August 25th, 2022 LearnDash Tips

You’ve done it: You’ve created every content page, uploaded every video, posted all quizzes. Your online course is ready to launch. But how do you figure out who wants to enroll?

Enter mini courses. A mini course is a tightly-focused course on a single subject. Typically two to three hours in length, a mini course focuses on helping your audience solve a specific problem or achieve one result. 

A free mini course is the perfect little tool to build an email list and determine who is interested in your full, paid course. Plus, building a mini-course doesn’t require much effort. You can pull from your existing content to create a free mini course that entices users to purchase the full thing. 

We’ve narrowed down the best approach to rolling out a mini course depending on your needs: First, when you need to generate leads, and a second approach for when you need to validate a course idea.

Generate leads for a paid course.

A mini course is a bona fide lead magnet. Offering sample content is one of the best ways to collect email addresses of folks who will want your full course. 

Think about it: If people aren’t willing to hand over an e-mail address for your mini course, it’s unlikely they will pay for a full course on the same topic.

Here are a few ways to gather those leads by first driving interest in your mini course.

  • Create a landing page with an opt-in to the free mini-course. Here are some tips for creating an excellent landing page that converts. 
  • Feature your mini course in your next newsletter or product update. 
  • Create a segment of your existing email list and ask those folks directly if they’re interested in taking your mini course. 
  • Share your mini course widely on social media and join in conversations where mentioning your mini course is relevant.                                             
  • Write a blog post on your site or a guest post on another site that explains a problem your mini course will solve. Include a call to action to enroll. 

Once your audience has gotten a taste of your content through a mini course, they’re more likely to be interested in the full product. By offering a bit for free, you can hook your audience and increase conversion rates.

Validate your course idea.

You can also think of a mini course as “testing the waters” for a new course concept.  

Validation is valuable if you’re new to course creation or if you’re taking an offline business into an online space. There are plenty of guides covering proven methods to building a course, but it takes time and patience to get there. Build your confidence as a course creator by starting with a mini course. 

To start, you can send out your mini course to a small batch of interested people. Think of it as an “exclusive first look” and ask for feedback before launching. A small launch also allows you to source testimonials for a future landing page where you can reach more learners.  

At the end of your mini course, let folks give feedback on your course content. You can even include a place for feedback as a quick quiz or open-ended essay question right in your mini course by using the LearnDash quiz builder

Don’t be shy — ask users directly if they’d pay for the full course. After all, this is the value of the mini course! If learners are enthusiastic, you could even consider offering a referral code and creating a mini-ambassador program for the full course. You could also incentivize mini course students by offering them an exclusive discount on the full course.

Build a mini course with LearnDash.

Before you get started, make sure that you’ve found a segment of your existing course that will make for a good mini course. Remember, you want to make your mini course highly specific and relevant to your students’ goals. There needs to be a clear transformation or takeaway from the mini course, such as a micro-certification or a valuable download.

There are a few ways to get your mini course started:   

Build a New Course 

You can build your mini course as an entirely new course: 

  • Navigate to LEARNDASH LMS > COURSES.
  • Click the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
  • Click the “Builder” tab in the top navigation bar.

Mini courses are typically only one section, so you can skip the section builder and move right along to adding your lesson. 

To repurpose an existing lesson, use the “Lessons” box in the sidebar. Click “View all” or use the search box to find a specific lesson by title. Hover over a lesson in the lesson box and click the “Add” button. This will add the lesson to your mini course.

Tip: Shared Course Steps must be enabled for existing lessons, topics, and quizzes to be available for selection.

Once you’ve added the lesson, you can change the title and content as needed to fit the theme or goal of your mini course.  You can drag and drop more topics, add a quiz, and so on until your mini course feels complete. 

Want to see it in action? Watch us build and launch a course on LearnDash in under ten minutes:

Use the Course Creation Wizard 

Some mini courses rely on video content to engage. You can easily import a YouTube video or playlist as the basis of your mini course with the LearnDash course creation wizard. Here’s a quick video on how the Course Creation Wizard works:

After uploading your video(s), you can adjust your settings and configure your mini course exactly. Make sure to set your mini course to “free” instead of “open” to require an email registration touchpoint.  

Not using LearnDash yet? Give the LearnDash demo a try to see how a free mini course could work for your marketing strategy. You can explore LearnDash both as a learner and as course creator by signing up for the demo. 

Rachel Kolman photo

About Rachel Kolman

Rachel Kolman is a Content Specialist for StellarWP. She has over 10 years of experience writing and editing for a variety of clients and brands. With an MFA in Creative Writing, Rachel finds new ways to use language to tell a story. She is passionate about education, social change, pop culture, and video games. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and two cats.

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