Are Online Courses the New Get Rich Quick Scheme?

Growing up as a kid I’m sure you can remember situations when you asked your parents “How do you spell this?” or “What does this mean?” Only for them to give the iconic response of “Go look it up.”

As a kid that’s never the response you are looking for, rather you want the answer immediately with minimum or no effort.

Your parent’s always intended for you to take the longer road with hard work and putting in maximum effort because in the end it will produce greater results. I understood this, when urging my mother to purchase Mega Speed Reading VHS/cassette lessons. The desire was to read faster without having to put in the work. It’s what we call the “Magic Bullet”. A wonderful remedy to save you from the pain.

The quick way to solve your problem.

And at some point of your life you will be searching for it.

Just before Thanksgiving holiday, a website broker of sorts for online courses held an annual summit. Six days of “Setting Yourself Up for Immediate Success Through Creating Online Courses.” All the guest speakers (course creators themselves) are possibly making on average $1,000 a day, if not more, off of course sells. Each persuading you that you can accomplish the same thing if you just follow my “winning formula.”

As the late Billy May’s would say, “But wait there’s more…”

Not only will you get my “winning formula” but I’ll throw in access to my Facebook group, recordings of my Q&A sessions, workshop starter kit and my 20-page workbook. All valued at $470 but will give it away for the introductory offer of $250. Hurry fast because this deal won’t last!

Doesn’t that sound like an “As Seen On TV” infomercial. A magical product with supposed life-altering results?

Having purchased one of these courses, it didn’t reveal any new information that was not readily available on the internet. Yes, there were some sprinkles of useful information but nothing that you couldn’t figure out on your own overtime or possibly discovered through trial and error.

Once the order confirmation came through, no additional engagement emails or checkups were sent. The only time I saw the course teacher was when I received emails to participate in live webinars. All with the sole purpose of gathering sign-ups and pitching other upcoming courses.

Filled with buyer’s remorse due to lack of intimacy or personal touch from the course teacher. My inbox began to fill with frequent email automations that seemed cold and sterile, again lacking any serious type of personal touch. Once I completed the course, I still did not receive a thank you.

The material that was being pushed in the summit by guest speakers seem to lean toward persuading the audience members to create their own courses. Funneling them into paying the broker site to host their upcoming or soon to be course. Which means cha-ching for the broker site hosting all the content. Apparently, the entire point of the summit.

Maybe there is a difference between random crowdsourced courses and actual e-learning?

Could it be, one is about making infomercial-like courses with the sole purpose of turning a big profit? The other is geared towards actual classroom style e-learning, helping users achieve new skills with the intent to teach and furthering one’s career.

You tell me?

Especially when you consider that the online learning industry was poised to make $107 billion in 2015, per forbes.com.

The better question to ask yourself is, are these course teachers or just salespeople masquerading as one!?

Especially when you consider that the average online course completion rate is only between 2–10%.

Why should they care about intimacy, personal touch or the completion rates of their courses when they are making over $50,000 a month!

They just “Set it and Forget it!”

If you see a course that interest you, here are a few things to consider before purchasing:

  • Pressure Cooker
    The notion that this deal will not last. Better known as the “Act now before you lose this rare opportunity”, is a red flag. Anyone that considers themselves to be a course teacher does not hold knowledge hostage with a set of ransom demands.
  • Check the Resumes
    This is applicable to everything. In this case you want to learn from experienced individuals with an excellent track record prior to selling courses. Not individuals that created courses as a means to an end to stack up on the “Almighty Dollar.”
  • Brand Intimacy
    The relationship between students and the course teacher is key. Look for how the teacher engages his/her students and the frequency of that engagement. Whether it’s webinars, personalized thank you emails, give backs, etc… Beyond just replies, comments and live streams every blue moon. That intimacy should transcend purchase, usage and loyalty.

A much needed idea for all course teachers to apply is “Don’t sacrifice short-term revenue for building long-term value”. A very insightful principle by Bram Kanstein.

This growing industry is already being affected by individuals looking for short-term revenue goals. Making it hard for long-term value building teachers to overcome skepticism left behind by the previous instructors and the “magic bullets” students intend to receive by taking these courses. Not every course teacher fits that mold. People like Ryan Robinson and a few others aim towards building relationships.

Meaningful relationships have more value than an immediate buck. I have always prided myself and the success of my business upon this very notion.

Although, I never got the hang of mega speed reading, maybe that was a valuable lesson I needed to learn. There are no shortcuts, no quick solutions or no “magic bullets” for success. Just hard work, failure… and lots of trial and error.

Remember, everything that glitters ain’t gold!

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