2017 E-Course Trends for the Entrepreneur

E-course trends for 2017 can be summed up into 3 words: Resources not courses.

What does this mean? It means learners want information delivered in a certain way to apply immediately and directly into their lives or businesses. They don’t want to wade through long diatribes of lectures, thick books or boring assignments.

This attitude most certainly applies to the entrepreneurial market made up of fast moving business people wearing many hats needing to be highly productive in creative and low cost ways.

To add, our online courses have to win over content searches on Google, where info is curated in a way that helps find immediate solutions to our problems.  However, while free content is everywhere it is not always sufficient, accurate or current. This is where e-courses can shine.

So how can you build courses that satisfy today’s on-the-move learner? Let’s first look at the modern learner (do you see yourself in this description?)

Infographic by Elucidat. Read more about The Profile of the Modern Learner.


The Modern Learner Wish List

Modern learners seek…

  • Professional and personal development
  • Informal learning where and when they want

They prefer…

  • Self-paced and self-service learning
  • Access on any device, especially mobile with responsive designs

They need…

  • Results-oriented learning
  • Tools, templates and other aids with every course
  • Downloadable content including video and audio

They demand…

  • Quick and helpful content
  • Content worthy of their attention (with a 7 sec. scan)

They crave…

  • Collaboration with others to solve problems
  • Coaching and facilitation on the side

Below are some ways to satisfy the needs of the modern learner. With today’s technology, we can provide these structures, elements and service. It’s about repurposing, restructuring and rethinking what we already have and already do.


Course Strategies for the Modern Learner

Two-Way Conversation

Intention: No more lonely learning but connection to others and having one’s voice heard. One way communication is over (i.e. instructor or content ‘talkin at ya’). Listen to your learners and what they need to build their knowledge.


  • Develop and foster an online learning community
  • Setup and moderate online groups and discussions
  • Capture learner feedback and needs via polls
  • Monitor their own learning via quizzes
  • View opinions and ideas of others via social media

Personalized Learning

Intention: To massage the content so that it fits the personal context of students. To not make it too overly complicated to deliver, consider a few ways that are responsive to the learning needs/topics of those attending your course.


  • Construct content and learning in stages per skill/role/experience or context
    • Allow to skip lessons after succeeding in an initial quiz
    • Direct to more information or early lessons if failed the same quiz
  • Poll learner needs at beginning and direct to relevant resources
  • Set challenging and real questions for live or posted discussions
  • Vary templates and other tools for different contexts
  • Show examples of various situations and cultures
  • Link or stream an array of external resources, feeds or tweets
  • Curate reliable content handpicked for your target audience’s problems
  • Provide increasingly difficult challenges to apply to real world
  • Gather data on learner performance for targeted support and course redesigns

Video Learning

Intention: Watching video training is becoming very popular. However, this is not the talking head videos that bore the learner, but about people watching, demonstrations or interviews.


  • Videos are rich media for layered complex learning
  • Can be overwhelming if too many videos in one course
  • Potential for students to share work via video (Periscope, etc.)


Intention: Short attention spans and need-to-know demands require information to be divided into categorically sequenced layouts (you’re in-learn-out). Just-in-time learning allows getting and finding instructions or info when needed to apply.


  • Create short chunky info pieces (i.e. podcasts, quizzes – read: interactive)
  • Allow time for practice between learning
  • Offer gamification experiences with rewards
  • Show performance and bookmarks through tracking software
  • Give downloadable and customizable tools, apps etc.
  • Build in incentives to complete work

Uber Modern Applications

Intention: Don’t be intimidated with these applications as they will become mainstream one day. What is more, both modern learners and course developers are becoming sophisticated in what they want and can create, so be prepared.


  • Wearable technology that integrates with course content
  • 3D imaging to construct ideas or products
  • Virtual reality environments to experience something
  • Business simulation games to test ideas
  • Mobile apps of any kind for quick interactions and calculations
  • Cloud file storage/sharing with others, such as Dropbox or Google Drive
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) with multiple learning features
  • Use of repurposed, free content via Open Educational Resources (OER)

 Sources: Lifehack.org | elearningindustry.com | elucidat.com | td.org | learndash


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