I have written a lot lately about innovative ideas that can help e-learning entrepreneurs navigate these uncertain times. I dwelled on what the market indicates, what the predictions are, and the type of courses that seem to be in high demand. I have even covered several additional avenues that can be pursued for extra income by using your e-learning design skills.
So, you’d think I’d be done by now, right?
Well, not yet.
The health crisis is still going strong, markets are still somewhat shaky, and there’s no certainty of when things will get back to normal and what that “new normal” will look like.
What is obvious is that online learning is becoming the norm very fast. Even when we eventually find our way out of the pandemic, this will be one of the effects that will stay in place.
Businesses are getting increasingly aware that they need to move online
For retail businesses, this is by no means any news. They had a strong virtual presence long before the pandemic. There is, however, an entire host of businesses that only had a website and a social media account that they hardly used. Now, they need to move most of their operations online to survive. Gyms, business and life coaches, wellness specialists – to name but a few – have to adjust to a whole new way of delivering their services.
Videoconferencing apps have been lifesavers, but it’s a well-known fact by now that they cause a lot of fatigue and negative feelings. Hence, many entrepreneurs need to find solutions to reach their customers in ways that are a lot more engaging and less taxing.
Online coaching is the best alternative
The businesses I’ve mentioned above have already moved some of their products and services into the virtual environment. However, this is becoming the norm rather than a spur-of-the-moment solution, and as a result, expectations are increasingly higher.
While these entrepreneurs had it down to a T when they could do everything face-to-face, they may find the new role of online coach or trainer rather overwhelming. And here is where the experience of seasoned e-learning designers can come in handy and work out to the benefit of both parties. While a fitness trainer may be skilled in the gym, there’s a lot more to know about motivating people via live streaming or recorded video.
Consultants are golden
An opportunity that arises from this situation is for e-learning designers to act as advisors on how online services can be delivered to the customers with excellent results.
This will undoubtedly take a large amount of data gathering, analysis, and planning. It’s not the most common activity for e-learning specialists, but it’s not out of their range either. The only difference is that they will be applying their design skills on subjects that they are not well-versed in – hence the need for research.
Consulting services can be provided either on request for a particular project or as an ongoing collaboration for the extended portfolio of the business. The second variant is the most desirable, as it offers some security, but project-based work has its advantages as well.
Coaching others to coach can be lucrative
The other path that springs from the current entrepreneurial crossroads is sharing the learning design trade tools with those who need them.
Depending on the business and the nature of its activity, they may need to learn about:
- video creation and editing,
- learning technologies,
- presentation skills,
- content creation and curation,
- understanding of VR and AR (and their uses for online learning),
- creating and delivering assessments,
- pricing and marketing learning modules.
The key to becoming the go-to provider for this type of expertise is to offer personalized programs for each small business. Be ready to offer support and feedback after the learning intervention is complete.
Constantly coming up with new ways of moving your enterprise forward and finding business opportunities is what successful entrepreneurs are all about. E-learning professionals are faced with a potentially immense market if they know how to listen and adapt to it.
Teaching other businesses how to coach and market their own assets as learning products is highly beneficial. It can bring a steady stream of income and place the e-learning entrepreneur at the center of a professional network, thus building brand awareness and reputation.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.