The Learner Transformation Framework™️
A tried & tested framework to set you on a path to Course Market Fit
97% of online courses fail to attract, retain or impact their learners in the way that was intended.
I've spent many years exploring why this is - today I’m going to share the Learner Transformation Framework™️, a simple five step system to avoid critical errors and set you on a path to Course Market Fit.
What is Course Market Fit?
Course Market Fit: a course which learners are engaging with, benefitting from & telling others about in numbers large enough to drive profit and/or growth.
Course Market Fit is easy to measure.
Ask those who take your course / review your value prop, “How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?”
Measure the percentage who answer “very disappointed.”
When you hit 40% “very disappointed”, you have a leading indicator that you are likely to gain traction with your course.
As products in a market, courses fail when they don’t offer unique & compelling value to their target audience.
A lack of CMF is easy to spot:
For course creators: it looks like low attraction, even lower completion & a not-viable business.
For learning designers, teachers & L&D professionals: it looks like low engagement, low completion, low satisfaction, low or no measurable impact on knowledge or skills & low RoI (maybe even the loss of jobs).
Introducing: the Learner Transformation Framework™️
The Learner Transformation Framework™️ is a simple, five step system that empowers you to find a unique & compelling value prop and set you off on a path to Course Market Fit.
Step 1: Your Learners’ Status Quo
This is where your target learners currently are. It’s a "problem land" and a place they want to leave or change. Your learners know where they want to be, and need a way to get there. Your course is their solution.
Real example: I want to be a global leader in the food industry, but the path I need to follow is unclear.
Step 2: The Things Your Learners are Already Trying
Because they’re experiencing pain, your learners are likely to have started to try other ways to solve their problems, e.g. other courses, following Twitter feeds & newsletters related to their pain, buying books etc
The big question to answer here is: what are they already trying? By asking this question, we learn about:
pain / need - what information are your target learners seeking out most?
gaps in the market - what underserved needs are there?
ability & willingness to pay - what are they already paying for, and how?
Find influencers in your space, note where they & your targets hang out online, what products they offer and what sorts of content your target learners consume most.
Real example: You’ve tried leadership skills courses, YouTube videos, podcasts & blog posts, but you still lack a practical, personalised path to progress and the skills & network that you need to realise your dream.
Step 3: Your Unique Insight
If you do your job well, your learners will choose your course to solve their problem because you have a unique insight.
Your unique insight is a set of knowledge, skills & experiences that you have acquired on your unique journey - things that other people want because it helps them to hit a personal or professional goal.
Real example: I went from server to a global food leader within three years of leaving college. I have the key knowledge, skills, network & frameworks that you need to progress rapidly within the food industry.
Step 4: Your Course Promise
Your course promise explains why your course is the best way to solve your learners’ problem - it’s basically the response you would give if your target learner asked, why would I bother spending time and/or money on this course?
Real example: Join my course and learn the Restaurant Leadership Habits system, a high-touch, high expectation, high impact framework proven to 10X your progress to restaurant leadership.
Step 5: Your Learners’ New Life
Having taken your course, your learner will experience the results of their efforts. This is "happy land" - this is their new life.
For course creators, this might include: knowledge gained, skills developed, a network gained and/or take-away frameworks to apply on repeat.
It should always include a vision statement about how your course will impact their life and take away their pain.
Sell your learners’ new life, not a course.
Real example: "You will leave with the frameworks, skills, confidence & network you need to be the next big thing in food leadership by 2025.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Learner Transformation Framework™️. If you have any questions, challenges, observations or general musings add them in the comments below!
Happy Designing 👋
One more thing…. You can apply for a place on the Course Design Accelerator here. It’s a four week, hands-on, cohort-based design sprint where we work together to achieve Course Market Fit by designing or redesign a course of your choice using the science of product + learning.
If you’re a fan of learning science, you may also want to subscribe to the Learning Science Digest, a monthly summary of peer reviewed research on learning science, translated into easy to apply course design practices - check it out!
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