If you’re a small business or organisation trying to create training products for your colleagues, employees, clients or the general public, it can be confusing trying to figure out what learning products are going to work best for them – and also what is going to work best for the people in your organisation who have to create and deliver them.
There are so many options – podcasts, online courses, face to face workshops, reading material, tutorials… there’s a long list!
Whose needs are more important? Your learners’, or yours?
Tough question! Of course what your learners need is important – but there’s no point creating a learning product that you or your colleagues don’t enjoy delivering. I often see this – clients struggling to deliver the learning product they’ve created because they simply don’t have the HR resources to deliver it effectively.
In fact, it’s not just my clients I’ve seen in this dilemma – I learnt this the hard way – creating a range of products and services and then running myself into the ground trying to deliver them all. Where did I go wrong? Open the first tab below (If you’re an entrepreneur…), to get the back story…
I ran myself into the ground trying to deliver all different versions of the same learning product. Where did I go wrong?
I wasn’t operating in my zone of genius, and I wasn’t doing things that I loved. I succumbed to the hype, and tried to do what everyone else was doing; namely a bunch of online options that just never really felt right.
So instead of trying to simultaneously write articles, do presentations, offer online tutorials, manage 2 Facebook groups, run online free to the public ’12 Day Challenges’ and a twice yearly e-Course, (oh and this is of course in all my ‘spare’ time, after doing consulting work and taking on coaching clients) AND run a small business, it’s much simpler now.
I do the things that light me up.
- I write. Articles, stories, lesson with stories, I love writing and it’s something I can spend hours buried in.
- I produce awesome best practice lessons based on what I’ve learnt from 25+ years in the teaching and learning industry.
- I coach motivated professionals, helping them create first class learning materials that get results and confirm them as experts in their fields.
- I do some consulting on aid and development projects, spending time working on location, with local stakeholders.
- I take on the role of ‘Project Manager’ when my clients just need the job DONE.
- I go through periods where I deliver a string of face to face presentations (or online webinars with live audiences) because I LOVE delivering live training.
- The majority of my work revolves around helping subject matter experts create learning products that will work for them – and their clients.
No longer do I stretch myself trying to deliver group programs or live, online courses because my ideal clients don’t want or need that kind of learning experience.
They come to me because need the skill set I’ve bullet pointed out above! Simple right?
Create what your audience needs.
Should you stick to one learning product, or is having multiple best?
You can most definitely create a suite of products and services for different target markets – I certainly do!
It depends on your target audience – what do they need? How can you best support them? The trick is learning how to create different offerings for different target audiences, based on what they need and what you have the HR to deliver.
How do you choose which learning product to create first?
Most clients I work with choose to create a live group workshop they can pilot first, based on the one to one work they’ve been doing with clients over the years – and when they know it’s a proven method, then then start working backwards through the authoring products – counterintuitive to what you might first think! (Write a book, do a workshop, end up consulting.)
There’s another article about how to systemise your knowledge so that you can create a suite of learning products from exactly the same IP – that’s over here if you’re interested!
You may resonate with one of my clients, Ro Gorell.
Ro came to me, with 20+ years of experience, thinking (after seeing all the hype online), she wanted to create an e-Course. When we sifted through her experience, worked out what she loved doing the most, and what would bring her the most joy on a day by day basis, her online ‘e-Course’ turned into a complete suite of face to face workshops marketable to three distinct target audiences with varying degrees of experience and learner needs.
So how do you choose the right educational product or service to create and deliver?
There’s a whole process mapped out below, and here’s the overview, just in case you’re the type of learner who needs to see the whole picture first. There’s a lot of information on that page though – so move straight through to the next section where we break it down into actionable chunks for you.
- Do you have colleagues or a team who can help with the authoring or facilitating?
- How big is your team and what HR do you have who can be part of the content creation process?
- What’s the best use of your time, and what do you want to invest your time into creating?
- what modes your products would be best suited to in terms of the needs of your learners: self, group or personalised study options?
- do they need the one to one support?
- would they be better supported in a group?
Remember, unless mandated training, engagement is always far higher when support is offered.
Lastly, decide which products are best suited to your learners.
Sometimes this can be tricky if you have various groups of learners with different needs (staff training is different to educating the general public).
Remember there could be a suite of learning products that you create from the same IP – and here’s the link to the article that will take you through how to turn one set of IP into a variety of learning products.
What’s the most important part of this process?
Make sure they’re the learning products that your learners actually want.
After a year of struggling to deliver a suite of services, I rang 70 of my preferred clients and asked them what they actually wanted. Their answers blew me away as it was the opposite of what I was expecting.
You might be equally surprised if you haven’t yet polled your target learners – so do this first and save yourself the time and energy involved with creating something none of your learners are interested in!
Do you really know what your ideal clients want from you?
Want to chat with someone who has been there, done that, and created hundreds of learning products for small businesses, not for profits and government organisations? Find a time that suits for a quick chat here.