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Vomiting on Your Students Is Just Plain Disgusting

New online course developers overdo it.  They publish online courses that deliver way too much content.  It’s understandable.  They are the expert.  The spent a lot of time learning what they know.  They feel like they must include as much as possible to give their students value.  So they pile on as big a load as possible.

What they are doing basically is vomiting all they know at their student’s feet.  Kind of gross, right?

This is the right word picture and it’s a HUGE problem.  Overloading students is as likely to turn off your students as puking your guts out at their feet.  This is all too common in this developing online course industry where the average completion rate hovers around 95%.  That means a measly 5% of people taking online courses ever finish.

If you look through the research, content overload leading to student overwhelm is one of the top reason students drop out.  A student gets all this information.  It’s way more than they can absorb.  They don’t know where to start.  Even if they are eager to work hard, they just cannot.  The don’t see a clear way to mesh all you provided them together to learn what it is they want to learn.

What you've done to this learner is horrible.  Here's this eager student that previously trusted you to get them through this issue.  They were excited and hopeful.  Now as they pick through your barf, they start wondering, "Maybe I just ain't cut out to do this."  They start looking at themselves as the problem.

Here is what I recommend instead to newbie online course developers.  Find some aspect of your information that enables your learner to overcome a big obstacle.   It has to be something achievable.  (NOTE: We offer a  programs for doing the market research to identify the best obstacle to address.)  The idea is you find a big pain point that you can address and you aim your first online course at addressing that one pain point.  You keep it very focused and as simple as possible.

This short program should be doable in 6 to 8 weeks.  It provides step-by-step instructions for addresses this concern.  By doing that you accomplish two things:

  1. First, you assure your customer that they can do it. You’ve shown them that it isn’t beyond what they can do.
  2. Second, you position yourself as the go to expert with the ability to get them, in particular, to where they want to go.

Once completed with this first accomplishment, the customer’s obvious next question is, “What do you recommend I do next?”  You have enabled them to overcome their first obstacle, now they want you to continue guiding them.

This approach is very different to the spill your guts approach.  The first approach puts a lot of responsibility on the learner.  You want the exact opposite.  You want all the responsibility for their learning to fall on you – the expert.  That's why they hired you.

What a new learner today wants is something they can follow that leverages your expertise as much as possible.  Don’t give the learner a lot of options and don’t get them to make decisions they don’t think they can make.  Tell them what you would do so they can be sure they aren’t making a mistake.

If you want to add supplementary material for those that do want more, consider adding it as bonus material.  That’s a definite option.  Another option is to provide this additional content as an upsell.  This is win-win since the ones that purchase it get more value and you get additional income.

Something to consider, right?

Hope this helps.