In this episode:
Interview – Using WordPress to run your online course with Chris Badgett from Lifter LMS
It’s all the rage isn’t it? Set up an online course and teach the world about the things you know! You’ve seen the Facebook ads. You might even have a friend who’s done this successfully too. They’ve sat down and thought about all the great content they will teach to their students, made some videos, created some handouts, even devised some tests that the students will have to complete to graduate. But then the daunting question arises… how do I actually get this online? What do I need to do to turn my online course idea into a reality?
The answer is that you need an LMS – Learning Management System.
After I get over the fact that Chris started to work on Lifter LMS whilst driving Huskies around Alaska, we then get into it. He stresses that and LMS is really about Managing the learning. You have to come up with the content and the LMS will make sure that it’s put in front of your students in a way that makes it easy for them to progress from the beginning of your course, right to the very end.
Think of it like a University. You don’t show up on day one and receive a heap of paper and be expected to carry on from then on your own! No, someone tells you where you have to go, what you need to study, what you need to do next, and next and guide you step by step until you’re ready to take the final test. That’s what an LMS does. It structures the students journey so they get the most out of your course and then tell all their friends about how great it was and you get more students!
WordPress is a great platform to build all on top of, what with all the user permissions, Custom Post Types and all that jazz. It’s got all the parts you need. But, there are a whole heap of SaaS platforms out there that have LMS functionality, why not just use one of those? It comes back to why you started to use WordPress in the first place. It’s because you own the system, you can do what you like with it and there are no hidden costs.
Chris gives us some top tips about how to create content that will ensure that your course is popular:
- Don’t build a resource course. The tendency is to make the course as massive as possible. There’s a place for this, but most learners want to learn a process, something that will change their behaviour, not something that will overload them with every single thing you know about a subject.
- Be careful to think carefully about the order you do things when creating your course. As an expert, build a community first and then build the course to look after your community.
- The ‘five hats problem of course creators’. You have to be five people at once, or build a team which can handle the five areas… which are, you have to be an expert, be a teacher, be a technologist, be a community builder and finally be an entrepreneur. That’s a lot of hats to wear! So get honest about what ‘you’ can really do, and perhaps think about getting other people on board for the areas that are not your strengths.
Chris has been in this field for years and knows his stuff. He’s got heaps of great advice for you. There’s many areas that you might not have considered.
He explains how you can use Lifter to walk you through setting up your course; how course components can be changed over time and how you can limit the content that your students see.
It’s a great podcast for anyone looking to use WordPress as the base for their online course.