The Popularity of eCourses
eCourses are popular and they’re getting more popular by the day. Really, from the entrepreneur’s perspective, they’re easy they’re inexpensive to deliver. If they’re designed right, they really deliver a lot of value to a lot of people. Most importantly, they leverage the entrepreneur’s time. There’s also a lot of flexibility in how they’re delivered. From the participant’s perspective, there’s really a lot of value as well because they’re a great learning experience, they are accessible from the comfort of their home or office and, in a lot of cases, they can fit them in to their schedule as they wish.
There are three basic ways that you can deliver eCourses. The first one is via email, which is called direct delivery. With direct delivery, content is delivered at regular intervals via an email that includes links to the session files. This gives participants links to the audio recordings, videos or PDF documents included in that session. Sometimes, the email will direct the participant to a particular page on a website that has all those files on it.
The second eCourse delivery method is called webinar delivery. Webinar deliveries are extremely popular right now. The content is usually delivered through a conference call service and in some cases, a conference video service. Webinar delivery gives participants access to the course content via conference calls at regular intervals.
The third eCourse delivery method is an online platform delivery model. This is where you make use of a third party online platform that’s specifically set up to deliver training. The participant would log into the platform with the code that you give them and they have all the material there, including audio recordings, videos, documents, etc. Participants can access those at their own pace.
How to Select the Right Delivery Method for You
There are a pros and cons to each delivery method. Each one has some benefits and each one has some things that it doesn’t do so well. Let’s look at each one individually.
With the direct delivery model, where you send emails to the client or the participant on regular intervals, the big advantage is that there’s no cost. You’re sending emails, so you don’t have to pay for any additional services. It requires very little setup and once it’s setup, it requires no time from the entrepreneur. Once the person signs up for the course, they are put into the email stream and then the emails, if you’re using some type of contact manager, go out in the time interval you select. Because they just get delivered automatically, there’s no additional time that you’ve spent.
The downsides are twofold. First, you really don’t have any ability to do anything live and people really like live interaction. They like to be able to ask questions and they like to really interact with you as the expert. You can’t do that with this method. Secondly, since participants complete the course on their own, there’s a likelihood that many of them may not complete all the materials because they get either tired, or they lose interest or whatever the issue might be, but usually when you leave people on their own to do a course, they only make it part way through.
With the webinar delivery, a pro is that the cost can be very minimal or even zero. A lot of people use free conference services such asFreeConferenceHD.com and it works great. Every once in a while there are a few technical glitches, but by and large it works very well and it’s free. It requires very little setup and it can be done live or recorded so that’s a real advantage for the entrepreneur as well as the clients. You can pre-record the sessions, or do the session live and then take questions and provide answers and facilitate discussion at the end of each session, so that’s certainly an advantage.
On the downside, participant material has to be sent separately, so if you’re going to send worksheets, exercises or assignments, you have to send those by email. It’s difficult sometimes to monitor who exactly is in each session and who’s not. So, that’s a little bit tricky for the entrepreneur. The biggest downside of webinar delivery is if you’re doing it live, you have to be available at the given time every week to do it, which puts a specific demand on your schedule
With the online delivery platform, there’s some cost involved, and it requires some set up, so those are downsides. The cost can be as low as $30 a month, but it does go up from there depending on what kind of capabilities you want. The real advantages are that you can track participant progress through each of the sessions you have. Participants can proceed really at their own pace. You can make new content available either when the client needs it or on a calendar or however it might be.
Each delivery method has some great benefits, but they also have some downsides. It’s a matter of picking the one that’s really right for you and your clients.