I have a confession to make.
When I was first starting a small business after resigning from my previous corporate job, the most disturbing problem I had was my inability to move things forward as fast as I expected.
After talking to a lot of people, it seems like this problem is not uncommon among those who are working in isolation or starting their own small business. For some reasons, we were unable to follow through and get the business to move forward in its full capacity.
This is possibly due to many reasons.
It might be the procrastinator in me that appeared as soon as I turned to be an entrepreneur.
May be it was my “other personality” who refused to do certain tasks that really matter and focus on the things that I liked.
I was good at what I did, but may be it was another component in the business that confused me totally.
Or it might be the lack of a plan or schedule that turned me into a business man without a clear purpose. I just randomly got my work done without any particular destination to go.
Or it was the time I spent excessively on learning and thinking about something, going back and forth in my head so much about certain business and marketing decisions that I get paralysis by analysis.
There are still a lot of other reasons I haven’t mentioned here.
Then one day, as part of the effort to satisfy my thirst of information, I purchased a complete self-learning program. When the package arrived, I didn’t open it for weeks.
Little did I know it was the thing that changed my life. I didn’t claim that I am now a very productive and efficient person, but what I experienced is that now I can actually make things happen faster than before.
I could now take massive action and see something happen right away. Needless to say, it also makes me money.
The program has nothing to do in the topic of business and marketing. Yet it is so obvious that once the same structure is applied to any learning program, it increases the chance of the users to take action and get results.
What’s most important in a self-learning course is not the knowledge contained within the package, but the structure of how it is delivered and how it can help you to do beyond learning for the sake of knowing.
I am not saying that content quality is not important. Further than that, in my opinion, quality has become the standard every product must own.
In a self-learning program, there is no one who can hold you accountable. There is no one who can clarify your purpose, get your thoughts organized, help you get unstuck and encourage you to take massive action.
There has to be a substitute for this critical component in achieving results.
A well structured course focus on this factor as much as in others.
Sure, how productive you are depends on yourself personally but there are tools inside of the program that could help you achieve things faster and easier.
4 Thing a Self-Learning Course Should Have
These are just some of the things that I think contribute a lot to how users consume information and their willingness to take action:
1. Action Oriented Devices
Think of a workbook and fill in the blank notes.
If you can listen to a program, looking for answers to fill in the notes and later take ideas in a structured manner in a workbook, you will remember more things than if you just listen to it passively.
Just with the workbook itself, you begin to get things done. Even the program is just an ebook, but if there is a workbook that gets you involved in the whole process, you are going to gain more than just reading.
2. Multiple Learning Formats
Some people prefer to learn by reading while others can learn much faster by listening or through audio visual tools. Additionally, if the program has multiple formats and each repeats the main concepts multiple times, the whole thing will eventually sink in.
3. Community Support
A forum that helps members communicate and solve problems really is a great contribution to the learning experience. People often stop at the place where they get stuck for days, weeks or often forever.
Unless they have a way to get unstuck easily, the value of the program is tremendously discounted.
4. Small “Achiever” Group
Just like in community support, if you mingle long enough in it, you will recognize a few others that are actively engage in the forum to help others.
If you can get some of them and a few other new but encouraged members as part of your achiever group, then you can track each other progress and get to the goal faster. This group is about accountability and motivation.
Obviously the value is not about learning, but also oriented around results.
The next time you consider to buy a learning program or how to information, consider how it will help you get things done. Will it go an extra mile to enhance your learning experience.
Can you possibly create your own group, consisting of people with the same goals or get involved in the support forum very intensively?
If getting a coach is an option, perhaps you need to seriously consider that too. It usually guarantees that you can get the fastest and greatest outcome than if you do it yourself. But if you are self motivated and very action oriented, there is nothing wrong in investing just on the most basic learning program.
So know thyself and what you want to learn. Only then you can choose the right learning program that suits your need and helps you achieve the outcome you set up front.