September 12th, 2016 Business


One of the biggest obstacles people face when creating an online course is actually creating the content. The process takes months, and it’s easy to underestimate the time it will take so it’s easy to “burn out”.

Take into consideration that you also have to be actively marketing your program and the entire project can become overwhelming. Ultimately, the project ends and the course is never created or sold.

This doesn’t mean that the course ideas is a bad one. In fact, many courses that don’t see the light of day are great ideas and would do very well. In the end it’s a matter of execution.

What do you do in this case?

Well, you could set up regular intervals to create your course, understanding that the process requires consistency and dedication. Taking this deliberate process can yield tremendous results.

But there may also be another option.

You may have heard of crowdsourcing before in the context of fundraising and software development (i.e. open-source coding with multiple contributors). Wikipedia takes a crowdsource approach to its articles. The concept has proven to be extremely powerful when done correctly.

Why not use this same approach for creating an online course?

Imagine a scenario where you have a public repository available so that people can contribute to different lessons and topics of your course. You could decrease the time to develop the course and at the same time form connections with other industry professionals. Contributors would also be likely to help promote the course once it was complete.

Since you would be the project coordinator you could ultimately decide what makes it into the course and what does not. Offering incentives for contributions could help as well. For example, allow contributors to get credit for their contribution or even work out some form of revenue share once the course is live.

Setting up something like this would take effort on your end, but in a different way than creating the course content. You would need to get the word out to others in your industry about the project and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. You may be surprised at the amount of interest. People love the idea of working together to accomplish a common goal.

You could allow the course to be free and monetize in other ways (perhaps just collect email addresses at first so you can build a list). If your course turns out to be the biggest resource in its topic area then you will likely get a lot of interest over time. In addition, you will gain notoriety among your peers for helping to lead such a project. Your network will grow and likely other opportunities will arise.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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G’day Justin

Another good post and we are thinking on the same page. I love this idea – it is a great extension of my plans for Personal Learning and Teaching Portals. I have posted on Facebook about the methodology into which your idea of crowdsourcing fits and I will reference it in future writing with your name on it :-). I know you will be interested in the model of curriculum development I am describing with Organic Learning and Teaching as a concept. Your Learndash is a foundational pillar of it so to speak

Great Allan! Do report back on how it is going 🙂

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