Information Product Development: Four Types of Home Study Courses

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Information Product Development: Four Types of Home Study Courses

by Marcia Yudkin

When you teach a class live, students are gathered together either in a physical classroom or a virtual one, and a teacher lectures or leads the students in a discussion around a sequence of topics. Unless your course concerns a sensitive issue, where students need to feel comfortable to speak their minds only to those in the group, you're smart to record your sessions and turn them into a home study course. That way, you've multiplied your earnings from the preparation you've done.

However, what type of home study course should you choose? There actually are numerous kinds.

Four Types of Home Study Courses

1. The semi-live course. When you taught a course previously and recorded it, the next time you teach it to a group, you can have the students listen to (or watch) one of the previous recordings prior to each class meeting. Then during your live sessions you can review the material, answer questions and assist participants in applying the content to their challenges. This is a hybrid of a live course and a home study course, using some canned material in conjunction with teacher-student interaction. Generally you'd run the semi-live course for the same number of weeks as for the previous live version and charge the same amount as for the live course.

Advantages for participants: Plenty of time for support and feedback during the class sessions; the class schedule provides a structure for moving through the course that's missing with the other options below

Advantages for you: Little preparation needed; a low-stress way to provide the benefits of a live course repeatedly; very high perceived value

2. Canned course with one-on-one feedback or coaching. Here you offer a course recorded on audio or video or via a step-by-step text manual. Besides consuming the lessons, your students can submit homework assignments to you for feedback or have their questions and concerns addressed via personal emails or telephone coaching calls. Many instructors report that most enrollees do not take full advantage of the feedback or coaching option.

Advantages for participants: Can be sure they're on track in mastering the material and applying it to their goals

Advantages for you: High perceived value and the ability to charge much more for this kind of course than for types 3 or 4 below; small time commitment needed to supply the coaching or feedback promised

3. Canned course with interactive exercises. Participants in this kind of course go through it on their own but also have the opportunity to check their progress and mastery, through quizzes with answers provided or homework assignments that they can compare to typical or ideal answers.

Advantages for participants: Opportunities to determine whether or not they're truly mastering the ideas and skills in the course

Advantages for you: No time of yours needed beyond selling the course

4. Canned course with no feedback or interaction. You provide the learning materials that buyers go through completely on their own. They need the greatest amount of self-discipline to complete this kind of course, and it lacks the engagement factor of types 1, 2 and 3 above.

Advantages for participants: For some, a familiar, straightforward learning opportunity

Advantages for you: Easiest to prepare; sell it and you're done

Based on my experiences teaching live courses and selling all the home study permutations above, I can tell you that the semi-live course generates by far the greatest level of customer satisfaction and the lowest refund rate. On the other hand, if you'd like to sell the most number of courses at the most reasonable price, the completely canned course wins, while offering students a reasonably good learning experience.

The author of 15 books and nine multimedia home study courses, Marcia Yudkin has been selling information in one form or another since 1981. Download a free recording of her answers to the most commonly asked questions about information marketing by entering your information into the privacy-assured request box at Information Marketing Strategies, Courses and Resources from*Marcia Yudkin .
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