In this LMScast Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett continue their overview of the new Ultimate Course Creation Framework series with Step 2 – The Magical Education Intersection.
As you plan your online course content there are certain areas of your expertise that will be more valuable than others to your prospective students. The Magical Education Intersection is the point where what you want to teach and what your students want to learn come together. You’ll find that intersection through market research, which is a simpler process than you might think.
Market research prevents you from investing time, effort, and resources into a course offering that you believe is a great idea, when in reality there may be no demand or interest from other people. Fortunately you already have several research tools you can use to see what’s trending in your subject area.
Start by reading discussions in your subject area on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Go to collective sites like AllTop.com, or try a content discovery tool like BuzzSumo to see what people are talking about most. Look for trending books and videos at Amazon.com and YouTube. Read the comments to see what people like and what they wish was being addressed, and also check how many people are viewing that media.
Use the Rapid Enrollment list you compiled in Step 1 to gather feedback from people you already know are interested in your courses. Put together surveys and conduct interviews on Skype or in person to hear what they’re looking for and what they hope to gain through their online study. Determine whether they are having trouble learning concepts, or if step-by-step training in applying concepts they already understand is what they need.
This is the same process we used for creating our LifterLMS course development platform plugin for WordPress. We built upon our resources, experience, and passion, then researched demand in the eLearning industry, reevaluated our assumptions, and created a responsive, functional tool that a lot of people need and want.
Step 2 – The Magical Education Intersection is where you’ll learn how to discover your own blue ocean strategy scenario. Find an underserved demand for your knowledge base, and you will own that niche. Start at the top layer of your subject and drill downward until you find the place you are needed most, then fill that gap.
The Ultimate Course Creation Framework mini-course will run in sync with upcoming LMScast episodes. Get started now: Sign up at CourseClinic.com, or text the word “courseclinic” to 33444, and we’ll send you Step 1 – Rapid Enrollment. You can also try a demo of LifterLMS to see how our course development platform helps you build exceptional online courses.
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And if you’re an already successful expert, teacher or entrepreneur looking to grow, check out the LifterLMS team’s signature service called Boost. It’s a complete done for you set up service where your learning platform goes live in just 5 days.
Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Joshua Millage, and I’m joined today with Christopher Badgett. And today we’re talking about step two in our Ultimate Course Creation Framework series, which is the Magical Education Intersection, and that is a really fun way of saying market research, but the Magical Education Intersection is the intersection point between what you can teach and what your students want to learn. It’s right in the middle of there, so out of all of the things that you know around basket weaving, what are the things that your students would pay you to learn? I think all of us have an area of expertise, but out of that there’s certain things that we know that are more valuable than others, and that’s where the Magical Education Intersection is. We need to find that so we focus on those things when we go to build our course. That’s the high level about what we’re talking about today, and Chris do you have anything to add around this?
Chris: Yeah, I would just say this is such an important piece and we’ve used this before. I’m going to take slightly out of online education, but with software, with our WordPress LMS plug-in, Lifter LMS, we pulled our resources together, our experience, our skills, our talents, what we were passionate about, and we had a market of people who are interested in web applications, WordPress development, developers wanted to develop further, and membership sites people, e-commerce, all these things. We combined all that. We found this magical intersection for Lifter LMS, and that, if we hadn’t of taken the time to do the research of what’s the demand, what’s the industry looking for, where is the opportunity, what assumptions are we making, what skills and passions do we have as a team, Lifter LMS would have never been created or it would have been created in the wrong way or been slightly off.
Joshua: Absolutely, yeah. A lot of people don’t go out into the world and actually look at market trends, so they build a company where there’s no market at all, and they, “It’s such a good idea though. I thought everyone would want it.” It’s like, it’s not that easy man. You can fight economics, but they’re like gravity. They’re always going to win. Supply and demand, it’s just part of this world that we live in. I want to talk a little bit about how to find this magical intersection point. I talk about two in the Ultimate Course Creation Framework, and quick caveat, if you haven’t enrolled in that, you can go enroll in that free, it’s a five part e-mail mini-course at LifterLMS.com/courseclinic, or you can just text us the world CourseClinic, one word, to 334444 and we’ll send you lesson one on rapid enrollment.
But we’re in step two today, just talking about at a high level, and again it starts with market research. I think of it like a funnel. We want to start at the top looking at market trends. What is market trends? Well, you can look at market trends by literally looking at things that are trending and seeing if there’s anything that kind of matches what you want to teach, so places you can do that are AllTop.com, you can go and look at trending things on Twitter or trending hashtags, you can do the same in Facebook. You can use the tool called Buzz Sumo to see what articles, you can type in blogs that are in your space and see what articles are being shared the most. You can kind of pick up what are people interested in and where’s the command at there.
You can do a bunch of things. You can go through and start to look at Reddit. Look at the top Reddits and various sub-reddits that are relevant to you. There’s a lot you can do, but I think you start there. That’s super macro and you sit in that place for a while and start to gather some hypotheses around what people might want, and then as you move down and down and down, there’s more interaction to have with people. Again, this step really builds on the previous step in the rapid enrollment process where we have a group of a hundred people that we’ve curated and we’ve brought together who are potentially interested in what we have to teach or what our subject matter expertise is.
The two things that I talk about in the course, I’m not going to really dive in them today, because you can go get that information in the Ultimate Course Creation Framework is informational interviews and surveys. As you move down the funnel, surveys kind of sit in the middle and there’s a lot of great ways to do surveys. There’s surveys that are more quantitative versus qualitative. I think using both of the, so using a point system to rank certain categories of certain things you can teach is equally important as getting qualitative, like this is what I struggle with when it comes to learning about sled dogs. You want to have both, and then the crème de la crème after you have all of that is really getting in front of people, setting up Skype conversations, and doing informational interviews with people to really find where their pain lies in the course that you could create for them. What is it? If I’m teaching internet marketing or if I’m teaching, let’s just say more specifically, a Facebook ad. What is it about Facebook ads that people can’t understand?
I might find that actually they conceptually understand Facebook ads, it has nothing to do with Facebook ads persay; what they really struggle with is being productive when creating Facebook ads. I know all of that, but I would have taught someone how to build a Facebook ad and everyone I’m talking to goes, “Well, I already get that and all that information’s out there, but I don’t know how to be productive. I don’t know how to set up 1,000 ads in an afternoon using various tools like Ad Espresso or the Power Editor, so teach me how to do that.” Oh, okay, well I just saved a bunch of time and pain developing a course.
Chris: A ton of time.
Joshua: Yeah. Developing a course that people were like, “Eh,” when I could just make a different course on productivity around Facebook ads and completely crush it, and I’ve actually found a new market in the market of internet marketing Facebook ads, now we have Facebook ad productivity. Okay, this is interesting to me, because this is what they call blue ocean. There might not be a lot of players there, which lends a lot of opportunities for joint ventures and on and on and on and on. Again, you want to start at the top looking at the market as a whole, and the you want to move down, down, down, down, down until you’re having conversations with people. I think that again this is a step that’s really built on the first step.
You’ve got to have people to talk to at some point, so it’s really important to get that interest list together, and again this is also a step that people want to avoid because it involves getting in front of other people and a lot of people just want to hide behind their computers and stick to this belief that they can just put things out there and life will change. In reality, that’s just not how it works. That’s a little bit of the 30,000 foot level on what’s going on here.
Chris: Cool. I’m just going to throw out a couple of other trend spotting tips. One great place to look is on Amazon, and you can look at books that are trending. You can read the comments. It’s not the same as talking to somebody in person, but if you find, let’s say you’re in the healthy living vegan niche, if you find a vegan cookbook that’s really popular and read those comments, there’s a depth of market research knowledge in there.
Joshua: It’s huge.
Chris: Another great place to look is Youtube, what’s trending and then look at the conversations like, “Woah, this video has seven million views since yesterday and like 7,000 comments. This is in my niche. Why is this such a hot topic?” There’s just so many tools that you can use to help effectively, especially at the top of the funnel find out what’s trending, what am I excited about, and what are people saying out there?
Joshua: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that wraps it up for today’s episode, so go do your market research and find that magical education intersection, and again if you haven’t already joined us in the Ultimate Course Creation Framework, it’s a free five part course. Just head over to LifterLMS.com/courseclinic, or just text us the word Courseclinic, one word, to 33444 and we’ll get you enrolled. All right, we’ll talk to you next with another episode in this Ultimate Course Creation Framework series. Talk to you then.