One of the reasons I’ve been hesitant in making any online courses is the worry of making a shitty one. One where the information is so obvious that it’s not worth it to pay the meagre fee for.
After all, the internet is a place with a tonne of free information available. People can freely check that out with no worries.
Even so, courses are still a massive moneymaker for people and courses are still heavily pushed. I see plenty on my Facebook feed featuring Tai Lopez. Or some social media marketer pushing their latest course.
This isn’t to say all courses out there are complete and utter duds.
But over the years of me taking a handful of courses and reading some stories from Auctor Quick, courses:
- Can be incredibly helpful.
- Or a waste of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
And I know that’s painfully obvious, but again the online course industry is thriving because big-name people like Tai Lopez or other such influencers put their name behind those courses. Their brand is what really drives the sales even if the course is 90% a burning pile of dumpster trash.
People don’t realize that they’ve been duped until way after the refund date and they stumble upon a free article or video that outlines the exact same talking points that this $800 course taught them.
It’s predatory and it’s a shame. But it can be stopped. And it comes down to understanding these aspects when it comes to online courses.
Most Online Courses Recycle The Material
While each creator will have their own raw emotions and attitude injected into the course, a lot of the content will be the same across the board. All the same, this article will probably cover the same sort of talking points as any other article bashing online courses will.
Though for the record, I’m writing this from the top of the ol’ dome and not blatantly copying the main points from an article.
The only difference is this article is relatively free (if you’re reading this on Medium, I make a small amount of money from your membership. Thanks!). For courses though, you would be ending up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars just to learn that fact.
It’s a trademark sign of a terrible course when most of the material is nothing but recycled content.
Now, good courses still recycle content too. Their difference is how it applies to their course.
If it’s used to be expanded new ideas in future videos, that’s great.
If the person has a new take on these strategies and proposes something different, that’s good.
The idea with courses is that they should provide something new and fresh to make it worth it. Bring another professional in to discuss the topic. Provide data for why this strategy works. Good online courses will offer something really tantalizing that separates them from everything else.
I know some course creators do virtual calls with people. They’ll create other content that expands on their points in courses that are entirely free.
And in some cases, you can even sell convenience too. Particularly if you’ve produced thousands of pieces of content over the years.
Online Courses Can Often Lack Action Plans
While it is the course taker’s duty to find the motivation to get through the courses, many individuals will struggle a lot with that. I’m a great example of this as I routinely stop mid-way through courses whenever I rope myself into getting one.
The only exception is if the course itself is short. Like 10 20-minute videos are tolerable courses. Anything less is even better.
Now, some can chalk that up to laziness – and in some cases, I agree – but a lot of us are like that. We blaze through articles within seconds without reading much. We stop watching a Youtube video 10 seconds into it.
Even though it’s us as consumers to motivate ourselves, a course provider should have this level of awareness. It’s essential for them to tailor a course to address this. Furthermore encourage us to take action and have a level of accountability for ourselves.
Good courses implement certain measures like making an entire video on motivation. Some will even have an accountability challenge of some sort. Others will offer direct actions for people to be taking – i.e. homework.
Not all of these methods are going to get us to do something, but it’s better than assuming people will watch an entire video.
Most won’t. Most can’t even get through a short article.
I consider that measurement at least considerate and a hallmark of a better course. It allows people to take the time to apply what you’re teaching them rather than giving people a bunch of word vomit.
Provided that the information is tailored for people to be taking action on. None of this generic “just do X thing for big gains” advice. Spell it out. Explain the process. And don’t hide it behind another course you created. 🙄
Many Online Courses Aren’t That Worth It
Even though I’ve been slamming courses for being crappy, not every course is like that. There are people who have put in a considerable amount of time and energy in putting together an effective course.
These are the people who’ll routinely do weekly calls. They’ll sit down and coach people individually. They’ll talk about a community they have on Facebook or something and are active in that group.
Making courses, just like with anything in life, is going to require a lot of effort to make it into something effective.
The unfortunate thing is that not every person has that sort of mentality. Nor do many preach that mentality.
They may say it’s hard or difficult, but not many people will say how hard it is. They don’t share their struggle.
And the reason I know this is that I bought into the whole “course building is easy” and made one about two years ago. It’s flopped because there were several things I didn’t do.
There were things I did right though. For one, the course isn’t that expensive. The other is I didn’t hype it up like it was some revolutionary thing that’ll make you millions of dollars.
The course teaches you the basics of using Quora and some ways to generate some money from it. This was before Quora+ was a thing.
But I didn’t advertise the course much. I also didn’t put the time into answering questions – not that I got any. I also didn’t expand on it much either by doing live videos or anything of that nature.
But while those are good lessons, the thing is there are people who have:
- Put more marketing money into their courses;
- Have gotten considerably more sales;
- And charge a higher price for their courses
And neglect those kinds of duties.
- They avoid doing live videos and investing their time into their students who paid way more money than $20 and leave them out to dry.
- Instructors hype up expectations and fail to deliver or hide the juicy information behind another one of their courses.
- They may have a community page but it serves more as a shrine to how wonderful they are. They avoid contributing or engaging and merely use it for positive testimonials to hype up the course even more.
It’s all very scummy and in the end, it’s not worth it.
Because the best case scenario at times is to take action yourself and learn from those experiences. Your path is going to be different from others. You don’t need other people telling you what strategies you should be doing to get X results.
Approach The Offers Differently
Courses do have their uses and it all comes down to how you approach them and assess the prices. Depending on what you think is a fair price depends on what stage you are at with fixing the issue this course supposedly will help with.
If you want basic information, you shouldn’t have to drop $500+ on a course. Even if it’s marketed as “the Ultimate Master Course for everything by Tony Robbins featured on Forbes, and Inc Business”.
Read some articles, pick up a book.
The only time it’s worth it to be paying more is if there are extra incentives.
- Will this person personally be involved in guiding you through everything?
- Are they taking in a very low amount of students?
- Do they have a community they are actively involved in?
- Have people posted genuine testimonials about their course or program being helpful?
These kinds of factors help in allowing an instructor to be asking for more money and are traits of a fantastic course to be taking. No longer are they just an instructor but rather a coach that’s helping you.
Online Courses Won’t Change Much
With all of this said though, courses aren’t going to be changing much. There will still be people who use these same tactics and people will fall for them every time. For so many people, courses are a distraction to their problems and not precisely solving them.
Until people realize they don’t always need these courses, they will continue to go into this cycle. This is why you don’t really need courses. Because you were in a better position when you were worrying about the problem rather than signing up for a course to try and fix it.