One of the key catalyst in transforming the lifelong learning landscape has been the incredible new potential for small organizations and individual subject matter experts to easily create, publish, and sell content online. These days, that includes sophisticated online courses with a learning management system behind them.
In this episode (#15) of the podcast, I talk with Paul Johnson, co-founder of Pathwright, about his company’s platform for easily authoring and selling online courses as well as about the overall market for online education. If you are eager to get your educational content out to the world, you won’t want to miss this one.
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01:45 – Introduction of Paul Johnson, co-founder of Pathwright.
02:40 – Overview of Pathwright. The platform enables you to publish courses under your own name and brand. Could be one person with a lot of knowledge – there are many “pathwrights” teaching this way – or it could be an actual school or organization.
03:55 – What’s changed in the past few years that driving more options for individuals and small organizations to get into the online course game? Paul offers his perspective. One factor is that traditional education is not fulfilling the promise that it once did. Students re losing their trust in the value of traditional education.
06:00 – Experts and professionals are able to step in because they know not only the content but also how to make it work in the real world.
06:40 – Paul talks about his own experience of learning by doing and relying on online resources.
07:15 – Paul and his twin brother Mark, his co-founder of Pathwright, started writing software when they were 13 and paid their way through college writing software. Once of their first experiences with learning platforms was with an early version of Moodle. the highly popular open source learning management system.
08:50 – In one of their early jobs, Paul and Mark were looking for a solution for providing art training online. They didn’t find it. Eventually this led to developing Pathwright, through funding from a large customer that had been using Moodle, but needed an easier solution.
10:35 – Moodle and similar solutions are meant to supplement on-campus education. Marketplaces like Udemy, and Skillshare, and iTunesU, on the other hand, basically sell one-off courses, Paul says. Paul and Mark were looking for a way that their customer could publish its own catalog of courses, under its own brand.
11:40 – Paul walks through the process of publishing in Pathwright. Check out the free Pathwright 101 course for a more detailed (but still brief) overview. It’s completely free to get started with Pathwright. (The company makes money off of taking a percentage of sales once you do start selling.)
15:10 – Discussion of marketing of courses once they are published. What are the characteristics of people or organizations that tend to be successful? Paul notes (as others have on Learning Revolution) that those who have an existing audience tend to do best. Or, those who partner with someone who has a large audience. Paul offers the example of “Jason the CPA” who has made more than $60K so far selling on the side – largely because he invests in building his audience thought a blog and podcast and through teaming up with others. Listen in for another success example.
17:45 – Of course, the quality of the teaching is also a big driver of success!
18:15 – Paul offers his vision for the future and where the market for education is going. There is a little bit of a goldrush going on right now for getting the THE course published in specific, popular topics. This is happening in higher education, but it will also start happening in specific industries.
20:45 – Find Paul and Pathwright online at www.pathwright.com.