Ultimate Course Creation Framework Series: Step 4 – How to Teach Online

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Our LMScast today with Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett continues the Ultimate Course Creation Framework series with Step 4 – How to Teach Online. You may be an outstanding instructor in the classroom, but online teaching is different. In this step you’ll learn how to bring your best instructional skills into your online courses.

In previous Steps you made a Rapid Enrollment list of interested students, found the Magical Education Intersection between what you want to teach and what students want to learn, and pre-sold a Collaborative Course to a select few students to improve your course before finalizing it.

Step 4 will show you what online teaching is like and how to leverage your existing skills in the online environment. You’ll be working with students from a variety of cultures and age groups. Attention span is short, and there are many distractions, so you need dynamic content and an upbeat presentation style to keep them engaged.

It’s crucial to know what your target audience needs and how they learn. Visual learners require stimulating videos and imagery, while kinesthetics need activities like games and mobility to stay interested. Elearning can be intense, and your students will need to take breaks. Build stopping points into your course structure so they can process what they’ve learned. They’ll come back refreshed and ready to continue.

Include lots of options for different learning styles in your course design. Audio, video, text, and PDF documents are all necessary. Most students are using mobile devices, so make sure they can access course elements wherever they are, on any device.

There are 4 basic questions your course content needs to address: Why, What, How, and What If. Why is this course important or necessary? What is your theory and what makes it work? How can they do this, step by step? And what if they do this part right, or don’t do it at all?

Your task is to create a learning experience your students will keep coming back for. Your first tool is this mini-course itself, which already puts you miles ahead of other online instructors. An organizational tool like WorkFlowy helps you categorize and simplify the elements of your course design. And a development platform like LifterLMS makes course creation easier, faster, and more effective.

Build an engaging relationship with your students through energy, personality, and a little entertainment value. Step 4 – How to Teach Online will show you how. Sign up for the Ultimate Course Creation Framework series 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 works for you.

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

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.

Episode Transcript

Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to another episode of LMScast. This is Part 4 in our Ultimate Course Creation Framework series. Again, this series runs parallel to the email mini-course that we’ve created called the Ultimate Course Creation Framework.

If you haven’t already joined us, please, you can head over to lifterlms.com/courseclinic or you can text us the word, “courseclinic” to 33444, and you’ll get you enrolled that way. It’s really important for you to join that course, because if you don’t a lot of what we talked about isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense. The nitty-gritty can be found there and we’re going to be talking about it, everything in a high level.

Today, again, Part 4, just to recap, we’ve gone through the rapid enrollment process which is a series of things you needed to do to get a student interest list of a hundred people and more together. Then the second step, which plays on the first one, is finding the magical education intersection. That’s the intersection point between the knowledge that you have and what your students want to learn. It’s all about market research, how to find that sweet spot. The third step is our collaborative course process. We actually pre-sell your course to a specific group of very niche focus group of people so that you can validate whether or not people want to pay for your knowledge.

Today, we’re actually going to take a step back, take a breath and talk about just teaching, because I think, before we get into the designing the digital classroom, which is tomorrow’s or next lesson, I should say, we need to talk about how to teach online. It’s totally different than teaching in person. Just because you can teach in person doesn’t mean you’re going to be a great online teacher. You want to make sure that you’re thinking about the online environment.

Chris, let me just give you the floor here. You’ve taught a lot online. I’ve seen you actually develop as a teacher from way back in the day when you’re doing Timber Pimps, which is like a wood working course that you did. I’ve seen you do gardening courses. I’ve seen you do eLearning courses, your WordPress course. You’ve done everything. You have lots and lots of experience here. What are the things that you think about when you go to teach online?

Chris: That’s a great question. It’s totally different than being in person. Although it feels like you could just fill me and we’ll be fine, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s kind of like that, “with great power comes great responsibility,” thing. You can leverage the skill and the enormous nature of the internet and the global reach, but you’re going to have to do things a little bit differently.
There’s going to be shorter attention spans. You might be reaching across cultures in ways you’ve never done before. You might be touching different generations. You’ll learn differently like if I’m teaching WordPress stuff to somebody who’s like 20 versus somebody who’s like 65, I need to take a totally different approach.
I think the number one thing you have to do is, in general, get familiar with your target audience. Who are they? It’s fine if they’re spread across the large age range but within that target audience, you have to … Some of those people are going to learn differently. There’s the people who learn visually. They’re going to want lots of videos, diagrams, infographics, charts, things like that.
There’s the kinesthetic people who need to feel in their body. It depends on what your content is but people who like to learn and the body need to be moving and experimenting and learning things to exercise, whether that’s muscular or treat it like assignments … Go ahead.
Joshua: No, I’m just laughing because I’m that way and I’m just thinking about your daughter, Zoey and Hazel and their different learning. I think kids are great to learn about the learning stuff because it is so evident. I’m just thinking like you’ve got one child who’s very much in the head and one who’s very in the body. When you teach them, you have to be into this, right?
Chris: Right. It’s the same thing. Anybody who’s a parent with one on one kid, it’s just amazing how different they can be. It means learners are just like that.
Joshua: I mean, for kinesthetic, my mom put on a thread mill. No joke. She was like, here’s your book, go put it on three miles an hour and just walk while you’re reading. Believe it or not, that helped me all sorts of ADD medication and whatnot.
When you go online, a simple way of applying that principle and it’s not perfect but just having this break points in your course where you tell people to go take a break, because the kinesthetic learner is not going to consciously go, “Oh, I need to take a break.” They’re going to be like, “This course sucks.” That’s actually how they see it. It’s like, “I’m not learning. This course sucks.”
In reality, they just need a break. If you take the responsibility to tell them, when a break should happen, whether it’s a natural break in your lessons, you’re going to be leaps and bounds ahead with the kinesthetic people. Sorry, digressing a little bit but it’s such an important point to make.
Chris: Yeah. It may feel like a lot of work but when you’re creating lesson content, if you have the option, do it in all possible ways. Text, video, audio, downloads, something somebody can put on their phone and listen to while they’re exercising or watching while they’re exercising. Just open it up.
I think the biggest blind spot that people have is to assume that the way they learn is the way other people learn. I’m a pretty visual guy. I’m always going to go to the video but that’s just a portion of the learning style there.
Joshua: I think it’s funny because our co-founder, Thomas, hates video. He’s going to look for the pdf that he can download or the audio that he could probably play on double speed because he just doesn’t have any interest to sit in here and watch us.
Chris: Videos are slow.
Joshua: Right.
Chris: Yeah, that’s what some people would say.
Joshua: You got to take all these into account. That’s really good. Keep going, I’m sorry. I’m just getting excited because I love to teach.
Chris: Some other things related to the content you’re putting out but also what motivates the person and there’s four things you can look when creating a lesson content. It’s the questions you need to answer. The why, what, how, and what if.
Why learner needs to … This is for motivation but also to actually learn the content. A why learner needs to know why is this lesson important. Why if I learn this method will I be better off? Tell me the big picture. The what person is like, “What is this theory? Just tell me about it. Explain it. I need to see how it all works, not just why it’s important.”
The how person is like, “Forget the why and the what, just give me the action steps. Give me step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I just wanna do it. Teach me how to do this thing. I don’t need the philosophy behind it.” Then, the what if person is very interesting because they’re like, “Why is this matter? What if I don’t do this? What if I do this well? What if I do this wrong?” They’re like scenario people that are in all those kind of logic.
The best teachers are able to teach in a way that all four of those are answered through all learning styles: audio, visual, kinesthetics. If you want a quick tour in how to make a powerful lesson, there you go, and you need to be very entertaining on screen. This is the internet, shorter attention span. You got to build that relationship.
Joshua: Yeah, yeah. You’re doing it right now. You’re bigger with your energy. It might feel a bit weird but it comes across so much better than if you just kind of like, “And today, we’re going to be talking about mathematics.”
Chris: Move your mouse over here and click this button.
Joshua: Yeah, exactly. You got to be fun and have fun. I think we’ve actually learned that … I’ve learned more about teaching through this podcast than I have anything else because every single week, I got to step up to the plate and teach. I’ve seen myself like, I look back in some LMScast episodes. I’m like, “I really blew it there.” I just didn’t have the coffee. I wasn’t in right mindset or whatever it was. It’s been fun.
One of the things that I’ve learned … I’ve done this recently, with a course I’m working on next year, I just have everything broken out. I like WorkFlowy. It’s a very personal choice. You could do this in a number of different tools.
Chris: That’s a list app for those of you …
Joshua: Yeah, exactly. It’s a list app. It’s like a hierarchical outline. It’s nice. It’s very simplistic. I have just these little identifiers that I use. A, audio, visual, kinesthetic. Then I have V for video and then SV for screen video. I break that out. Video, it’s just me in front of the camera. SV is screen video like powerpoint or just showing something.
Audio would be an audio excerpt of that like detaching the audio from whatever I’m teaching to make sure that I have that included for people who are audio learners and then putting that in some sort of embeddible player that has … I think it’s really important to have fast forward or double time because a lot of people are audio. The reason they jump to audio is so that they can play it faster. If you remove that from them, it’s not good.
Chris: Where they can multitask.
Joshua: Yeah, multitask. Exactly. They can throw it in their pocket and whatnot. Then, kinesthetic like how many lessons am I streaming together before I tell them to take a break. I just plot it out so I can see my outline. This is how I’m going to accommodate in all the different people in this. I’m always looking at ways to improve that but it’s fun.
I mean, there’s other things that we can talk about you. We have a lot of other videos on engagement but I do think it’s important to do engagement. I think the one thing that people miss when it comes to wearing badges is give the badge value. Give the badge context and do that at the beginning of your course.
Show them the map of badges that they need to earn to achieve the certificate. Map that out for them. If I’m in a course and I get a badge, who gives a reap? I didn’t know I was going to get it. It didn’t do anything for me. It’s just weird actually. Why did I get a badge? I didn’t know that I was going to get a badge.
If on the introduction lesson or part of the introduction or fast start or whatever you want to call it, you’re like, “This is the step that you’re going to go through to achieve this badge,” and boom and you show it to them. That is so huge. That’s another really cool thing that you can do online. As I set back, it’s not new. We’ve been doing this for years. Boy scouts, it’s the same thing.
You want the archery badge, you got to do this, this, this and this to get the archery badge. You want to be a Webelos instead of a Cub Scout? These are all the things you got to do to get to Webelos and then Boy Scout. This isn’t new. We’re just taking it online but we forget that we don’t tell our students like we tell the cub scout, “This is how you become aWebelos. This is how you progress.”
People will need to know that. Otherwise, they’re fine blind. That’s another thing about teaching and engagement that people need to think about. I’m excited. I hope there’s something in here that listeners can take away. I know there is where they can increase and improve their online teaching ability.
Again, if you haven’t already opted in and signed up to take our free five-part course, the Ultimate Course Creation Framework which really is a step by step method for you to take away all risks of creating a course that no one wants to take. It’s huge.
You can head over to lifterlms.com/courseclinic and jump in there or you can text us the word, “course clinic,” to 33444 and we’ll get you signed up that way. Chris, do you have any final thoughts for the viewers at home or the listeners in the metropolitan subways or in their cars?
Chris: Yeah. I just want to say, if you want to be successful, you may have a great course idea. You may have a great strategy on how you’re going to teach a curriculum but take note of this lesson and go take a deep dive on the Ultimate Course Creators Framework because it’s not just about publishing that course. It’s about making exceptional lesson content. It can be a major differentiator for you out there in the wild, out there in the marketplace.
Joshua: I love it. I love it. All right. We’ll talk to you next week with the fifth and final part of the Ultimate Course Creation Framework series. So excited to release that to you. We’ll talk to you then.

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