When most people think about starting an online course business they think about creating elaborate courses with gamification elements, automation, communities and so forth. Done correctly this approach can result in a a high revenue, low cost business.
But making money with online courses doesn’t have to always follow this framework. The training industry is as diverse as the tools available to you. And while business-to-consumer course sales are exciting, the amount of money out there to be made in business-to-business sales is staggering. The latest in e-learning trends are opening new markets in this space, especially for instructional designers (aka: course creators) within the “just in time” niche.
I should probably note that JIT training isn’t really a revolutionary concept. It has been around. Some companies have even implemented it. What is new is the technology today that allows this type of training to reach its full potential.
If you were to think about a typical online course then chances are you picture a multi-level offering with various sections, lessons, quizzes, and possibly assignments.
The JIT training approach is a “zero fat” methodology to delivering pnlicourse content. Courses are loosely structured around concepts and can contain many lessons. The lessons are short too. Really short. In the case of video they will span somewhere between two and five minutes and center around one key takeaway.
Adding a forum or community is not a priority with JIT training. Gamification can even be bypassed if necessary (although simple gaming elements can actually work very well with JIT training, like leaderboards).
In addition to courses JIT can include internal live chat access to experts and corporate wiki sites.
JIT training can span many different industries, but does best in industries where employees have to think on their feet or are “out in the field” – such as technicians or sales reps.
JIT helps these individuals do their job. If they get stuck, they can get an answer by grabbing their phone and finding the exact lesson they need through a quick search.
But the training doesn’t have to be delivered “on demand” (though that is the primary focus). JIT allows companies to conveniently deliver refresher training in a way that doesn’t take up too much of their employees’ valuable time. This is where JIT training really can be effective.
By way of example, American Medical Systems (AMS) piloted a mobile reinforcement solution that delivered training every few days. The primary content included scenario-based Q&A challenges. The game mechanics made the training engaging as sales reps competed to top the leaderboard based on their responses.
The results of the initial program drove content mastery scores from 68% to 92%, with more than 96% engagement!
Companies of all sizes will pay good money to have an expert create and implement a JIT training program at their organization. This is where you come in.
First, familiarize yourself with micro-content and mobile delivery methods. You will need to be well-versed in these areas as they will play an integral part in how you both create and deliver the content. Naturally if you are already an instructional designer doing client work then selling JIT will be easier than if you are just starting out in this industry.
In either case, the best way to sell JIT training is to make it one of your “products” and to offer it as an option during client conversations for typical training development projects. In other words, continue looking for traditional training development work and then use that as an opportunity to educate your clients on JIT training. Companies just aren’t looking for JIT training on the same scale as typical corporate training services so this approach allows you to cast the net a little wider.
Once you have done a few JIT training implementations then you are in a better position to pivot your offering to JIT specific services. Leverage case-studies and ROI metrics in your sales content to help convince companies in similar industries that JIT training will be more beneficial for them than the “old way” of e-learning. Your knowledge in this area and specialization will allow you to charge top-dollar prices!
If this all sounds interesting to you then you should begin becoming familiar with JIT training and micro-content to create & sell online courses.