The A, B, C’s of Consumer Learning: C is for Learner-Friendly Content

Justine Ickes
Apr 22, 2015 5:08:00 PM

Can you transform your expertise into a great e-course? We think so, and we’re not the only ones. Increasingly, brands and publishers are leveraging online learning platforms to engage and educate customers.

RodaleU offers e-courses for health, exercise and nutrition enthusiasts. Taste of Home’s virtual school serves up recipes and tutorials for home cooks. And Lynda just cut a $ 1.5 billion deal with LinkedIn.

Yes, you can make big business out of online learning. But, first, make it your business to create practical, learner-friendly courses. How? By building your online program around useful learning activities and resources that help people do something better, faster, or with greater ease. Think about it — In our fast-paced DIY world most folks want to learn skills that they can use in their lives and work right now.

The teacher who just bought a suite of customizable graphics? She’s looking for a course that will teach her how to create great worksheets she can use with her students tomorrow. A video presentation about the history of visual design, not so much.

Or how about the hobby gardener who signed up for your mailing list? He might not be jazzed about learning botanical terms. But there’s a pretty good chance he’d love your tips for selecting plants that’ll thrive in his backyard.

What about the working mom? Which course is she more likely to enroll in? The tutorial on the history of pastry making? Or the program with step-by-step slideshows with clear, easy-to-follow recipes and a downloadable shopping list?

See what we mean? These folks — and the clients and customers who’ll sign up for your courses — are all looking for action. (No, not that kind of action.) Think hands-on skills building that helps adults perform at their best.

But there’s so much to learn, you say. Where do I start? We know. That’s a question we get a lot from other experts like you. You love your subject (or your product) and want to share all you know. But resist the temptation to play the guru and stick to what your customers want to learn.

Sure, there will always be people who are interested in diving deep into a subject. But, for the most part, today’s adult learners are focused on performance. So, as you outline your online course, keep a laser focus on the right content for your learners. To be effective and enjoyable, the activities you create and the information you share must ring true with them.

Remember that home gardener? Let’s say you decide to offer an online course about organic landscaping practices. Here are just a few ideas for content you could include:

  • A printable PDF of native plants that thrive in the home garden
  • A slideshow that shows how to make your own compost
  • Maybe a forum where your customers could post questions

Remember, people want to expand their career options, pursue their passions and hobbies, and lead fulfilling lives. Pack your course with practical content that helps them do that.

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