The secrets to creating a lasting and effective online course pt. 1

Today’s post will focus on how you can create exceptional on courses. It is common sense to most users, but it’s easy to confuse the knowledge of these strategies with an open license to publish crap in hopes of getting rich overnight – something many online courses perpetuate. Just like any other service in today’s fast-paced global world, to come out on top, you need to add value to your customer’s lives. You need to provide stellar content, innovative teaching methods, exceptional support and dedication to improving. Online courses aren’t all about selling; it’s about follow through, it’s not about marketing junk based on high hopes and the dreams of swimming in gold and then giving running away. We should treat it like raising a child; it’s about dedication, commitment and improving every single day (Kaizen).

Easy $ traps are everywhere (credit:

I am all about learning new things and carving out my niche. I picked up a new book on online courses because I have been fascinated with online courses and have been testing the idea of creating an online course on the Drive Clean certifications (certification for those that carry out emission tests in Ontario). I picked up this book, so I can get off to a better start and put something out there that is reflective of my best effort. To this end, I have picked up “The Completed Course: The Secret To Creating Lasting Impact, Raving Fans, And Increased Profits With Online Courses.” by  Dr. Carrie Rose (Amazon link). Here are the key takeaways from part 1 of the book:

  • 97% of online courses are never completed by students.
    • Some say that the purchase of online course act a psychological validation for most purchasers, validating and filling in voids they have in their lives. This book is my psychological validation.
    • If an online course is so good, why do only 3% of students finish them?! There must be something wrong.
    • By the numbers. Online courses are a $250 Bil. industry. If only 3% of students complete the course, that means 97% wanted their money. That’s 242.5 Bil. of waste!!
      • How would you need as a restaurant owner if patrons threw away 97% of the food you served them?
      • Forget the waste, look at how much more difficult it is to attract patrons to your restaurant if only 3% finish their meals to tell others about it!
  • Online courses by the number
    • Studies have shown that online courses have a 15-20% refund rate! While, a typical business, according to Ruby Newell-Legner, only hears back from 4% of their dissatisfied customers. Long story short, in the online course business, you are 4x more likely to get unhappy customers.
    • An existing customer is gold; new ones are bronze. Market Metrics has published that a business has a 5-20% chance of selling to a new while, while they have a 60-70% chance of selling to a former customer. Every customer that is lost means a lifetime of foregone revenue

  • Teaching styles
    • Many of have grown up being taught a certain way (e.g. rote practice), and that is how we are designing the next generation of course: lectures, rote practice, repetitive quizzes.
    • Dr. Rose is an expert in teaching styles and has studies teaching techniques and methods and has summarized the most effective means in this book.
  • Why do online courses fail?
    • Instructors are the root of the problem. Many people in today are trying to jump on the next get-rich-quick bandwagon. That bandwagon could be Bitcoin, Litecoin, stocks, real estate, etc. The reality is that many of these bandwagon jumpers (and I am not excluding myself from this activity) is that we do not want to understand the intrinsic value of the underlying asset. Instead, we are speculating, and this leads to the creation of crappy online courses that people have developed only to get rich. As the old saying goes: “garbage in, garbage out.”

Hadi is Honours civil of engineering graduate with solid project management experience in the construction industry. Solutions-focused, results-oriented with strong business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. Currently, he is working as an assistant site-superintendant with Darcon Inc. at one of Vaughan's biggest developments, Centro Square.

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