WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT LIFE-LONG ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE?
"You get life-long access to this online training."
I read this on more and more on landingpages for online courses. Perpetual access...as if that is an super advantage for the buyer. Because sure, you might want to do a deep dive in that course in about 5 years time, right? Or maybe you'll sell that 2010 course once more. No. No, no, no. Of course not. I am all for lifelong learning. But not for learning the same things for years on end. Because hey, you already learned the course content. I think life-long online course licenses are just silly. For five reasons in particular. Actually, more than five. But for less is more reasons, I'll stick to five.
Progress means leaving things behind.
Imagine someone in 2023, thinking: 'Hey, let's go over this Online Marketing With Facebook Course again, just for the fun of it.' That someone does not exist. In fact, by offering life-long access, you are causing stagnation with your students.
An online course is meant to help you progress in a short time span, so you can finish it, and continue your work more effectively because you have upgraded your knowledge and skills set. You rise after completing the course. After that, you would want to learn new things, to become even better in your profession. Not rehashing old info until you can completely memorie the course videos. Implementing what you learn is the key to progress. If that's you problem, work on beating your procrastination habit and other habits. But do not repeat the course endlessly. It's useless.
You stimulate procrastination.
If someone could also complete the course in a year and implement the lessons, why don't you just advise the interested party to buy your high-end course in 12 months, if it is still relevant then? You might consider implementing well prepared sales and strategy conversations with prospects, to help them come to the right conclusion for THEM. That way, you'll have a better view on whether or not your prospect is indeed the right match for your offer.
In most cases, a prospect has a challenge that needs to be addressed NOW. Or at least within the next six to twelve months. If your course it THE solution to that particular challenge, the sale will probably go smoothly and the student will commence the course. If your course covers an in-depth topic or is part of a college curriculum, a four year license might be useful. If you already graduated and have worked for several years, you just want quick, high quality updates and fast results. And not in - give or take - twenty years time.
Procrastination in your career. I can't imagine anyone aiming for that in our age of instant gratification. Everyone wants to score and harvest quickly. Why wait five, twenty years, thirty years to offer lifelong access to something that takes about a year TOPS? And if it is possible in twenty or thirty years, why do not you make clear decisions today about what you want and do not want, now and later? Do it now, complete the course, somewhere in between a few months time and a year), or do not do it at all.
As an online course entrepreneur, you run the risk of attracting notorious procratinators. They won't be too active in your online community because of it. I think that we are almost all susceptible to procrastination. But to include that in your marketing as an advantage is taking it too far.
Birthdays are not always parties.
If your online course has reached the age of five (blow some candles!), you have some serious thinking to do. Just for the sake of it, let's assume that someone logs into your online learning environment in 2022 and sees your course in it, and opens the first lesson (this sentence alone should be enough to prove the absurdity, because nobody EVER, ANYWHERE, will seriously do this). This person is watching a video that you have recorded in your cool 2017 office studio to tell you all about online strategy with Facebook, Instagram or email marketing. Or quickly find customers via the internet ("how-oe, in-ter-net, well say hey, exciting", I hear the echo's from the Spirit of the Future already resonating from cosy 2022). Or about creating online courses in WordPress. Sounds a bit like using a fax sounds in 2017. Yah.
Courses in tech, sales and internet related training programs have a short life span. It just comes with the territory. Economic trends and sales techniques are constantly changing (cold calling, oh no, landing pages, oh no retargeting, oh no data mining, etc.). You could say that courses for more general skills have a longer life span. Speaking Spanish. Presentation techniques. Carpenting. Dealing with tricky bosses. Those kind of things. In terms of content, not many things will change. But still. Do you know what will happen in five years time? In 2022, your product is completely expired. It may have its birthday. But it's not a happy one. Do you know why?
Your course looks completely outdated in 5 years.
And that is exactly how it should be. Things are evolving. Design is evolving. In five years your learning environment will look horribly barred. Your carefully crafted videos, selfie stick vlogs and Instagram feed will not be enough to breng your message across. Not by far. Although the content may be timeless to a certain extent (Presentation techniques, Spanish, Carpenting), design is not. Students will still get eyeball cramps because your design looks totally 2017m which is not a good thing. Golden hand lettered font, ooh la laaa. You know. What you're using right now, like all the other course creators. It will be completely and utterly irrelevant. Irritating to boot. The content of the course may then also be looked at as being average to outdated (whether it is a right judgement or not: they will). You can of course continue to update the graphic design and content. That wat, it'll at least looks good. And if the content is still very up to date: top. For example, every self-respecting business coach makes an update of his or her online learning environment every so often. As they should be doing. But still...
Are you sure you still want to offer that course?
In 2017-2018, your academy is completely the super bomb. Perhaps it will stay the super bomb for a while. But do you still want to offer that course in a few years time? Or are you offering it because you still had it on shelf and because it's still okay-ish? And it stuffs your list of products nicely? Maybe it's time to look further and to move on to greener pastures. Do a Marie Kondo cleaning session in your online course portfolio.
Have you learned and mastered new things in those five (or ten) years that you actually sold the old course? The best thing you can do is leave your ego at the door and to follow your heart. See what is of value to teach TODAY and how you can convey this in the best possible way, in terms of design and tech. In a way that fits YOU and today's trends best. And leave the rest. Looking back on things you did is always fun. But nostalgia is not part of any development and innovation strategy.
I offer 6 month- and 1 year licenses for my learning environments. It's more than enough. In case anyone needs a refresher, I usually offer them a strategy session via video live conferencing. It's faster, less costly and it's 100% guaranteed up to date quality information. Within a couple of hours (or less), they have updated their strategy and they can go about their business. Without having to re-watch a batch of videos.
Get rid of life-long licenses for online courses. Instead, offer a useful bonus that people will actually use.