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Bigger is NOT Better: Reconsider Your Learning Site Approach

My team and I have built some big, content-rich online courses.  They’ve cover a number of topics serving different markets.  Just recently, we launched a 1,000+ page e-learning site teaching best practices for childcare service providers.

Having done this, I have a BIG warning for you.  There’s a time when building a big, content rich site is NOT the right thing to do.  I can’t stress that enough. Too much content can lead to big time failure.

It’s easy to see why we may want to stack our learning sites up with a lot of content.  You look at learning sites by pros like Digital Marketer and they have a ton of content.  We look at those sites as the examples to follow.  In our mind we associate big with value.  It’s like a big, fat book you drop on your desk.  The loud “THUMP” tells you their value there, right?

Here’s why the “bigger is better approach” is flawed.

When someone comes to you wanting to learn something, they come to you with doubts.  They need to learn the material, but don't think they can do it.  Even the most confident learners face this.  It’s an issue that lingers if you don't address it.

Since they are concerned about being able to learn the topic in general, they look to you - the expert - for guidance.   It’s important that the expert gets them past that self-doubt or unbelief.  The sooner the better so they get past that hump quickly.

If we are taking a traditional in-person college course, this self-doubt goes away quickly.  Students start asking questions.  The instructor can easily address them.  The student may even get their answer in the syllabus.  If you do this and this and this, you will get these results.  That goes a long way.  That student knows that by following the instructions, they will get the expected results.

When someone is considering your course, they look over your credentials.  That is important since they don’t know you.  They’ll check out what you have done, your references, etc. and use that to help them decide.

When they arrive at the online course,  they still have that doubt.  It comes in the form of, "Did I make a mistake buying into this course?"  It’s important that you address that right away.  And if you pack your site with a lot of content, you play right into their self-doubt and lack of belief in themselves. You add to their anxiety.  They see a lot of material and think how difficult it’s going to be.  Next thing you know, buyers remorse kicks in and they cancel.

So our goal early on should be to get the student a win.  It should be something that gets them past an objection they have about your course, the topic or their inability to overcome it.  This does two things.  First is it gets them past their self-doubt.  They get a win and think, “Hey!  I can do this.”  The second thing it does is further establish you as their expert.  You’ve initiated them into your tribe of followers that confidently look to you for guidance.

Once you get them this far, it’s time to offer them the next thing.  This can be material addressing the next biggest objection. You want to nudge them one step farther along and get them another win.  Then you repeat this.

Presenting a lot of content at this point isn’t so bad.  You may want to offer several options now, but always with a road map or a curriculum that enables them to see you recommending what they should do next.  That transforms the relationship into something bigger where they feel your are a trusted adviser.  Now they proceed expecting the next step of the learning process to follow successfully like the first ones.