Will the online course be the new book?

Jan 20, 2015 | Profit

“The online course is the new book.”

Brian Clark said that. Brian is a savvy guy, so when he says something, I pay attention. The comment came as part of a podcast titled “David Siteman Garland on the Infinite Scalability of Online Courses.” Follow the link to listen to the podcast and read the show notes and transcript. If you’re thinking about selling information to create a revenue stream, you should absorb this podcast.

The course is a package

You have stuff in your head that other people want to know. So you write a book about it. Or you give a speech or provide coaching. An online course is one more way to sell what you know.

Three kinds of “courses”

There are three basic kinds of online course. There are big courses, like the ones colleges teach that cover a number of topics over a series of sessions.

There are courses on a single topic. David Siteman Garland’s course on how to do a great interview is one of those.

There are single skill courses, too. Usually they aren’t called “courses.” But they help you do things like create a pivot table in Excel.

Why courses are attractive

I think that books as we know them are here to stay, but courses are a great opportunity. They can be developed fairly quickly compared with a book and changed more easily.

Better together

Books and courses have a great future together. Courses let you develop material and test it on real people, tweaking the course as your go. Then you can complete a book based on the proven course material with additional insight and resources. .


Here are some resources about online courses and learning.

From Harold Jarche: Traditional training structures are changing

“Probably the biggest change we are seeing in online training is that the content delivery model is being replaced by more social and collaborative frameworks.”

From Charles Jennings: Learning in the Collaboration Age

“The Web has allowed us to totally redefine our traditional learning models. It has allowed us to reach beyond content-rich learning approaches and focus on experience-rich learning. It has allowed an evolution from ‘Know What’ learning to ‘Know Who’ and ‘Know How’ learning; and it has allowed the emergence from learning in the silos of our own organisations to learning with and through others across the world – easily and transparently.”

From George Avalos: Lots of offerings in online education

“Education is getting a boost from a world of mobility and anytime, anyplace broadband communications”

From Alexandra Alter: Simon & Schuster to Sell Online Courses Taught by Popular Authors

“Three prominent health, finance and self-help authors will teach the first courses, which will cost $25 to $85.”

From Libby Kane: Earning Money Through Online Courses

“While now 71-year-old Smith wasn’t initially thrilled to put together a course — after all, he had a full-time job to hold down — he realized its benefits when he fell ill and wasn’t able to meet his copywriting deadlines for months at a time.”