In this post, I am going to share with you the four course types or models that online course creators in the new knowledge economy are creating for every discipline under the sun. You name it there will be someone somewhere who has developed an online course.
There’s still plenty of room for your expertise in the field of fashion so there’s every opportunity for you to dominate your niche and be known for your expertise and as the go-to person for help in your field.
That’s why I’m so excited to have enrolled so many people in our new free course for fashion subject experts. I’ll tell you more about that later in this post.
For now though here are the four types you are going to learn about:
1. Entry Level Courses
2. Signature Courses
3. Coaching and Mentoring Models
4. Membership Models
So here goes. Heads down. No need to take notes I’ll give them to you later.
Entry level courses are smaller, focussed courses that deal with one key problem or challenge within the course lessons. There may be several lessons but there is only one key topic that is being covered.
For example, our course on how to plan your course effectively, deals with only one challenge, planning. Yes, there are several lessons but we're focussed specifically on planning.
I recommend you begin with an entry-level course if creating online courses is new for you. That way you are less likely to become overwhelmed with the process and you can learn the basics before you go on to create a more substantial signature course later. You can see it makes sense to prove your ability and learn the process of course development with an entry-level course before you go and build a more complex one.
Entry level courses are typically for people that are beginning to learn a topic. For example, you provide an entry-level course for people wanting to learn how to use a sewing machine so you provide a course about the general features of sewing machines and how to choose the best one. Then a signature course could go on to teach them about how to use all the features, how to thread the needle, stitch types etc.
An entry-level course usually has around 3 - 5 lessons related to one topic although in this course I’ve added a few more.
This means the student can master that topic quickly and get results immediately. The smaller the course, the less time it takes to develop and the smaller the fee is that you charge your students.
One of the great benefits to the student of an entry-level course is that they provide quick wins for both you and your students.
They typically have lessons that take 5 - 20 minutes to complete and when a video is included these are likely to have an optimum engagement when they are around 7 minutes long. So you shouldn’t be thinking that your course needs to have hours and hours of video lessons.
When you create an entry-level course you are creating a product that has a simple structure and limited content which avoids overwhelming both the student taking the course and you when developing it.
Signature courses, on the other hand, are much broader and deal with many more aspects of a challenge. They are more in-depth, covering many more topics about the subject in much more detail.
They help the student to master a complete subject from start to finish. Which obviously means they need to contain lots of information about the subject and not only take the student longer to take but it takes you longer to develop the course.
When it comes to the price of your signature course you’ll be able to charge more because you are providing a greater transformation and enabling the student to master a complete subject.
Built into your pricing will also be the need to offer more support because generally speaking signature courses require more support.
Let's now go back to the example of learning to sew using a domestic sewing machine and see how the two types of courses would differ in what you might offer as content to illustrate the differences between these first two types of course a bit further.
Let’s start with an example of a signature level course on how to use a domestic sewing machine. Your signature course is going to take them through everything they need to know from complete beginner through to a competent user. It could cover things like:
So you can see that a course like this is going to take quite some time to develop and will contain several lessons for each of the topics covered.
But of course, there is a starting point for the student on their journey to become a competent sewer. And that is the topic called "Basic features of a sewing machine and what they do." This would be a great topic to use for your entry-level course.
So rather than design your signature course first with everything in it, you start by offering your entry-level course first. That way you get to practice your course development skills, learning the process on something more manageable and without getting overwhelmed with everything that you need to do and learn yourself.
Whilst you promote your entry-level course and start getting sales coming in you can then begin working on your signature course.
Ultimately you then want to be promoting your signature course to the students who have already bought and completed the first step in their journey with your entry-level course.
These courses will be very similar to the signature courses but will include live interaction with the tutor/coach by way of live webinars, coaching calls and online chat where students get a chance to ask questions of the tutor or coach and get instant personalised feedback.
This personalised interaction helps learning and prevents or reduces the risk of the student backsliding and not finishing their course and achieving the outcomes and transformation they were expecting.
Naturally due to the more involved input from the tutor or coach these courses are more expensive and can run into $2000 dollars or more.
The effect of these courses on the student is more powerful and more transformational as they are receiving direct support from you, the expert in your field.
Think of this model as being like Netflix. Students pay a flat monthly fee for access to your content for as long as they want. The value of the content increases as you add new material each week or month. When the student no longer wants access they cancel their membership and no longer see what they previously paid for.
This is a great model when you have quantities of material that can be converted into multiple standard courses. Then, instead of selling them singly you make them all accessible to your students at a set monthly rate just like Netflix with films.
So if you are a lecturer or trainer, college or institution that has lots of material from live workshops that have been recorded and is available in digital format then it’s great for a membership model.
To get you started I am offering a free course called How to Plan Your Online Fashion Course Effectively.
It takes you through everything you need to know to get started planning your first course. Simply click that big red button below to get started. There is no need to submit any card details and there are no hidden charges. It’s totally free. Just add your name and email address to get instant access.
Cheryl Gregory is the Founder of The Fashion Student Hub, a marketplace for selling online fashion courses, and We Teach Fashion teaching fashion subject experts how to create and promote their own online courses, generate revenue and serve the growing need for online education in the fashion sector.
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