Easy ways to add e.learning to your presentations
If you're a presenter, thought leader or infopreneur, I'm sure you've already heard about "e-learning", and you might even be doing some of it already. Unfortunately, I find many people are intimidated by the idea, even if they know they "should" be doing something about it.
The fact is, we Australians have a long and proud history with e-learning, going way back to 1948, when the Royal Flying Doctor Service first broadcast school lessons to rural kids, which led to the School of the Air being officially formed a few years later.
Of course, it wasn't called "e-learning" at the time! But it's the same thing - whether we call it e-learning, distance learning, remote education or correspondence courses. In fact, technology has made this easier, not more difficult.
If you're getting started, don't think you have to transform your entire business. The trick is to use bits and pieces of it in your existing programs. This makes it an easy proposition for your clients and audiences (you're not asking them to, say, attend a webinar instead of a workshop); and it takes the pressure off you to create an entirely electronic version of your program.
So in this article I'm going to show you five easy ways to add e-learning to your presentations.
- Pre-Event Survey
When was the last time you asked your audiences what they would most like to learn from a presentation (I mean, before the presentation, not as an ice breaker in the first 10 minutes)? This is so easy to do, and so effective in building rapport, and yet it's so rarely done.
You don't have to build a big 20-question survey. Just send them an e-mail and ask them to reply with their most burning questions. Even if you don't have access to the mailing list yourself, you can ask the event organiser to send the e-mail on your behalf.
- Password-Protected Area on Website
Give your audience access to private follow-up material on your Web site.
For example, when I run my Build Your Web Site In Two Days Boot Camp, we cover a lot of material in the two days. To help reinforce the learning, I've got five pages of video tutorials for the attendees to refer to, in a private area of the Web site. This includes things like adding new pages, changing the menus, adding products to the shopping cart, sending newsletters, and so on. This is very useful for them, because they might have missed it the first time, or might simply have forgotten by the time they come around to doing it again.
You don't have to go to this extent, of course. It might be sufficient to just give them a copy of your PowerPoint/Keynote slides and an electronic version of your handout. Even that alone increases the perceived value of your program.
- Follow-Up E-mail Course
The next step up from the password-protected area is the scheduled series of e-mails, sent at intervals (usually weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to reinforce what you taught in your presentation. Again, this doesn't necessarily have to be new material; it might simply be a series of reminders to participants to take action.
Some participants (and clients!) will find this extremely valuable. They won't necessarily be disciplined enough to do the work if left to their own devices; but they will happily do so if prompted.
I'm finding this myself with the two mentoring programs I'm currently doing: David Penglase's sales program for infopreneurs, and Michael Yardney's wealth creation program. Both David and Michael send me regular e-mails with video, downloads and exercises; and the fact I do get them regularly helps me stay on track.
- E-mail Coaching
For even greater value, offer participants access to you by e-mail - say, for 12 months after the program.
I'm suggesting e-mail because, for most of us, it will be the most convenient option for you. You don't have to be on call at all times, you can do appropriate research before replying, you can take your time composing high-quality replies, and the e-mail exchanges can be filed away for later use as stories and case studies.
You'll probably also find that very few participants will take up the offer, so don't worry about being flooded with questions. The few who do, though, will genuinely appreciate the extra value in having this option available.
- Private Discussion Forum
The first four ideas are about giving participants better access to you. But remember they can learn from other participants as well, and the easiest way to do this is with a private discussion forum.
If you're running a membership site with, say, Ning, you can create private groups within the site for each group of attendees. If you're not, you can use a service like Wiggio for the same purpose. With this sort of service, participants can share in discussions, upload files, e-mail each other, and more.
Gihan Perera CSP
About Gihan Perera
Gihan Perera is an entrepreneur, business consultant, speaker, mentor, author and interviewer. In 1997, when the Web was young, spam was just a luncheon meat, and Google wasn't even a twinkle in its owners' eyes, Gihan founded First Step Communications, one of Australia's earliest Web design businesses. Since that time, it's grown to include clients in every continent (except Antarctica).