A new paradigm is about to rock the online courses world, and if you don’t adapt, you’re going to be left behind.
Online courses haven’t changed much in the last 10 years — but a new era is starting right now.
The days are ending where you can just throw up a list of a dozen videos and charge thousands of dollars for it. That worked in 2012, but not in 2022 and beyond.
Because information is not enough.
Information is free and abundant all over the internet.
What people want now is help implementing the information and turning it into transformation.
They want support, connection to other students and instructors, live events like office hours and Q&As, and a community of like minded people on the same shared mission to transform their lives – their tribe.
And the best way to deliver this is via a CPC — a Community-Powered Course.
What are CPCs
Not to be confused with CBC — Cohort-Based Courses — which have been growing in popularity over the last few years.
These new CPCs — Community-Powered Courses — stand in stark contrast to most traditional online courses out there today, or as I like to call them, ‘Old School’ courses.
CPCs bring all of your content, courses and community into one place to create a holistic learning journey that your members experience over time to achieve their dream outcomes of your program.
The Old Way vs the New Way
Old School Courses
- On-demand (nothing live)
- Isolating (just you alone, no connection to anyone else)
- Low completion rate (no accountability or support)
- Long list of videos to watch and hopefully you can implement by yourself
- You must be highly focused and disciplined since it’s all on you. No one cares if you show up or drop off.
- Mixture of on-demand and live content
- Community of others on the same shared journey
- High completion rates due to support, motivation, accountability
- Holistic approach to learning: videos, live Q&A, community discussions, challenges, coaching, etc.
- Course owners are more like coaches and care deeply about their students achieving success and will continue to create content or answer questions to help students move forward
Why CPCs are better for everyone
For you the business owner
For you, the expert course creator/coach, CPCs will give you several benefits over the old school course business model.
1. Charge more money
You can charge more money for your program and offer different tiers of service because you are creating way more value for your customers.
2. Create recurring subscription revenue
Now you can create recurring revenue by offering ongoing support via the community and live events. This wasn’t possible before because no one would pay a subscription to retain access just to your course videos.
3. Create faster, get feedback, iterate
You don’t have to spend a year in a cave building a masterpiece, then release it to the world to see what they think (which is a terrible model for building modern digital products). You build as you go and continuously create and add value to your community, get feedback, iterate and begin again. Your program becomes more of a living entity that adapts to what your students need than a set-in-stone product that you made in isolation.
4. More student success
You generate way more student success and testimonials because you see the results happening in real time in your community. You can then share these results in your marketing which will generate more demand and customers, creating a virtuous cycle.
For your students
For your students, the benefits are immense as well.
People are craving connection. We know more about people on the other side of the world who share our same interests than we do about our next door neighbors. Private online communities who share a common vision and collective journey are an ideal place for people to create meaningful connections and relationships.
People don’t just want information, they want to implement and get results. And when you start to implement, problems crop up. Questions you hadn’t thought of before. Setbacks. Unexpected outcomes.
How do students deal with these problems in an Old School course? It’s hard.
How do students deal with these problems in a CPC? It’s ‘easy’.
They join the weekly office hours calls. They post in the community spaces. They DM the instructor/coach for advice. They jump on a 1-1 call. They reach out to their accountability partner. The list goes on and on and on.
Imagine how valuable that is to them instead of ‘just rewatch the videos’.
Transformation is a journey, and everyone starts in a different place. The CPC model assists your students from the beginning all the way to the end.
As your members take each step and learn new skills, new challenges arise that they hadn’t experienced before. Members in your community will step in to help as everyone will be at different stages of their journey and happy to lend a hand to someone a few steps behind.
How to turn your course into a CPC
If you already have a course, what you’re missing is the community and coaching pieces.
The worst option
The worst option I’ve seen to add ‘community’ is when course creators add a Facebook group to their course and think that’s enough.
It’s not only not enough, it’s a step backwards because Facebook is designed to be massively distracting and pull your students AWAY from your group into other parts of FB where they can monetize you by clicking on ads.
Not only is Facebook destroying your students ability to focus and engage properly in your program – it’s downright unprofessional.
Imaging spending thousands of dollars with you and then being dropped into a Facebook group. It’s a terrible first impression that makes customers seriously doubt the professionalism and quality of your program.
The best option
I’ve found is to use a dedicated all-in-one platform like Circle.
Circle is intentionally designed to have your course and community in one place, with a beautiful, distraction-free interface that members love using.
That combination creates a high level of engagement because there are no distractions, it’s clean and easy to use, and the built in features continue to bring members back to the community on a regular basis.
We’ve helped dozens of course creators turn their old school courses into CPCs and the results from their students have been stellar.
Check out this actual customer feedback right after launching on Circle:
“Discussions are so organized. I can find stuff!”
“I’m loving the calm vibes here. It feels a lot more streamlined and simpler than FB. ”
“I am excited to never log into Facebook ever again!”
The Wrap Up
TL;DR – Your customers aren’t paying for the information you provide them… they are paying for the transformation you are guiding them to the whole way. That value in helping them achieve the results is immense.
Old school courses are dying. You cannot charge high prices for them like you could before and the results they generate are minimal due to their difficult nature to implement.
People are looking for help. Your CPC makes achieving your promised outcome very possible and highly probable in a way old school courses could never do.
If you’re looking for a great all-in-one platform to host your course and community, I recommend Circle.
If you’re ready to build a Community-Powered Course (CPC) for yourself — check out my new course to learn how.
Build a Community-Powered Course
Step-by-step online course.