The Benefits of Risk Taking for Learning

The idiot in the middle is me – making a fool of myself and learning a lot in front of several dozen people.

I was running around the stage spouting gibberish while another student translated what I said into normal English.

I am sure I looked and sounded like a compete idiot, no two ways about it.

Somewhere in the back of my mind was the uncomfortable realization that anyone in the audience could film this and post it to Facebook if they chose to.

It was, in short, one of the most valuable and impactful learning experiences I have had in at least a decade.

Why? Well, read on – I guarantee it is worth the few minutes of time is will take. [Read more…]

Adult Learning 101 for Edupreneurs

Adult Learning 101: If you aim to sell online courses, you need to give yourself a crash course in this topic. Today.

Adult Learning 101 - Photo Man Using Computer, Reading Book in Library

One of the downsides of any rapidly growing market is that a lot of junk gets fed into it. The market for lifelong learning is certainly no exception. There is plenty of snoozer content out there. (I’m betting you have sat through a dull Webinar or two yourself.) Even the stuff that manages to keep your attention is often very light when it comes to delivering true educational value.

Naturally, this represents an opportunity for you.

[Read more…]

The Key to Long-Term Success as an Edupreneur: Demonstrating Educational Impact

Photo of bowling ball colliding with pins to suggest educational impact

An article in the Wall Street Journal a while back highlighted how corporate training programs are often a waste of time and money. With “little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments,” the article argued, “some 90% of new skills are lost within a year.”

You can debate the validity of the research highlighted in the article if you want, but I know from first hand experience – and you probably do too – that training and education too often gets treated as a “nice to have.” And that viewpoint applies whether you are dealing with a big corporate budgeting department or – more importantly for most edupreneurs – a prospective customer.

Why?

I’d argue one key reason is that people question intuitively whether most training and education offerings really have any impact. They suspect just what the Wall Street Journal article suggests: that they are not going to end up with much to show for the time and money that they put into most training and education.

This is definitely not just a corporate problem. Research at my company, Tagoras, shows, for example, that very few trade and professional associations – one of the main sources of adult lifelong learning in many countries – do anything to assess the impact of their educational offerings. Yes, they circulate “smile sheet” evaluations, but these rarely provide any meaningful data about whether learning has actually occurred.

And, because they don’t have any legitimate data about learning, these organizations can’t leverage this data to address any concerns prospective customers may have about the value of their educational offerings.

The situation is no different for your average edupreneur. 

As a result, your potential customers may put off buying decisions or undervalue the training and education and shop based on price.

Or, of course, they may choose not to buy at all.

Any of these situations can lead to your fledgling learning business never really getting off the ground. Maybe you make a few sales here and there, but if no one – including you – is able to talk about the success your learners are achieving, you won’t build any momentum or staying power.

Naturally, these are circumstances you want to avoid if at all possible.  If your goal is to achieve long-term success as an edupreneur, you need to create real impact with your offerings and you need to be able to show that you are creating impact.

3 Keys to Demonstrating Educational Impact

So how can you demonstrate more impact with your learning products?

First of all, of course, you need to develop and facilitate great learning experiences that follow the adult learning principals and design approaches I’ve advocated in various places (including, of course, Leading the Learning Revolution). In other words, you need to start with a great product.

But even great products usually need some help when it comes to communicating their value. So, here are three steps to make sure you are taking.

[Read more…]

The Secret to Killer Education Products?

Hitting the Target with Education Products

As you might expect, I get quite a lot of e-mails from people who want to start or grow an online education business. In nearly all of them, the focus is on what technologies to use for creating and selling courses. This focus is misdirected: as important as good, user-friendly technology is, it’s rarely going to be the element that makes or breaks your education business.

In fact, it probably isn’t even in the top ten. [Read more…]