I was really struck by some data that came out of a Pew Internet Research report on lifelong learning a while back.
According to the report, 61 percent of U.S. adults have “little or no awareness” of the concept of distance learning.
And, while 74 percent said they had engaged in some sort of personal learning activity in the past year, only 16 percent had taken an online course. The numbers were actually worse for professional learning.
Maybe the percentages are better in some other countries, but I doubt they are enough better to escape the core lesson. Namely, there is a good chance a big part of your prospective audience is unlikely to participate in an online course.
It’a sobering thought, but I think it is actually an incredibly useful one for any knowledge end learning entrepreneur.
Why? Because you shouldn’t really be in the online course business.
When you become immersed in all the details of launching and selling an online course, it’s easy to start feeling – and acting – as if the course is an end in itself.
But the reality is that nobody cares about taking a course for the sake of taking a course. They care about solving a problem or taking advantage of an opportunity.
You must continually ask yourself, “How will I make life better for my learners? How will I enable them to do what they want to be able to do? How will I empower learning?”
Delivering the power is delivering on the promise. That’s the basis for a viable, long-term business.
Maybe a course is the way to empower learning. At best, though, it is only one way.
As I’ve noted in many, it pays to think in terms of building a portfolio of offerings – a Value Ramp. Not just of courses, but of multiple ways you can deliver value to your learners. Multiple ways to deliver the power.
It’s a simple, perhaps obvious idea, but it’s one it pays to return to again and again as you build your business.
P.S. – Related to this idea, keep in mind that education and learning are not the same thing.