Course Creators Weekly #43 🗓 April 19th, 2021 - A framework for Course-Market fit
Courses are complex systems with interdependent parts (levers) influencing one another.
In this article, Wes Kao presents her Course Mechanics Canvas, a framework and 12 levers you can pull on to design and deliver a cohort-based course that's uniquely yours, while following best practices from the most successful CBCs.
Here are the 12 levers:
- Number of students
- Group interaction
- Coach involvement
- Instructor involvement
- Production value
- Pre-recorded content
- Application process
- Cohort frequency
Some levers are highly interdependent and "move" together:
- Intensity, Project-driven, Group Interaction
- Number of students, coach involvement, instructor involvement
- Length and price
Some key takeaways:
- Begin with the transformation—bigger transformation = more value/leverage needed
- Binary outcomes promise bigger transformations + value than Spectrum outcomes do
- The levers you pull depend on your existing assets + constraints + personal preferences
- Start with the levers you care most about / trust your gut—you can always revise later
- Lean into your strengths, natural inclinations, and what's practical for you, not others
- In the beginning, it's OK to mimic others—you'll develop your own style over time
- The most transformational courses tend to be intensive, project-driven and interactive
- Use coaches (aka mentors) to scale your cohorts while limiting your own involvement
- The ideal length + price for a course depend on the students' perceived value of time
Whether or not you're creating a cohort-based course, it's absolutely worth checking out the article for more context, more tips, and plenty of examples/case studies that are relevant to any type of course.
The case studies are full of additional insights!
"You never want to compete with someone who's having fun and genuinely cares." —Khe Hy
- Validate your course idea through 1:1 or group coaching, if you're not doing it already
- Get a first-hand look into people's daily challenges by coaching in small group settings
- Sell something, however small it may be—it'll expose you to a whole new set of skills
- When it comes to idea validation, a single actual sale > subscriber/follower count
Julia Saxena has written a great overview of the bunch of tools you need to create and sell a cohort-based course.
- Creating your sales page: most course platforms, landing page builders, even Notion
- Accepting payments: course platforms do this, or you can use services like Gumroad
- Emailing students: newsletter tools (e.g. ConvertKit) would work—regular email too!
- Surveying students: onboard and offboard students with Google Forms, Typeform, etc
- Scheduling sessions: use a shared calendar (e.g. Google Calendar), or tools like Luma
- Hosting live sessions: Zoom is a great option—you might need the Pro plan
- Letting students interact: Slack, chat apps like Telegram, or community tools like Circle
- Hosting your content/recordings: most course platforms will do—some also use Circle
Check out Julia's atomic essay for more context and examples of tools. While you're at it, you should definitely follow her on Twitter!