Head in Hands

Anyone who’s ever tried to create an online course has hit the dreaded mid-course creation slump.

You know the slump. The cursor blinks at you from the blank page. The sunshine calls to you, “Come out and play!” The smell of sweet, sweet Spring goads you to put off ‘til tomorrow what you should be doing today. And besides, a voice from deep within your lizard brain seems to say: You don’t know what you’re doing anyway.

If  you’re like me, you face this hurdle every day with every creative endeavor.

There’s a simple way to battle these distractions, to silence the lizard brain rather than argue with it: publish your course before it’s finished.

I hear some folks cringing: “Publish it before it’s perfect? Never!”

Yes. Before you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Publish it with mis-spellings and bad grammar. Publish it with all the warts and lesions exposed. Publish it before you’ve even finished the second or third lesson. (If you’re really daring, publish it before you publish the first lesson!)

Watching people progress through your course, engaged in the content you’ve created, provides validation that you’re on the right path — and the encouragement you need to complete the course.

“…just so you know I’m only one step ahead of the first students that enrolled. 🙂 I’ve launched all my courses this way — that is — only had the first lesson completely finished and then worked on the others while the course was in progress. To me it’s highly motivating to have paying students pushing me along. And it stops the analysis paralysis syndrome.” —Marlene Hielema

In other words, by getting the content out there, you’re creating a sense of purpose: that you’re on the right track. You’re banishing most of the demons that threaten to taunt you at the mid-course mark.

What’s more, you’ll start to see what questions people have—so you can tailor future lessons to address these questions. In other words, you don’t have to do a lot of guess-work about what’s clear and what needs further exploration.

Now, before you go hit that publish button, let’s break down how this could really work for you. Over the next few days we’ll post six tips to help you embrace this daring strategy.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s ahead…

Step 1: Plan for Feedback

Step 2: Recruit Pilot Students

Step 3: Update and iterate  your content

Step 4: Weekly check-ins

Step 5: Talk to people

Step 6: Launch! And thank your pilot students

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