Creating an Online Course with Panos Siozos
Thinking about creating an online course, but not sure how to make it happen? Panos Siozos shares his expertise into what’s required to create and launch an effective and money making course!
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About the Episode
LifeBlood: We talked about creating an online course, how the industry and providers have changed and evolved, how it’s easier, less expensive and more accessible than ever before, and how the best creators think with Panos Siozos, CEO of LearnWorld, the leading online course provider.
Listen to learn the keys that help the best course creators serve their students and drive revenue!
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You can learn more about us at MoneyAlignmentAcademy.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact George at Contact@GeorgeGrombacher.com.
george grombacher 0:12
strong the powerful panel co zOS is here on lifeblood create welcome panels.
Panos Siozos 0:19
Hi, George, nice to be on your show. excited to have you on Panis, is the CEO of learnworlds. They’re a SASS platform that lets anyone create and sell online courses. They are the future of online learning. Panels tell us little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.
Unknown Speaker 0:40
I’m happy to. I’m the co founders and co founder and CEO of learnworlds. I have two other amazing co founders, we, the three of us, we weigh we go back with our 20, more than 25 years, we studied together computer science. And then we did postgraduate studies on educational technology. So before becoming a businessman, we were actually researchers, creating new educational products, testing them with students publishing research papers, going to conferences, and we were on an academic track. But we always have these each about creating actual products that the users like 1000s and millions of users would use. And we wanted to bring the state of the art in actual actual product. That was something that didn’t happen. It was it wasn’t happening. It was we were seeing all the commercial products out there that we were so far behind the state of the art of E learning that we were studying and creating, I would say in the academia. So this is how we started. And at some point at the end of 2011, we got together as a bootstrap team with no particular plan, no actual budget, we just started working together on a on a product. And this is how levels started. So we spent the better part of a couple of years in stealth mode, creating the platform and putting there everything that we imagined modern course creators and modern trainers need and also their students so that they can have amazing online experiences. And then we we launched and we started promoting the platform, it was a very difficult path for us. Because as I mentioned, we were more researchers than the business people at that moment. So we had to learn how to promote the platform and explain do marketing, do sales, do all the stuff. But luckily, we found our footing, people realize the potential of the platform, how Platt how powerful and flexible the platform is. So we started learning from our customers, we helped some amazing course creators over the years create amazing online schools and huge amounts of profit from from the source of that from selling their their knowledge and their knowledge products. And this is where we found ourselves today, obviously COVID has been a huge boost for everything that has to do with digital commerce elearning, the future of E learning is online. And also also the present now. So this funding that we secured a few months ago, was the culmination of all this work. And it gives us the resources and the and the potential to grow even faster, bring much better products to the hands of actual core sellers, and help them create their own online businesses in a box and profit from their knowledge.
Unknown Speaker 3:41
Love it so fascinating, that you spent years creating this thing in stealth mode as as, as you said and then launched into the world and it took a little while to to to get legs than it did. And now just like that the future of of elearning has just accelerated like crazy due to the pandemic I imagine. So very, very exciting time. You have a sense of, of the sort of the landscape of online course creation, how it’s changed and evolved.
Unknown Speaker 4:16
Well, the online course creation was already in a great trajectory even before the pandemic, the general market and our business as well was growing by about 100% per year was an amazing
Unknown Speaker 4:30
future already. People were already the size of the elearning industry even before the pandemic was projected to reach $325 billion by 2025. But as you can imagine, with COVID, all these numbers have been revised over to much higher numbers. So a few years ago, it was mostly the we were serving mostly the early adopters, those that had that we were envisaging the potential of creating an online product
Unknown Speaker 5:00
selling online courses.
Unknown Speaker 5:02
There were already some large platforms on some marketplaces like Udemy out there, and people knew all the big,
Unknown Speaker 5:12
massive online courses like Coursera, all the stuff. But at that point, we we, we thought that we should differentiate. And we wanted to help the actual course seller who doesn’t always have the visibility, or the big name that would allow him to see more here to survive in a big marketplace, all those 1000s upon 1000s, of course creators that have amazing content, but they don’t have the technical know how they don’t have the marketing capacity, they don’t have the development team around them, or the budget to spend to create their own custom environment. So they should where we thought that we would take away from them, take away the complexity of having to build a platform and design a platform and sell your entire website, we will create a product for that. So that online course sellers, and course creators can focus on what they actually know, which is create amazing content and reach out to their to their students and and share this content with them. So if let’s say if we make a parallel to what’s happening in the E commerce space, where you have a big marketplace, let’s say like Amazon, and then there’s Shopify, which allows you to create your own custom your own e commerce shop, and sell under your own brand. This is the same that we do in comparison, let’s say to Udemy, with learnworlds, people get their own online course platform, their own branded website, which they fully control, they bring in their own audience, but they control the product, they control pricing, they get access to all the data, and they get to keep 100% of the profit. So effectively, we create their own business in the online business in the books. And in fact, we’ve helped so far 1000s upon 1000s of core creators to become more independent, to gain side income loads of them managed to, you know, escape the nine to five and the daily grind, and just create their own online business, either complementing their consulting gigs, or just going even some of them 100% online selling online courses for a living. So that has been an amazing experience. Before the pandemic, it was mostly the you know, the people who the early adopters, those that have identified the risk opportunity. And in some cases, we had to explain what an online course platform is, or how people should set up their online courses, and what kind of business models are possible. But COVID, obviously has been a huge catalyst for all these. Now, everybody realizes what online courses are, how they work, we’ve consumed loads and loads of online courses in the past, in the past two years, like, obviously, with loads of pressure from the, from this terrible situation. So now we don’t have to expect to explain what we do. Everybody understands online courses. Everybody understands how powerful they can be. Not just us selling in Korea as potential for creating revenue, but also as opportunities for promoting one’s brand for educating customers, educating associates educating, training your your employees if you if you run a business, so we fully believe that the the genies out of the bottle and the future of learning is online. And this is what we are determined to keep continuing doing and helping our trainers create the best possible online courses they can. I love it super powerful.
Unknown Speaker 8:55
And it’s it’s interesting, I’m sure to look around and for you to see how other other providers are changing and evolving. And I’m sure that you are constantly tweaking things and adding new features and evaluating what what what do you look to or look at and say this is really what makes learnworlds different and better?
Unknown Speaker 9:20
It’s a great question. As you mentioned, we we always trying to see what is happening and what is the next best thing over the years we’ve seen business models change. We’ve seen the needs for for features or the quality of the courses that are being created change to change. A few years ago, the standard model for selling online courses was as a one off, so you were selling a course or a bundle. People were paying a price and then they were getting lifetime access to this course. But in the past few years, we’ve seen more and more the transition towards subscription based models where you have a subscription it can be a silver
Unknown Speaker 10:00
plan with that gives access to a bunch of courses. And then it can be a gold plan that gives access to more courses, or even some adults like live training where you have, let’s say, a one hour weekly meeting with a coach or your trainer where you get some extra personalized feedback. So more and more people are transitioning into membership kinds of, of models or business models or hybrid business models. And also increasingly, we see more and more demand for high quality training. And this also includes interactive courses. So the model of you know, creating a boring in a boring video of
Unknown Speaker 10:42
a can lecture of 30 minutes or 60 minutes long, 60 minute long, that doesn’t work. It’s It’s It’s terrible. It’s a it’s on the pedagogical. So obviously, it doesn’t work, people demand to have sleek, beautiful, interactive learning experiences. So especially, you know, millennials, everybody’s used to having great learning great digital experiences with their iPads and their gaming devices and their and their phones and all this stuff. You cannot just throw a PDF at somebody and say, Okay, this is elearning, you have been trained, doesn’t work didn’t work in the past, it works even even less now. So some of the when you have this obviously, that was also part of our of our research, I have a PhD in a computer assisted assessment. My co founder and chief product owner,
Unknown Speaker 11:35
also is one of the of the top researchers on UI UX for for elearning applications. So what we try to do is take the state of the art of E learning and create actual tools that trainers can use today with little training with no other expertise, they can just take the tools and enhance their training. So one of the examples I can give is the interactive video that we have included in the platform.
Unknown Speaker 12:02
So this way, you can get a normal, boring video, we’re all guilty, I guess of that ourselves, it can be a 10 minute video explaining how a concept works. And you can just upload it into the platform. And you can start enhancing this video by adding interactive elements. It can be something as simple as a transcript, or a card that shows some additional information. Or even it can be a quiz that works on top of the video. So you watch the video, the video poses a question pops up you have the student has to make a choice. And based on the choice, he or she receives feedback, or a being rewarded in the video or taken to another part of the video. So with no training, no technical expertise, you can get a tool like that and really upgrade the quality of your content. So that’s no longer a video that somebody could find for free on YouTube. But it becomes an interactive, immersive experience that users really appreciate. So they spend more time in the courses they complete the courses. This is one of the of the problems plaguing online courses is the level of the percentage of completion, which is usually pretty, pretty low. But once you start providing interesting, engaging interactive experiences, all these skyrockets, their student satisfaction skyrockets, and also sales at the end of the day, improve vastly. So these are some of the of the of the tools where we get that we are into the platform where we go back into our research background. And we try to get easy, practical, actionable, tools that we can bring to online trainers today to help them create the best possible version of their online course and get, I guess, the most possible sales out of it. Nice. I appreciate all that. And yeah, I imagine that the majority of people who are creating courses are interested in actually helping the people who are taking the courses to learn. And so I imagine it’s very frustrating when people aren’t completing them or aren’t even making it a quarter of the way through or whatever it might be. And sure, obviously, if you’re taking the time to create the course then you certainly want to make money. So the the folks that are having the most success, the course creators that are having the most success are there through lines kind of common attributes to them.
Unknown Speaker 14:30
I guess one place to start from is that we have seen over the years amazing online trade amazing trainers, amazing educators who had great content.
Unknown Speaker 14:44
They were experts in their fields, but they never managed to launch a course so this is always something that is like it’s it’s very difficult to watch people who cook could have created amazing courses but stopped for
Unknown Speaker 15:00
Some reason so the usually the reasons there can be something as simple as lacking the technical knowledge to set up a course, or set up a platform or set up a website or set up the the E commerce engine, let’s say for how to sell your courses. And this is one of the problems that we try to take out of the equation. So we provide an all in one platform that makes it super easy for everyone without being a designer without being a developer, to start with our building templates and get a ready made ready to sell online school in a couple of hours. So this is the first thing that we that we try to do. And the second thing that we see, in many cases, people stopping before launching amazing, amazing courses is perfectionism. Like everybody’s trying to get, you know, the best possible shot, they sometimes they invest in multiple cameras having them, they want to have the perfect audio, and they want to have the perfect script. And they keep working months over months on one particular course, and they never finished because they never consider this to be to be good enough. Luckily, this is one of the of the small areas where these COVID situation, I guess was beneficial. And that was a positive side, the side effect is that it has cured many, many people of their perfectionism. Because, you know, sometimes we have to decide that it’s good enough. So over the past few years, we were working out of office, home office with with Zoom or Skype, kids, cats noise, whatever, you know, I’m Cam care.
Unknown Speaker 16:40
So there are so many more people now who have decided another case sometimes good enough is good enough, my content is ready to go try we just launched this course. And this is where we also tried to assist lots of people with in with training that we do in coaching and challenges like with a very with, with specific steps and, and and assistance and checklists that we provide shows that we help all these people who have the knowledge and the capacity, but always
Unknown Speaker 17:11
are being stopped by buy something or buy something at the end and they fail to launch. So we’re trying to get many, many more people to really give it a try and start growing their audiences. But going back to your question, the most important stuff, the things that really differentiate those that will actually make lots of money or have a huge return of investment on the on their course, is a I guess two factors are really what is really what is determining the eventual success. The first is already having an audience before you start obviously with a course. And the second is to have the content ready or to have the capacity to create these content. So if somebody is very knowledgeable on the subject, but doesn’t have an audience today, then it’s probably not the right time to launch a course obviously, they should start by creating their audience cultivating their audience, it can be the this can start with a blog, it can start with a podcast, it can start with a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group, or a meetup or a or a tick tock group or a clubhouse. Any place where you can have a bunch of like minded people who are interested in in a subject to come together and start creating, you know, a nice trusting relationship that is based on on mutual exchange of value. This is this is a great place to start with. If somebody already starts with a sizable audience, then obviously, they’re much more ready. And we’ve seen people who already had an engaged audience in their blog or anything yet or anything else or a YouTube channel. And they were able to start making money in a matter of days, because the trust and this connection with their audience was already there. And the same goes with the content. There is so much content that many people have created over the years, it can be a great blog, it can be a book in ebook that somebody published in the past, somebody may be already a trainer and they have taught certain subjects hundreds upon hundreds of times.
Unknown Speaker 19:19
So if somebody already has some kind of content, it’s usually very easy to repurpose it and create an online course especially with a with an easy authoring tools like the one with easy authoring tools like the ones we provide in the platform. It’s very easy for them to make that extra step and repackage reuse and repackage their knowledge in the form of an online course. So, those already have the audience and the product or the content or the potential to create the content. The the possibilities of sigh of success are very, very, very, very, very high. And also just to make a parallel we buy some I always say that
Unknown Speaker 20:00
Online courses are the ebooks of 2020. Like things that people used to have the 2020s things that people used to do a few years ago with an e book, create revenue for them, promote themselves as experts, get leads for their business, or
Unknown Speaker 20:19
find other ways to enhance their brand and promote their brand. All these things now happen much more easily with an online course. And online courses and training. Education is one of the best forms of marketing. So there are many, many ways for any business for any professional to start thinking about how they can package what they know, in an online course and start profiting from that by leveraging the knowledge that they have and the and their audience that they have created or that they can create around their their content. I love it. Well, Panis, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And how can they engage with learn worlds? People can always go to our website www.learnworlds.com. It’s we have, we’re always publishing amazing content around online courses. So even if you’re just starting out, or you’re thinking about starting with a course, I think you will benefit from all the great content and the guides and the checklists and the in the ebooks that we’re publishing over there. And if you’re if you’re feeling that we are getting close to it, you can always start a free trial. No commitments, no credit cards, nothing else, just
Unknown Speaker 21:34
an amazing software that can help you set up your school and your courses in a matter or in a matter of hours. So start thinking about it. It’s a very interesting, it’s a flourishing market very hold. Everybody needs a I haven’t seen any kind of any business that couldn’t profit from from one form of another of online training. So if you’re thinking about it, just had to head over to our website, start the free trial and we’ll be happy to help you to set up your own online school. I love it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did show penisy appreciation and share today show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to learn worlds.com And just get started. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of good. Thanks good panels.
Unknown Speaker 22:21
Thanks, George. Thanks for having me. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. It’s we’re all in this together.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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