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Should I create my first online course on Teachable?

Should I create my first online course on Teachable?

Since 2014, Teachable (previously Fedora) has become a fast-growing platform for course creators. As a serious competitor to Udemy’s dominance, it seems like a great choice for an instructor looking to create their first online course - but is it the best one?

Many instructors decide to use Teachable to create, sell, and promote their first course because it gives them more flexibility in pricing, marketing and branding.

We previously assessed the suitability of Udemy as a starting point for instructors in our previous post. The fundamental difference between both platforms is:

  • Teachable only provides you with the infrastructure that you need to sell your online course; and
  • Udemy provides you with the infrastructure that you need to sell your online course and actively promotes it to a large audience.

As discussed in our previous post, selling a online course solely on Udemy is a bad idea. An instructor should use Udemy as a sales channel to generate leads to platforms where they have access to far more granular controls.

However, there are a few disadvantages to using Teachable to create, sell, and promote your first course as an instructor. Let’s explore them in-depth.

1. You will need to do your own marketing

With Teachable you are responsible for your own marketing With Teachable you are responsible for your own marketing (Canva Studios, 2020)

Since their launch, Udemy has reduced their instructor revenue share from 90% to 70% and finally 50%. In 2016, Udemy capped the prices of courses on its platform between $20 to $200. Owing to Udemy’s marketplace model, many instructors lost out financially but could not do anything.

There are three upsides of using a platform like Teachable:

  • You have no restriction or cap on course pricing;
  • Your revenue share as an instructor can be 0-5% depending on your plan; and
  • You decide on course discounting.

However, unlike Teachable, Udemy will actively market your online course to its audience. Teachable requires you to have your own community to bootstrap onto, otherwise, you will need to build it from scratch while creating your online course. As a result, you may need to:

  • Work on building up a large audience on social media by producing good content, so that over time you are able to direct users back to your course;
  • Go to in-person (virtual) events and talk to people about the course you are working on;
  • Make your course freely available to individuals or brands with a large audience but ask them to market it to their audience;
  • Talk about your work on podcasts or guest post on other sites, directing readers back to your course; or
  • Create instructional video content on YouTube to drive viewers back to your course.

To get started with the above strategies, the only thing you need is a landing page for collecting email addresses before your course opens. You can also use Udemy as a direct sales channel by first publishing a shortened version of your online course on the platform and then funnelling users to a landing page advertising your advanced material.

From our own experience, we wholeheartedly admit that it is difficult to build an audience from scratch while creating your first course. In future articles, we will explore how others have been able to do this.

2. You will need to be making money regularly from your online courses

Third-party sites like PayPal and Stripe handle instructor payouts on Teachable Third-party sites like PayPal and Stripe handle instructor payouts on Teachable (Hooker, 2017)

When selling your course on Teachable, marketing is no longer an afterthought but a continuous exercise, as it affects your earning potential as an instructor. Teachable offers a free 14-day trial of their Professional plan. When you are ready to take your site live and start enrolling students, you can upgrade to the following subscription packages:

  • Basic: This will cost you $348 billed annually ($29 * 12) or $39 billed monthly. You pay 5% transaction fee on any courses sold.
  • Professional: This will cost you $1188 billed annually ($99 * 12) or $118 billed monthly. You pay 0% transaction fee on any courses sold. Moreover, you have access to the following features not available on the Basic subscription package: live chat, integrated affiliate program, Zapier integration, graded quizzes, course completion certificates, advanced reporting facilities and the opportunity to build an unbranded website.
  • Business: This will cost you $2988 billed annually ($249 * 12) or $299 monthly (billed monthly). In addition to the features offered by the Basic and Pro packages, you also have the opportunity to set up group coaching calls with customer success managers and get access to advanced theme customisation features.

As noted above, there is a lot of functionality offered to the instructor at every pricing tier.

On top of marketing, you also need to see setting up your course on Teachable as an investment. Teachable recommend setting the price of your online course to be at least $100. On the Professional plan, this means that you would need to sell at least 12 online courses to recoup your initial investment.

Do you have any opinions on what the relationship between online course platforms and instructors should look like? If so, please get in touch and let us know.

3. You will still be producing learning content using an outdated approach

Teachable's commenting system makes it easy for students to engage with the instructor Teachable’s commenting system makes it easy for students to engage with the instructor (Teachable, 2020)

In our previous post, we outlined the Student-Technology paradigm and how it could inevitably result in a learning experience devoid of meaningful engagement. Teachable’s lessons follow the same paradigm but attempt to avoid the abovementioned outcome by allowing the instructor to use multiple content types. For example, you can have videos, text, documents, comments and quizzes in the same lecture in any order.

Students can easily navigate between lessons and can see their progress on the left. If you have added a comment block, then it appears underneath your learning content, making it easy for students to engage with you.

Teachable also has many features that instructors can use to make their learning content more engaging. Instructors can lock their learning content based on student enrolment or by course start date. They can then unlock it either on a timed basis or when the student has met the pre-requisites needed to progress.

In future articles, we will assess the benefit of such features for instructors, especially considering innovative approaches such as collaborative, cohort-based learning paradigms.

So should you create your first online course on Teachable?

Promote, promote, and promote some more

“Learn to market your product. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your demographics needs and wants - while you generate a human connection and lead them towards your product.”

Teachable is a good fit for instructors who have a large enough audience and some cash at the outset of their course creation journey. Moreover, being responsible for your marketing has its tangible benefits.

First, you learn about turning leads to sales, optimising conversion funnels and generating traffic to your website.

Second, you discover who your target audience is and can start creating SEO optimised content.

Despite the upfront work, you do not lose control of your product and brand, which becomes very important if you plan on scaling up your venture.

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References

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