Planning Online Courses – Do You Know Your Audience?

Posted on September 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Who are you creating your courses for? Do you know your Audience?

In the film, Field of Dreams, the tag line was “If you build it, they will come” That might work with two teams of long dead baseball players, but unfortunately this is not a good strategy for online courses

You need to know who your audience are. The image you create of your ideal student is called an Avatar – nothing to do with that film either! This is a profile that you create based on what you know of the type of people who will be taking you course.

How do you find this out – is the next obvious question. Simple. Speak to them and ask them. My audience for my online courses about creating online courses is less demographically specific and does not have a gender bias.

On the whole these are people 15 to 50 who are entrepreneurial, creative, expert, smart. They can come from any part of the world – my courses reach 164 countries.

Start listening to your audience. Ask them questions. Create messaging dialogues. Organise Skype calls. Get under their skin.

Find out who they are.

I ask my students at the start of my courses to introduce themselves. This helps me to understand a little more about them and when they do leave a message in the course, it’s a great opportunity for me to ask them a question and keep the discussion going.

This information is very powerful.

When you talk with them or message with them start looking for key phrases of information about their struggles, motivations, goals, ambitions and objectives. These pieces of information are golden and will be particularly valuable when we come to discuss the next section – Problems.

Do not be afraid to niche your audience down.

By being very specific about your audience, you will resonate with them. If you keep your definition very broad, in order to capture a wide audience, you will resonate with no-one. When you start it is better to focus on one niche but as time goes on you can address multiple niches with your courses.

Try to create an outline written profile of your Avatar.

Even give them a name. Who are they married to or in a partnership with? Do they have children? Where do they live? What is their home like? What is their income? Do they have a car? The more you can fill out this profile, the more you can get to know them.

When you create your courses for them, it is much easier to feel that you are speaking directly to them, engaging with them. Although you are making courses for hundreds, if not thousands, of students, it is still a very personal method of transmitting knowledge. In the course there are only ever two people. You, the instructor, and the student and the more you can make your courses feel intimate and personal, the better will be the student experience.

This is one of the reasons I believe that Alun Hill is so successful. He works very hard to answer all the questions and discussions with his students and when you take his courses, you feel as if he is really talking directly to you. He does not lecture in the traditional sense of the word, he communicates the information you need to know in a very relaxed and no nonsense way that makes you feel that you know him as well as he seems to know you.

This is not an accident nor is it easy to do well. Many courses I have taken have seemed as if the instructor was delivering information to a disembodied spirit somewhere. Learn from this by really getting to know your audience and you will create better courses.

So, I strongly recommend that before you start creating your courses, you spend the time making sure that you know WHO you are creating them for!

Online Courses – Keeping IT Up-To-Date

Posted on September 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

Basic school and college education seldom prepares us for the technical skills required for a job. The workplace today is a network of highly specialized functions. Some of the broad functions are manufacture, marketing, advertising, finance, human relations, and Information Technology.

There are many online ‘schools’ and ‘colleges’ which offer certificate study courses of prevailing systems in all areas of work be it accounting, project management, digital marketing and information technology specific courses like SAP training and career courses.

If one wants to remain relevant in the workplace, it makes sense to stay updated on all the latest developments in work. Taking short certificate courses from time to time while you are working is a ready option and a very good one. These courses can be done in the comfort of your home, through the internet which also is the source of study material, apart from being a virtual classroom and exam center!

One course which would benefit anybody, not necessarily an accountant is on bookkeeping and accounting. It helps to read balance sheets of your own company, and know its financial status which is of importance to you as an employee.

Digital marketing, SEO, Project management are important courses for the older generation to get up-to-date with the present-day marketing principles like digital marketing and search engine optimization.

An institute offering these degrees slowly builds up its reputation over the years of providing consistently good and relevant study material. Reviews of students who have passed the courses earlier are good reference points.

IT – The Benefits of Additional Training

Most businesses have IT present in all processes of all the departments. IT development itself is an industry, lending itself to all sectors of manufacturing and service industry of a country.

It makes absolute sense then, to acquire skills to thrive in such an IT dominated job scenario. As knowledge increases and processes become more sophisticated, the knowledge bank of the world is piling up exponentially with volumes of new information – which is available to us for study and application.

What are some Information Technology Courses and what are their applications?

There are millions of courses available online which are IT related.

CCNA – an IT certification from CISCO, which certifies a Cisco Certified Network Administrator of associate level, which teaches to install, configure, and operate LAN, WAN, and dial access service for medium sized networks.

SAP – This leader in business applications of software, provides software and technology solutions or enterprise resource planning to all businesses in all industries in all spheres of activity.

MCSE – Microsoft gives certification in server infrastructure, windows server, or even a Microsoft Office specialist certification. This is helping to learn the use of the wide array of Microsoft products.

There are locally designed courses that offer certification in programming, web support, web design, software applications, web page design, java, computer information management, six sigma certifications, ICT software, Game development, ethical hacking etc.

Some academic online courses offer IT education under heads like Business information, business intelligence, IT security, Computer security, Technology and, Networks.

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How to Estimate Home Building Cost?

Posted on September 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

There are many factors that go into home building costs and it can be huge task to even come out with an estimate.

The quickest way to estimate home building costs is to find similar houses in the area that has the same overall look and size of one that you want to build. Then take the selling price, minus the cost of the land and you will have a rough and quick estimate of the construction cost. This is, of course not an exact science, but by following this basic rule you will be able to get a rough estimate.

If the house that you are comparing with was built a few years ago, then you should factor in the appreciation cost due to increase in the cost of labor and materials at between 2 to 5% per annum.

Home building costs can be further influence by the interior feature of the home. Let’s say you want a completely furnished basement and the house than you are using as a reference does not. You should factor this into the cost estimate. A little here and there can add up to thousands of dollars.

Another way is to seek the help of a construction company. If you show them the type of house that you are interested in they should be able to respond to you with a quick estimate. Usually, due to expertise and experience, their estimate can be quite close to the actual building cost.

What if the house that you plan to build is different from what is available in your vicinity? Here is a tip. Go online and type in the terms ‘home plans’ or ‘house plans’. You will find many sites that offer thousands of house plans. You can search by type, size, number of rooms etc and for a small price you can download the blueprint. Then ask your friendly construction company to give you an estimate.

Yet another way is to use home building kits. Again go online and type in ‘home building kits’. There are many companies offering home building kits than contains everything (except labor) that you need to build a house. Then ask your construction company to quote for labor charges. Labor charges constitute a significant portion of the cost of building your own home and if you have the expertise, using a home building kit and building it yourself can reduce your estimate significantly.

No matter how precise or detail oriented you are in the planning stages, you must keep in that there may be an unexpected cost overrun. It is a safe practice to put away about 10 or even 15 % for contingency to ensure that you have the money to cover any overrun.

Home building costs can often times be very difficult to pinpoint. But if you use some of the methods described above, and by being precise and detail oriented, you will be able to come up with a very close estimate on your home building costs.

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