A Roadmap for Independent Instructors & Course Creators

If you’re visiting Courseography, I think it’s important for you to know where we’re going. Here are some ideas and questions we’re thinking about:

What trends are defining the lifelong learning marketplace for students and learners?

Namely, students will be able to learn anywhere. Choice will be abundant. We’re seeing evidence of this in the rise of:

- learning bootcamps, (Dev Boot Camp)

- online learning marketplaces, (Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare, Craftsy etc.)

- professional development and workforce skill training, (Udacity, Coursera, edX, SkilledUp)

- the issuing of digital badges and certifications, (Accredible)

- how we track our learning and share it with others, (Degreed)

- discovery engines that have the power to map the learning occurring all around you, (CourseHorse)

- unified learning platforms across large public institutions, (California Open Education Initiative)

- and in the emergence of new local class providers. (General Assembly, Think Olio)

These are just a few examples. Collectively, they paint a picture of a space where a student possesses an increasing number of options to choose where, how, and what they want to learn.

If students are able to exercise more control over their learning, what does this mean for those who seek to build their livelihood on sharing what they know — instructors, entrepreneurs, and course creators of all kinds?

Much like students will have access to learn anywhere, anyone who wants to share what they know will have the ability to create learning that may be taught anywhere, too. They’ll represent a class of independent instructors who’ll construct short, portable courses. Their greatest challenge will be in figuring out how best to connect this knowledge to the students who might want it.

To aid this emerging group of independent instructors and creatives, I’ll spend time focusing on three key areas:

1. Local class providers

2. Online learning marketplaces

And,

3. Negotiating the relationship between the two so you can build an audience of learners who will follow you wherever you go.

As we move through these areas, we’ll focus on answering some of these questions:

- Do you know of all the online and offline learning marketplaces available to you? I bet you don’t.

- Would you be interested in offering your independent online or face-to-face courses at a college or local class provider in your neighborhood and have it promoted to thousands of prospective learners?

- Do you know what lifelong learning deans, directors, and coordinators are looking for in a course proposal?

- Do you want to enhance your credibility by offering your course at an institution of higher education or emerging local class provider?

- Do you know how to re-engineer your course to fit different learning environments and student learning styles?

- Do you want to know how to give your independent course quantifiable credit that workplaces will recognize?

- Do you understand the idea of professional diversification and how it can protect your teaching and course creation business?

These are some of the questions we’ll ponder and answer over the coming weeks and months.

As you can see, we’ve got much work to do. Let us know if you have any questions.

(This piece was originally published at courseography.com on 1/23/17)

About the author: Michael Hegglund is the former Dean of Community & Continuing Education at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA. Currently, he shares his ideas on the business of lifelong learning at Courseography, an independent, instructor-focused project designed to help course creators, entrepreneurs, and instructors grow their audience and connect their knowledge to online learning marketplaces and local class providers.