “how to be a web developer,” or “php 101,” or WordPress, whatever. Sometimes we become better communicators by pre-selling and then co-creating with that first pilot group or whatever, but give us some more pre-selling wisdom. Like, what are people doing? What’s working?
Devin: Yeah. This pre-selling topic is actually a really an intense one and it’s a deep one because on the positive side of it is that we’re actually testing out, we’re coming up with all our ideas and before we actually create it, we’re testing it, we’re seeing what people, what our target audience really wants, what’s the language they’re speaking like you mentioned, what are the key topics that they want to learn, what are their main stresses and struggles, and what are their goals? All of these things are doing that research and we’re piloting things. It essentially means, the way that I look at it, pre-selling is “Look, I’m going to do all the work that I need to do to put this course out there, but I’m not going to create it first because I want to make sure that I’m on target and that there’s people willing to buy it.”
It’s really smart as an entrepreneur, in the sense of a minimum viable product, like, let’s develop the essentials to get it going and then once we know there’s a demand, let’s invest all of our resources into it. On a theoretical level, it actually makes sense for everyone. It’s a win for everyone. The negative side of it is that as a course creator, be totally transparent. As a course creator, it can be difficult to do all of your marketing and putting everything out there without the course being there because you have to wear 2 hats. You have to wear the marketer’s hat at the same time as you’re wearing the course creator, content develop hat which is way easier for me to do one at a time.
Like, I love both of those things, but I start to feel a little bit spread thin when I’m going out there to work on ways to promote my courses versus when I’m getting into the nitty gritty of just developing the content for my students. I think that’s the challenge with it, is to actually be able to know what you’re going to put together, have clarity around what you’re pre-selling, but then actually sell it ahead of time, and deliver on your promises week by week, or month by month, whatever you promise. Yeah, that’s just a little snapshot of the pre-selling pros and constantly from me. I know you asked about how to do that, so I can probably talk about some of those ways, too, but I’ll pause just in case you have any comments or thoughts on that as well.
Chris: Yeah, I just totally agree with that. You’ve got to wear multiple hats and there’s a concept called “resource boxing” which is easier said than done, but if you’re going to be a marketer on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and a content creator on Tuesday, Thursday, or chunk up your days, it is very different mindset to be in the selling/marketing mode and be in the teacher mode. I think it’s important to acknowledge that and help people realize that it’s okay when you start feeling flustered, switching between those hats, because it’s not necessarily a natural transition. It’s something you have to really focus on. Then, I just wanted to add, the pre-selling concept, the first step in that, the action item is to write the sales page, or write that course description because a lot of experts have the curse of knowledge.
They’re so deep in their material and their wisdom, that just the act of writing it out, putting the bullet points about the benefits and the features, and just describing exactly what you get is so powerful that it makes all the work of creating all that stuff later much easier, because you’ve already laid out the train tracks, or at least you’re, like you said, your MVP, your minimum viable product of what you think it’s going to be. Maybe it’s going to evolve as you go, but at least you have a starting point and a trajectory.
Devin: Yeah, totally. I love that you pointed that out because I used to teach my Course Creators Bootcamp that it was the kind of brainstorming session, really getting clear about what you are ready to, what you’re wanting to teach, and then go the next step was actually the sales page and that was because that’s how I create things. It’s like, when I actually have to clarify what I’m putting out there to the world, which is essentially what a sales page is, get in the world of the participant and where they’re at, and then to actually create a compelling story about the problems they face and then to deliver a solution and why the course is a solution and what it includes, and all these things.
When I would come to creating a sales page, it would re-inform what I need to include in my course, so I actually started that beforehand, but as it goes, the funny thing is I found that it’s actually really hard to teach that process, so I do put curriculum design and planning out the curriculum before the sales page process, but I do point out that they influence each other. It’s kind of like if I could teach 2 things at the same time, I would do both at the same exact time knowing that you inform each other, but at this point, I do go to curriculum design and then turning that into the sales page.
One other thing, and I know this is a little bit of a side note, but the other reason that I do that is I found that it’s easier to put down a concept like the main result or the outcome, and then to make it something that’s exciting and enticing afterwards, like there’s part of my brain that’s like, “Teach them how to create a course,” and then this other part that comes in as a secondary layer of making it like really sexy and fun, or engaging or getting into the emotion of it. I find that easier to do secondary. Anyway, that’s …
Chris: That’s awesome.
Devin: … Me giving a bit of my process there.
Chris: Yeah, and I just want to add to that, some very similar framework that we teach where you have the expert, or the body of knowledge, then you have the marketing or the business side of it all, and then you have instructional design, like you’re talking about curriculum design. There’s this 3 hats and you’re probably good at 1 or 2 of those, and weak in 1, and I think that’s a good opportunity to build a team or just to slow down and develop, and just give yourself permission to start becoming a marketer, or start becoming a better curriculum designer, but anyway.
Devin: Yeah. I like identifying all 3 of those. It’s very key to the whole process. You have to do all of them as a course creator, unless like you said, have a team that’s doing it for you.
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. If you’re not an expert, let’s say you’re just an awesome marketer and sales professional, you can become a publisher of courses. You can go find experts and let them do what they do. There’s so many different ways to approach it, but it’s important to see all the roles.
Chris: You want to shift to the other 5, or?
Devin: Yeah. Let’s do that. I think that would only be fair just in case … Okay. We mentioned the first 5 here and then the last 5, and this is not necessarily in a particular order. I attempted to put that in an order but it’s not like this was the number 1, number 2, exactly. Okay, so another key topic, number 6 is authenticity and that’s my language really, but it’s about that marketing and engagement these days is about being real and if we try to be perfect and all that stuff, people feel it when we’re not being totally authentic. Authenticity and being ourselves and shining in our actual gifts, and even being transparent about what’s working, what’s not working goes a long way. That’s number 6.
Number 7 was automation and probably more importantly, segmentation. It’s like the piece of actually tracking user participation and what’s working, what’s not working for them, and actually if it’s before they’ve purchased the course, finding out what people are really interested in and then targeting them with only specific things. If it’s after they’ve purchased a course and they’re engaging, using the technology we have to really target them and what’s next in their journey. Number 8 is, oh this is funny because it’s the first time I’ve looked at it since the keynote, but tech platforms, so let me actually look at my notes.
Okay. You know, finding … Choosing a tech platform, there’s many options, but finding the one that actually plays best with the things that you already have going on in your business and that matches the way you think, it matches the things that you want to do in your course, and probably most importantly, matches the things that are the needs of your participants and help them get the results because it all comes back to that. We have 2 more. Number 9, live engagement. All of these live stream platforms, webinar platforms, but actually finding ways to engage live with your potential participants before they join the course or even with your current participants after they have been engaging in your course, but whether you have a prerecorded course or not, finding live ways to interact, at least at some level.
The last theme of the top 10 for the Online Course Creation Summit was certification. Having a way to certify people in what you’re doing so that they can go out and either teach what you’re teaching them or just have a badge or some kind of certification to say, “Look, I completed this. I have an education in this, and I’m ready to serve you with this certification.” There we go, top 10.
Chris: That’s awesome. All right. Nice job. We could definitely go for hours on all of that. I want to pick out a few things. Just in my experience for all you online course creators out there, some of the platforms, one of the things that I see that separates good ones from really exceptional ones is when you do have that certification element, and it’s like a desirable certificate or maybe it’s not even that desirable, but it’s mandatory, like somebody has to get continuing education requirements fulfilled for their profession or whatever, from a business perspective, I see some of those and there’s just a lot of opportunity in that industry going really well, and I think people are just expanding, in terms of being more open to having online versions of different types of certification. That’s a big one. What else are you seeing around certification?
Devin: Yeah, well, okay. This is interesting. I know that LifterLMS has a certificate piece in it which I love, that’s so cool, and I think I learned this from the guys at Digital Marketer that one of the things that, and I don’t want to scare people away from creating courses because it’s such an incredible opportunity that we have right now as experts, or as people with something to share with the world, but the only thing that’s really stopping people from taking your course and then taking that content and creating their own course, I think it’s a very low percentage of people that will do that, but one of the things that certifications do is they stop people from doing that because if you have a certification that’s really powerful and you have a brand that you’re developing and it’s recognized, the certification from your brand, somebody else can’t go out and create a course and then have their certification be better than yours, or they probably, first of all, won’t create a certification, but it’s this thing that distinguishes everyone.
In terms of Digital Marketer, people can take their courses and then go create a course based on what they learned, but they’ll never have Digital Marketer’s certification program to be certified in whatever that subject is my Digital Marketer, so it’s a way to stay ahead of the curve and really have your content be recognized in associated with your brand and as a leader in industry. I think that’s the main opportunity but that’s more of the negative side of it. I think the positive side of it is when people are certified in your training or your course, then they display that on their website, they are going out there and they’re talking about, they’re proud of it, and essentially that ends up being a referral back to your training and your course, for people who respect them and want to do the same thing that they did. I think that’s the easy win and the positive aspect of having a certificate included with a course.
Chris: That’s awesome. Let’s talk about segmentation a little bit. This is a huge topic. I could just rattle off, like I see certain niches in the online course space that just have a lot of activity. There’s things like health and fitness, there’s so many niches within that. Everything from yoga to detox, lifestyle, cooking, all kinds of stuff. There’s a lot of business/internet marketing stuff out there. There’s real estate is a strong segment, and real estate education. There’s people who have SaaS products who use courses for customer onboarding. There’s people using internal training for courses. That’s the kind of segmentation that I’m used to, just from a software product, and I need to communicate differently to these different segments, but tell me more about what you find with segmentation through the summit and through the experts, as it relates to the online course entrepreneur.
Devin: Yeah absolutely. The segmentation, this is an interesting one and the preface that I’d like to share with it is that if you are somebody who’s getting started in course creation, getting started in this process, just consider the topic of segmentation but don’t feel like it’s something that you have to focus on and get overwhelmed with because it’s … I mean, there are some basic ways that you can apply it but it’s more, I would say it’s more of an advanced or intermediate tactic or way of relating to your audience or potential network that you’re reaching out to. That’s the number 1 thing I want to say right there, is if you’re overwhelmed by what we’re talking about, then don’t worry about it. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
Segmentation is really about in essence, I would say tracking the likes and the interests or actually surveying the likes and the interests of your audience, whether they’re people that haven’t purchased your course but they’re on your list or in your network, or have purchased the course, and may want to continue to work with you, and so segmentation with the features that we have of a lot of platforms and email automation services, things like that, we can actually track the data around that, or track data, even sites we’re visiting, things like that with Google and Facebook pixels, but anyway, to bring it all back in, what segmentation is really about is noticing patterns of what any given user is interested in, what excites them based on their actions and then giving them content and offers that are related to their biggest interests.
A really simple way of implementing that, and it’s going to depend on the email providers options that they include, it’s usually at the higher level platforms that include this, but just tracking what are people clicking on? What links are people clicking on? If they are in a certain category, a link, then tag them. For instance, I’m going to be promoting something on email list building and so people that click this link and open this email related to email list building, they will get a tag that says that they’re interested in list building. That’s one way to do it. Another way to do it that I think is easier for people just getting started is to include a survey or a questionnaire to their email list and for people to select which category best fits them, and based on that, whatever category they choose, then you’re sending them offers and resources related to that, to the stage that they’re at.
It’s sort of easier said than done because if you think about it, let’s say you have 4 categories of your email list, then all of a sudden, now if I’m sending an email, I either have to make 4 different versions of that, or I’m only sending emails to that certain category.
Chris: Take it slowly if you’re just starting out. There’s tools out there, especially in the email marketing space, like ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft, MailChimp. There’s different tools out there to help you segment.
Chris: I know we’re running short on time and I just want to get into a couple more things before we go.
Chris: One of the things that’s really fascinating to me and I was really excited to see this on your list, is live streaming. There’s a couple of points on that I just want to note. One of them is that I’m one of the owners of a company called “Codebox” where we do client services and build custom learning management systems, allow them on top of LifterLMS and extend the functionality and bring in all kinds of stuff. One of the things that we’ve been getting a lot of interest in lately is custom live streaming solutions. Now for the beginner, and we’ve been building some of these, but for the beginner, you want to use something like Facebook Live or YouTube Live. There’s some easy to use tools, or even this tool that we’re recording this podcast with, which is called “Zoom” is a great way. You can do webinars and things like that.
Live streaming is an important path of the future, and if you look across the industry at platforms like Udemy where there’s downward pressure on pricing, the passive video course concept is pricing pressure down, it’s becoming commoditized, the market’s getting saturated, but what’s not getting saturated is you, and I want to tie it into your authenticity point, and your time. You can charge a heck of a lot more for a course if you have a live component, and you can do it intelligently so it doesn’t eat your lunch for time. For example, once a week or once a month you could have group office hours where you know your only resource boxing an hour to do a presentation or to have you available live. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on call 24/7.
I’m just really fascinated with the concept of live streaming. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re trying to make your online course into a viable business. It’s a great way to increase the price and just add more value to the course, but what else are you seeing related to live streaming, Devin?
Devin: Yeah. I love what you just shared about that, because I totally agree and I think a lot of people, we come into online course creation because it allows us to scale ourselves. We get an opportunity to stop trading our one on one time or one to small group time for getting paid by an hour. It’s like people can come learn and get results and they can do it on their own time, and I don’t have to necessarily even be there for it if they were working with me. That’s the cool part about it, but like you said, yes, it becomes a commodity. The prices lower for automated aspects so how can we bring a live component in and still be able to live the lifestyle that we want to live and do the things we want to do?
Just like you said, I highly recommend thinking through what’s realistic for you. When I say you, someone as a course creator. What is the time commitment that you feel like you could offer to your course that would allow you to have the flexibility, but also to contribute? I think a lot of people, when I’m running a bootcamp where it’s like a start to finish, it starts this date and ends this date, it’s an online course but start to finish, I like to do that once a week, a once a week interaction live. But, if it’s an ongoing, evergreen offer where there’s no real start to finish for everyone, then I generally like to do it once a month. You could do once every 2 weeks. I just find that once a week I start to feel overwhelmed, and it’s every week, I’m on.
That’s my recommendation in terms of live interaction for people who are taking your courses. For marketing courses with live platforms, it’s something that’s a learning process for me, but I can say on the user end, and this is more of a question. This is more of a question than an answer to marketing your courses with live streams, but my question is, how will you catch and truly engage your people with your live stream? I ask that question because this is my experience. I’m not sure what your experience is, Chris, but I see a lot of live streams happening but I’m like, “Oh, this is cool. It got my attention,” but I don’t stick to them because they’re usually someone just talking and they’re not really giving me a presentation of what I want to hear. That’s like the negative side of it.
I totally agree that live streaming is a key component, but my question is like if someone’s doing a live stream, how would they actually connect and keep not only stop the person from scrolling, but actually to engage and stay on the live stream?
Chris: That’s a really good question. I just want to add, that’s why the company Blab, the live streaming company, decided to shutdown or just transition, pivot their product, because they found that people were just hanging out. They weren’t really using it to really broadcast. It was more of a social thing.
Devin: Oh, interesting.
Chris: Yeah, it’s just an interesting time. Like, figuring out how to use live stream intelligently, both on the marketing and the frontend or the educational experience on the back end is definitely a big opportunity.
Devin: For sure.
Chris: Well, Devin, tell us what you’re up to? What’s next for you? What projects are you working on and what we can expect from you in the future and where can people find out more and connect with you further?
Devin: Absolutely. Yeah, thanks for asking, Chris. Probably the biggest new project that I’m currently working on is the Course Creation Network, which is essentially an online hub for anyone who is interested in creating online courses and interacting in that world. Like I said at the beginning, what sets it apart from a lot of other projects that I see is that it’s not about me promoting my courses solely. It’s what’s really working in the online space and featuring the best of the best. Like yourself, Chris, we’d love to feature you on that, so that’s what we’re working on, is the Course Creation Network, and for anyone who is excited about creating their online course, I also lead the Course Creators Bootcamp which you can check out at CourseCreatorsBootcamp.com, and we walk through the whole process, start to finish, of creating, building, and launching your own online course. Those are the 2 things that I’d love to share with you guys here.
Chris: That’s fantastic. Well, we’re honored to have you on the show, Devin, and we’ll definitely have to do this again …
Chris: … So thank you for coming by and joining us on this episode of LMScast.
Devin: Such a pleasure, Chris. I love what you’re doing here, and look forward to our next interaction, next time we get to hang out and talk about these cool things.