Creating a good online course is an iterative design process with the end customer in mind
Online courses and webinars are becoming a good revenue source for the pioneers of the online learning revolutions that is unfolding in front of our eyes. The revolution is taking place right now, and we at Rukuku are in the middle of it all which is pretty exciting. In one of my previous posts, I talked about the independent instructor becoming the new success phenomenon in the world of media, and I concluded that the world of instruction will produce a lot of instructor entrepreneurs who will do well, and then there will be a small group of instructors who will do extremely well and have celebrity status.
The truth is anyone can be famous for 15 minutes with a course, but how does one get sustainable popularity? Here are three tips:
Make engaging and useful content
In the online training and education world the answer is no different than in any other media: an instructor has to generate fun, useful content. Remember the boring lectures at university that sucked the living soul out of you? That would never work online, and never make a course successful. The modern independent instructor needs to think in terms of entertaining their audience while training them. This thinking should permeate the design of the course as well as the presentation style of the instructor.
Less is more
Many large organizations are holding on dearly to their legacy e-learning content. At these organizations nobody is bothered that the traditional e-learning modules are badly designed: they are too long! This usually achieves one goal very well: numbing the mind of the course taker. The new knowledge that we have is that it is best to break up the courses into smaller chunks of 1 to 6 minutes long. This helps avoid learner fatigue as she moves from one logical chunk to another in a steady rhythmic way
Do niche marketing
Producing a course and formatting it in an appropriate way is only the first half of the job. The other half of the job is promoting the course and the instructor’s brand. For example, one of our instructors has figured out that her customers are best reached through professional associations so she started reaching out to these organizations on the phone and worked out a promotional deal whereby the associations became resellers of her courses. In essence the instructor found a good distribution channel for her content and invested in it by sharing revenue with the distributors. She then collected feedback from the many students that took her course and made improvements based on that feedback. Those who master the marketing and promotion game will stay relevant for years on end: good marketers know their target audience through and through, and that knowledge will then feed back into content production and formatting. We have come a full circle.
It is easy to see that in the heart of it all is learning everything about the end customer as well as understanding what, how and when they want to learn from you.
Our users often email us about features they find most useful in Rukuku so we decided to summarize the fan mail in this post. I will highlight five free features that contest the top position in the “What I love about Rukuku” list.
1. Unlimited participants
Whether you have 1 active customer or a thousand, we are happy to accommodate your needs. We do not impose any limitations on the number of participants in your courses, webinars, or conference calls. Compare this offer to various competing offers out there, and it will become clear that unlimited is hard to find.
2. Free conference calls
Our web conferencing solution is free. Speak for as long as you need, as often as you want – it is free regardless.
3. Free course composer
Create your courses and course materials using our Composer. The tool is absolutely free.
4. Free private classes
If you need a virtual meeting space for an impromptu private class, Rukuku offers that functionality for free. Go to Auditorium, click on Private Classes, and Start New Private Class. Invite other participants by sending them a unique access link using the green “Invite” button. Combined with point #1 above, this is a total winner.
5. Free Storefront
If you want to monetize your courses, we offer you an amazing tool – Storefront. It is a subset of the general Marketplace that resides on your website. You control what items you want to display in your Storefront via a management dashboard. See how it works here: http://malcolmedmonstone.com/online-courses-with-malcolm/
That’s all folks! Don’t be shy to drop us a line about your favorite Rukuku features.
Oleg draws a series of comics called “Cat”. He started the strip while he was working in Moscow, Russia. The “Cat” is amazingly popular in Russia: several heavy volumes of “Cat” comics have been published and invariably sold out. The English version of the strip is available as an iPad app “iCat”.
Exactly a year ago Oleg drew a strip about flying to space and mailed it to one of his fan friends in Moscow who liked it a lot. In fact, the friend passed the strip on to Sergey Ryazansky, a Russian cosmonaut who flew to the ISS last year, and served as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 37 and Expedition 38 before returning to Earth aboard the Soyuz on March 11, 2014. Sergey took the strip with him to space, and then brought it back with him in the Soyuz TMA-10M on March 11.
Oleg has received his strip back in the mail today! As far as everyone involved is concerned, this is the first hand-drawn original comic strip in the history of human kind that flew to space, resided on the International Space Station for six months, and returned back to Earth. Congratulations, Oleg!
That officially makes Rukuku visual design truly heavenly and super highly technological. Sky is no longer the limit.