Category Archives: elearning

The Difference Between Creating Courses and Creating Courses That Sell Online

Are you creating and marketing courses teaching others your expertise? Are you helping your clients to design courses they will market and leverage to grow their business? The “teaching others” business has expanded into a 7 billion industry and the opportunity to apply your e-learning design skills in this market is enormous.

I have experienced courses, (some good and a lot of them not-so-good), interviewed the creators of courses generating 6-figure+ revenue, created 6- and 7-figure courses myself, and in the process identified the universal patterns of success.

What The Experts Who Generate 6- and 7-Figures in Online Course Revenue Do Differently:

  1. They solve a very specific problem.

Instead of “helping people grow their businesses online,” it’s “how to get 10,000 fans of Facebook” Instead of “how to become a better knitter” it’s “learn the best cast-on and bind-off for your lace projects.”

Brain research: Our attention decreases after 10 minutes of “learning”. You need to grab your learner’s attention every 10 minutes by connecting how what you are sharing solves their problem.

  1. They equip people for creating results.

Changing behavior isn’t easy. Telling is not training. You have to engage people, get them to stick with it and apply the behaviors consistently to get results.

Brain research: Focus your students on making 1-3 behavior changes to create results and your students’ chance of success is high. Increase that to 4-10 changes and their likelihood of success drops to less than 20%. Go beyond 10 things you want them to do and it is unlikely that they will implement anything.

  1. They provide a system (blueprint, step-by-step, game plan, framework, model).

Call it what you want – it’s about helping people go faster with a system for creating success over and over. People invest for speed, structure, solid results and synthesis. Help them go faster, show them how to do it, show them what you know how to do and bring all the things together that they need.

Brain Research: Content organized using a course structure that creates associations between the big ideas will increase retention by 40%.

  1. They recognize the people learn differently.

Successful courses provide options for students to get what they need in different ways.

Brain research: There are 4 primary learning styles. The majority of courses miss including appealing content for one or more of these styles.

A course can be the launching pad for a highly profitable online business if you provide an answer to the question your ideal audience is asking in a way that gets them tangible results.

I’ll be walking through the steps we use to design and launch successful online courses in a free webinar training (live and recorded):

7 Steps to Creating and Launching a Profitable Online Course
Today! June 10, 2014 at 12 pm Central


All registrants will receive the recorded session.


4MAT at ASTD Techknowledge: Cool e-learning tools

While many of our 4MAT friends were experiencing a storm of “historic” proportions, some of us were lucky enough to head to San Jose for the ASTD Techknowledge 2011 conference. Techknowledge is ASTD’s elearning-focused train the trainer event. On Tuesday, I led a session on designing outcome-based 4MAT elearning training designs and had a chance to connect with a great group of instructional designers, training managers and corporate university directors.

As part of the session, participants shared tools and resources being used to create elearning. Here are some highlights from the sharing session:

How to create screencasts the easy way: The 4MAT team frequently uses Screenr-it’s a no-brainer for quick screen capture. Screenr allows you to record screen movement and sync automatically audio. Great for quick, how-to videos or short web demos.

How to create avatar dialogue in minutes: One of our workshop participants, Carl, shared that he recently created a movie using Xtranormal allows you to convert text into dialogue using pre-designed avatars and settings.  I created this  using Xtranormal in 10 minutes, using the free version of the tool:

How to stay up-to-date on rapid elearning design tools: Subscribe to the Rapid E-learning blog by Tom Kuhlmann. We love Tom-he will be joining us on our 4MATion web education calendar delivering examples of how to use Articulate to design powerful 4MAT opening activitities. Here’s a recent post by Tom with 75 Free Rapid Elearning Tools

For more elearning tools, you can visit our post from our visit to the Elearning Guild’s DevLearn.

Live from DevLearn 2010

Live from DevLearn 2010

The ELearning Guild produces an annual conference for elearning designers, DevLearn. Our team headed out to lead a couple of learning sessions and discover what’s new on the edge of elearning.  Here’s some interesting ideas shared during Day 1:

7:15 am Discussion on ROI

I was invited to lead a session on defining and measuring ROI in e-learning. I learned that there are some passionate e-learning folks who will get up for a 7:15 session to discuss metrics. One of the big themes of this conversation was a move from the term, “ROI”, to the term, “ROE”. “ROE” being return on expectations. What do the stakeholders expect? How do you narrow those expectations and clearly define the scope of work?

Keynote with John Seeley Brown, author of Push

The twitter dialogue (#dl10) that is  going on during this entire event connects the attendees and gives everyone a good sense of what is interesting . Kind of intimidating to a speaker, you can be “tweeted” off the island. The conference app was created using  Event Pilot.

Here are some big ideas being tweeted and re-tweeted on Brown’s presentation:

-Every 2 days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003. This is the context we live in today.

-There is a huge shift away from collecting knowledge assets, referred to as “stocks” as competitive advantage. The new competitive advantage is anticipating and creating on the edge of where the information is being created. Think social spaces for collaborating and creating together.

Mark Oehlert-Social Learning Camp

Mark and I served on an ASTD speaker selection committee a few years back. He designs learning for the Department of Defense. Check out his blog. For DevLearn, Mark created an online message board on social media. The online tool he used to create it, is free and could be a cool add-on tool to online class management or collaboration.

BJ Schoen 25 Mobile Learning Tools in 60 Minutes

BJ quickly ran us through 25 tools we should be aware of in building a mobile learning strategy. Here is a link to his slide presentation. These tools can extend the learning out in the final 4MAT step, Perform. 

Green Screen Video on a Budget

John Gillmore and Andrea Stone from the University of Oklahoma shared how to do green screen video production on a budget. Think cut-out video of a live instructor super-imposed on any background. Here’s a wiki they created with all the how-to.

Great learning community here at DevLearn. Even the conference hotel Starbucks is getting  into the power of sharing.

10 Powerpoint Tips for 4MAT Training Design

The use of images is an integral part of the 4MAT training design process. We are constantly on the hunt for new ways to maximize the impact of the visual training tools we have at our disposal as trainers. In our 4MAt train-the-trainer workshops, powerpoint is often declared to be one of the most “painful” learning strategies.

Powerpoints should serve to punctuate knowledge sharing through high-impact visuals. We frequently look to graphic design and visual media artists for inspiration. Garr Reynolds is one of our visual design heroes. Check out his Top 10 tips for Powerpoint design.

Frequently Asked Rapid E-learning Questions

Last week, I attended several train-the-trainer sessions at ASTD ICE 10. One session allowed time for  participants to share best practices on elearning training design. One of our 4MAT design team’s favorite elearning resources is the Rapid Elearning Blog by Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate. I was surprised to find that many training designers in my best practice sharing group had not heard about Tom’s blog. If you are dipping your toe into elearning or deeply immersed, you will find value in the tactical tips that Tom shares.  Here is a recent post on “Frequently Asked Rapid E-learning Questions”:

Tom has graciously agreed to conduct a free web session for the 4MAT Community. Stay tuned for announcements on dates through our eletter , Twitter or Facebook.

An Exclusive Web Workshop with Bruce Tulgan, best-selling author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

BruceTulgan_NotEveryoneGetsTrophy_mdAlmost every time I am in dialogue with a group of trainers on learning styles, someone will ask about leading the younger generation. We invited Generation expert, Bruce Tulgan, author of 17 books on what makes the New Generation tick, to share the greatest myths surrounding Gen X and Gen Y. As a trainer, there is much to be learned from Bruce’s research on what must be present to optimize engagement of this group of learners: Watch the Bruce Tulgan: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy video.

6 Social Activities for Elearning

I frequently get questions about how to do the 4MAT quadrant one in elearning. In Engage, the first step of the 4MAT model, we are creating a learning that encourages authentic sharing and meaningful dialogue. To do this, we must create a sense of community. This morning, I stumbled across this link highlighting 6 social activities:

I like the website idea–asking elearning participants to share three websites that illustrate their personal interests. Here is mine:

Margaret Wheatley on conversations:

Brain Rules–reading this book now and loving it:

Facebook-join our instructional design community of practice:

How do you apply 4MAT to Computer Based Training?

We’ve seen great examples of 4MAT applied to synchronous and asynchronous learning by our clients. The major challenge in CBT is simulating the social interaction that is often missing in these programs. In synchronous, there are many features in most platforms ie webex that allow you to create this. I recently attended a sychronous course in which the facilitator asked us to draw an image that represented the concept of “process” to us. She then showed several line drawings on the screen, each labeled with a number. We were then polled to determine which drawing on the screen was closest to the image we drew. This was a clever way of having 1000+ people participate in an image exercise that explored concept.

In asynchronous, think about how you integrate stories, images and simulated dialogue to create the social experience. 

Underneath the content you are teaching is a core concept that is the key to understanding and applying the information learned. For example, what is the concept underlying division? If you were a third grade teacher, you might reply “sharing”. Think about how you animate the concept, before moving into the content. Identifying and animating the concept is the key to building brain-based online learning.

Some examples of content and possible concepts:

Content-“stuff” we have to teach                            Concept-the bigger idea

Leadership                                                    synergy, accountability, empowerment

Conflict Resolution                                       win-win, alignment

How to Cut Hair                                            weight distribution

Effective Presentation Skills                         energy, connection, authenticity 


The key to creating connection in computer-based instruction is animating the concept. Think about how you can pull from the learner their story, their experiences around the concept being explored. I recall seeing a great example of this in an asynchronous program. The content was emergency procedures. In each department of this company, one individual was responsible for the emergency procedure manual.  The desired outcome was to have the learner thoroughly review the emergency procedures manual for their department. The concept chosen was “preparedness”. The designer created a scenario with the learner viewing a typical employee receiving a panicked phone call that water was leaking from the roof. The employee portrayed on screen could not locate their emergency procedure manual. Phone calls escalated and the general panic really came through in the module.

This could even go deeper by having the learner thing about things they do on a daily basis that enhance their safety and well-being—wearing a seatbelt, taking a multivitamin. In an asynchronous environment, we must encourage the  the learner to imagine themselves in an experience. This draws out the connection to the content.

Does anyone have some great examples of ways to connect learners in CBT? We would love to hear what’s working out there.