At the point of the journey where people start looking for me (or any professionals in this field) to help with creating learning content, is at some point after they’ve realised that although they are a subject matter expert or specialist in their field, they either
- baulk at the idea of having to teach what they know to groups (they usually deliver one to one) or
- they don’t have the first clue about how to get their content online.
Google just about breaks them when they start looking for who could help them through the e-learning content development process. Try googling it. How to create online courses? How to create training online? How to create and sell online training? The possible solutions are endless. Where do you start?
First of all, by answering these questions:
- Do you need a range of professionals or can just one person help with the tasks your team don’t have the capacity or capability for?
- Do you need help with how your online model for delivery is going to work?
- Is the training part of a larger set of training that needs to be developed with a consistent approach?
- Are the people creating the training specialists in education and training? Do they need some skill gap training?
- Are you using sophisticated authoring tools and need some technical assistance?
- Do you need someone to work on the marketing side of things for you? To get the word out to your ideal clients?
Depending on which avenue you choose, you’re looking at a range of professionals that can help in creating content and guide you through the maze, but it really depends on what you actually need, and what your existing skill set is like.
And believe me when I say you can waste a WHOLE HEAP OF TIME, energy and money doing things that you really shouldn’t be even attempting. Tasks that professionals have spent years perfecting, that you think – oh, can’t be THAT hard, I don’t have to spend money on someone to do THAT surely?
Having said that, with so many professionals in the field that can help you, it’s so tricky to figure out which skills you need and in which order. You’ll also get completely different outcomes depending on who you turn to for assistance. It’s overwhelming enough to be wading through the amount of work it’s going to take to get your content off the ground, into a course, and out into the world without having to also figure out which expert you need to help you through the process as well.
I’m going to run through the five different types of course development professionals that you can approach if you need help getting your ideas from your hard-drive into a fully-fledged online (or face to face) learning experience.
So! Which professionals do you think you need when creating quality content?
Do you need a Business Coach?
A Curriculum Developer?
A Teacher Trainer?
An Instructional Designer?
or a Launch Strategist?
Or do you need a combination of all five?
There’s a video that explains all this, so if that’s your learning style, pop straight down to the bottom of this article. Prefer a quick read as to which professionals help in creating quality content? Here you go!
1. Business Coach
- Helps define your area of expertise
Ok so let’s start with a business coach, because they are sometimes easiest to find (there’s a lot of them!)
A good business coach provides a service to help people who have a lot of ideas and a wealth of experience in a particular field, funnel that knowledge into a business (including possibly a program, consultancy, or course) that will work for them.
- Aids in defining your offerings
So, if you don’t yet have a business plan, or you have fantastic ideas and good content but you’re not 100% sure how that suits your ideal customer or what problem you’re solving, this is probably who you need to start with. This part of the process should really cover how the learning product ‘works’ for you and your clients, including how and where it will be delivered (especially if it’s online).
2. Curriculum Developer
- Shows you how to systemise your expertise
A curriculum developer is someone who can help you when you know exactly what your niche is, you know who your ideal customers are, and you’ve got all the content ready to create your learning materials (or to transform them into online learning materials). When you can best use a curriculum developer is when you have an established set of expertise (that you usually use one to one, and/or face to face), and you know that putting together a group offering or online course is the next step.
- Assists in creation of content plan and helps you set expectations
When you’ve pulled together your content, a curriculum developer helps you organise those ideas, get them into modules, ensure there are clear outcomes and activities or tasks that will guarantee those outcomes; essentially they’ll help make sure that it all fits into a framework that you can chop and change when you need to, or pick and choose from, depending on your different clients (and their learning styles).
3. Teacher Trainer
Where a curriculum developer helps your organise and systemise your ideas, a teacher trainer:
- Refines your presentation skills and delivery skills
To allow your content to have an impact, you may need a teacher trainer. Teacher trainers have experience in guiding educators, course creators and speakers to be their most engaging selves in front of a crowd (or screen!) They also work with how to motivate your learners, no matter their learning style, while implementing best practice techniques in classroom and behaviour management. It might be surprising, but anyone who has taught online can tell you that classroom management is just as important in an online teaching setting! Especially if you’re creating content that will be consumed in a ‘self study’ mode, the way it’s delivered is vital to ensuring that the learners stay engaged and motivated to finish the whole course.
- Takes your content and makes it engaging, inspiring and motivating
A teacher trainer is also going to be able to help you with the evaluation and the review of your material so every time you deliver your online course it gets better. They’ll guide you on visual aids, how to pack a punch with presenting, and post-delivery evaluation. You may find yourself coming back to a teacher trainer several times during the process of creating an online course to ensure that the structure, visual aids, workbooks, activities, tasks and the way it’s delivered is as effective as possible.
4. Instructional Designer
- Guides you on choosing an appropriate learning platform
These are the honourable tech-heads of the process. They take the streamlined, perfected content and work it into an online platform or digital product. This isn’t my forte, so I outsource all these jobs to a team of experts who are confident, qualified, and love what they do. They also help you to…
- Create the user experience
These guys know everything there is to know about the platforms and about the technology that create learning materials that are easy to use for your clients.
Please note, that Instructional Designers aren’t always able to complete the whole process by themselves, as there are a few different roles they need to perform. When selecting this professional, make sure you know what professional skills you’re looking for demonstrated evidence of: Instructional Design, Website Development, and Website or Graphic Design.
Web Development is about choosing the right platform to deliver your product, using and combining the right plug-ins, to make the back end of your website or learning platform work seamlessly.
Instructional, Website or Graphic Designers will make the learning experience LOOK appealing, and visually more effective in terms of the user experience. Remember that an Instructional Designer usually has experience constructing visually appealing learning content, a Website Designer has experience making a website look awesome, and a Graphic Designer has experience with creating the overall brand, logo, style guide and overall ‘look’ of your content.
Make sure you know exactly what skills you’re looking for, and ask for a portfolio of work that proves what they’re capable of before you hire them!
5. Launch Strategist
- Shows you how to sell your offering, create a marketing plan, and generate a sales funnel
When you’ve been through the parts of the process that get you to an end product that’s punchy, well delivered, well considered for all learning styles, slick and easy to use, you might want to use a Launch Strategist.
A Launch Strategist is an expert on how to get the a buzz happening about your course out into the world and ensuring there are plenty of bums on seats. Because we know that having a red-hot course with brilliant content is one thing, but if no one knows about it then you’re not going to fill the available seats and the whole process will have been for naught.
Where to next?
Now that we’ve defined each expert and how they help with planning, creating and selling your course, workshop or Mastermind series, who do you think you need?
Do you need just a couple of these experts or all of them?
Do you think you could be lucky enough to find one person who does all of those things for you?
- Decide exactly what help you need with the whole process, before hiring anyone. When hiring people to work with you, first figure out exactly what you need (there’s a worksheet that can help you with this). Then, really ascertain the depth to which these people are going to take you and how much of the work you’ll be able to do yourself. Will they hold your hand and actually walk you through the process? Do you need one-on-one support, or do you need group program?
- Find professionals with a distinct, and demonstrated skillset. Have a really thorough look at exactly what someone can actually offer you; I honestly don’t believe one course, app, or package is the “one size fits all” answer to creating quality learning experiences but if you do find one, I want to be the first one to know! If in doubt, speak to them. Ask them questions. Lots of questions. Ask for evidence, a portfolio, links to websites or clients they’ve worked with who will testify as to their level of expertise and how easy it was to work with them. Be sure that you know what skills you need, and whether they can deliver.
Regardless of how much help you end up employing, you want to move through the phases smoothly so that your learning experience can be refined, launched, and delivered efficiently, effectively and with a minimum amount of confusion or double handling.
You can see a list of professionals I know, trust and recommend on this page: https://mariadoyle.com/preferred-providers/
Ready for the full lesson on how to outsource to professionals with confidence to get help creating content so you can operate in your zone of genius?
I’ve prepared a tutorial, a worksheet and an expert panel that interviews a range of professionals to help in creating content from the lists above. Hear it from the horses’ mouths. And no, we’re not trying to sell you our services! Just good, honest advice from people who are in the game for all the right reasons – getting your content out there into the world where it can change lives.
The lesson is available here.
Click on the above link to be taken directly to the Lesson. If you’re already a member of the Starter Pack, make sure you’re logged in! If you’re not, you’ll be redirected to the page where you can become a member.