A few months ago I began working on something called The Art of Course Design. My intention was to get that out before the end of 2015. In the spirit of transparency I’d like to take a few minutes and give you an update on what’s happening and the challenges I have been facing – this might help some of you looking to write or launch your first book or course.
I have been reading so many things about launching online products (when I say that, I mean information products like books, ebooks and courses, not the type of products I normally design like web applications or ecommerce sites.) There is a lot to consider, which is why I am pulling back a bit to make sure I launch the course design course/book as part of a bigger series and that it represents me and my background expertise and not the popular trends of today which are more focused on marketing funnel advice and not design and the user experience. As I have interacted with many of these programs and products, I’ve noticed a ton of conversion tactics that may (or may not) lead to sales, but that produce a very negative user experience along the way. That is my sweet spot – that and branding a product line are really my core skills and so I want what I produce to be focused on what can contribute to people who want to enter this industry.
With self-publishing at an all-time high, and the eLearning market growing by leaps and bounds (self-paced eLearning was a $46 billion dollar market in 2015), this IS the perfect time for you to do the same thing if you have been wanting to write your first book or launch your first course. I am going to recommend you do both of these plus a few other things, and have a series of information products that will get into the nuts and bolts of how to do it in the simplest way possible (to get you started.) So the course design focus has now become a planned series on:
- Course Creation
- Platform Design
- Conversion Experience (possibly… this may get addressed in the above or elsewhere)
The branding for Art of Course Design is very girly – my first inclination was to create this course as a free demo site to promote the fact that Fresh ID now offers a WordPress solution for an LMS platform that allows you to own it fully rather than share revenue with a course enabler like Skillshare or Udemy. So like I would recommend to a client, I wanted the identity to be something representative of me as this would involve personal branding – and I am impossibly girly inside whilst also cursing like a sailor at soccer games and doing triathlons. But that is NOT what I would recommend for a suite of products that must appeal to both men and women, so this is all being rebranded. This is not the first time I’ve designed a brand and redesigned it before releasing it – sometimes that happens when you know that another direction is ultimately best.
And that brings us back to what I am good at… creating a fresh experience. These books and courses will not be for everyone, and I won’t try to make them appeal to just anyone. There are plenty of resources I will point to for more in-depth study or broader comparisons of options. People will want my instruction and insights will need to be prepared to:
- Be rigorous in design restraint
- Focus intensely on the smallest of details
- Put “users” – the prospects and purchasers of the products offered – first and foremost
While this may sound appealing and maybe even easy, it’s not in reality. It will take me approximately a month of research and endless naming and labeling formulation just to come up with what this series of products is called and they will have some consistency in the naming. That’s because I not only have to put it all together as a series, then I have to research other used names in Google and Amazon, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and even hashtags. For it to make sense for users, and be compelling as a brand. The struggle is real!
Hopefully I will make progress on this the next couple of months and have some of the writing, if not all, and the planning done by April so we can get this show on the road. I’m excited to get to the end result and share it with you. If you have any interest in joining a group of reviewers of this content as I work on it (something I will recommend you do for your own books and courses), let me know here or on Twitter or Facebook. I have not yet created that group but will be soon.