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[Making Of… #3] I’m Going All-In With These

The Making Of An Online Course Part 3

In 2021 I made a new course, From WordPress To Webflow. This post is one of a series of behind-the-scenes emails I wrote as I went along, exclusively for my email list (start here).

In my last post, I mentioned I’d decided on six core teaching concepts that I want to go ‘all in’ on when planning and creating the new Webflow course.

This was especially after experimenting with some new approaches in the most recent live training series I ran.

I’ll look at each of these in more depth in later emails.

But briefly, for now….

(By the way: you might think a lot of this stuff is obvious, durr! And it is. None of this is earth-shattering. But a lot of online tech-course creators sure miss this stuff, including me!)

1. Short videos

It might sound obvious, but I’m more convinced than ever that short videos are the way to go for tech-teaching. And by short, I mean under 10 minutes long, max. The shorter, the better.

‘Lots of short videos’ beat ‘fewer longer videos’, pretty much every time.

I’ll share next time a few of the reasons why this is the case.

And I’ll also soon share what I’ve learnt experimenting with video length over several courses now, and how that impacts planning the course structure.

2. Editing

With the live training series I just ran, there was no real chance for editing the video.

And that experience made me realise afterwards there are certain simple editing techniques that I believe are crucial and non-negotiable for quality tech-teaching. More on this soon too.

3. Story

You’re probably sick to death of people telling you how important story-telling is for marketing.

Yes, we humans the world over are attracted to stories and timeless story structures.

This is because stories help us make sense of the world.

Plus, stories appeal to our emotions… and emotions rule our actions waaaay more than the conscious, logical part of our brains.

But story-telling isn’t just for marketing. I’m convinced it’s an essential component for an effective and engaging online tech course too.

I’ll share soon how I’m planning to implement this in the new course I’m making.

4. Action

A great learning experience isn’t about what your students know afterwards… it’s about what they can DO that they couldn’t do before.

And do is the operative word here.

I admit, in the recent live Webflow training series, I took my eye off the ball on this a little, tending to fall back on teaching what I know about Webflow, rather than focusing on action and tangible results.

The new course is going to relentlessly focus on the students taking action. And lots of it.

5. Mapping action to concepts

This ties into point 4 above.

Put simply: there are (at least) two different dimensions to carefully balance in an online tech-course, both at the same time.

On the one hand, there are the ‘concepts’—the stuff your students need to know to achieve transformation you’ve promised.

An example of this in Webflow would be learning how to use CSS Grid, or how to use combo classes.

And on the other hand, there are the ‘actions’ your students need to take, in order to learn those concepts.

No-one really cares about the concepts… but they do care about what mastering those concepts allows them to do—like building a cool hero header design, or creating websites really quickly, for example.

The trick is to focus the ‘story’ on the action, on the cool stuff they care about… but design the action to ensure they learn and USE the key concepts along the way.

More on this shortly too.

6. Focus on solving the core problem and transformation

This ties in with some of the points above – there’s a bit of crossover for sure.

This is all about being ultra-clear on the core problem your course is solving… and equally clear on the exact transformation you’re promising.

It’s tempting to want to make a course to tell your students EVERYTHING you know about your area of expertise, to download your brain into theirs.

And in fact, most online tech-courses are kinda like that.

This is a big mistake though. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past, and again, it’s something I feel I missed the mark on with the recent live training series I did.

(Hey, it wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound! Lots of people say they enjoyed the training. I’m just being hyper-critical to learn the most from the experience).

So with the new Webflow course, I’ve resolved to relentlessly focus on solving a clearly defined problem only, and relate the course at all stages to the promised transformation. Not a ‘here’s everything I know about Webflow’ deal.

Anyway, next, I’ll share a few practical details of me preparing for the course, like an essential funky logo. 😜