In a previous post, I reviewed one of the 4 business courses I have taken over the last months. More specifically, I reviewed Kimberly Wilson’s e-course on creating a conscious and creative business. This week I turn to another e-course.
In this post, I want to focus on an e-course I took from Leonie Dawson. First, let me provide my perception of Leonie, and the reasons I joined her academy of Business Goddesses.
If I were to share 3 things about her it would be she…
And I mean the latter in a good way. From her story, I learned that in earlier years living in Australia, Leonie followed her heart and produced art, retreats and spiritual guidance for those around her. However, she soon realized she wasn’t making money nor flourishing as a business.
She took upon herself to delve into business and financial studies via books and courses for what seemed like a long time, and in turn, applied all she could to her own practice.
That is one smart lady as it is extremely hard to move from a sensitive world to one that is highly linear, and well … cut throat. Call it what you may, but creating a 6 or 7 figure business, as Leonie has done and teaches, takes serious strategy. I know as my first career was as an accountant.
Out of her efforts, and genuine desire to help others, bloomed the The Shining Academy – a online world of ample resources and 4,000 women (and counting).
(The annual membership fee)
Being a member of her academy has allowed me access to a multitude of resources, such as courses, videos, audio files, kits, workbooks, and a large community of supportive women.
Here content topics range from creativity, healing, spirituality to business development.
More important, the ambiance in the academy is energetic, loving and supportive. Leonie and her team do not put up with negativity, overselling, or bullying in her online space as she believes and embodies a better way to be.
Don’t tick her off or you are out. This makes perfect sense in order to manage a buzzing online community of inspired and diverse women.
Business Goddess E-Course (included in membership)
I give this course an A-
The business course is based on her story of going from rags to riches. Leonie is very transparent and honest- she describes every aspect of her journey of building a better business from selecting the right technology tools and teammates to marketing effectively.
She also encourages her learners to really focus on what they do best (aka the talents and gifts we were born with) to help the world be a better place. Her focus is very much like Kimberly Wilson’s in that regard.
And I believe her as she practices what she preaches, and her words say she believes in me, too. :0)
On the aggressive business scale (i.e. how aggressive one should be in business) I would say this course was 7/10. She has come to understand business, and tackles it well resulting in a large following and income.
The course content is created from the perspective of her story, experience, challenges, mistakes and triumphs on the following topics:
The content is presented in a series of 5 documents (PDFs; total 200 pages) that are laced with personal photos, images of her artwork, funky font, reflective questions, instructions and worksheets. Oh, and lots of encouragement.
As well, there are oodles of resource links to all the services or tech tools she used. I bought a high-end camera and microphone like hers to take videos and recordings, and they work great. I appreciated this advice.
In fact, I appreciated all her advice. As a new online business owner, at the time, (aka with a virtual storefront) her wisdom and guidance helped me immensely.
More important, she writes in a lovely style that comes straight right from her heart. You feel she is speaking to your worries, hopes, fears and dreams. She moves seamlessly from prose to essential business strategies and back again. I think she must ‘channel’ some of this.
Again, I wouldn’t really call this a course but more a workbook or guide book. As stated before, I think for a course to be a course it needs to engage learners. For instance, it needs to have some kind of:
Albeit, there are groups one can join in the academy’s online platform that encourages voluntary enrollment of fellow learners. Within these groups, like-minded learners come together and support each other through the course. These are offered several times throughout the year.
I am not sure if Leonie partakes in these voluntary groups. I didn’t join in, and I am not sure why – I guess I could have. Maybe it’s for this reason.
Research shows by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000) that one of the key elements to creating a great learning community is having teaching presence (also social presence, and cognitive presence, aka constructing your own meaning).
Like them, I found in my research that online learners in postsecondary want an expert nearby to learn from, ask questions, and be assessed by (i.e. am I doing this right?).
While having peers comment on and help guide others is useful, it is not the same as having the teacher be part of the learning.
NOTE: At the time of revisions to this post (Jan 2018), Leonie now provides live coaching calls on a weekly basis via Facebook.
How much is enough teaching presence?
In ample studies, it reveals that a main complaint of facilitators is online work consumes a lot of their time. In comparison with an in-person course, the instructor/facilitator/teacher teaches to a group and answers questions during the class time.
However, with online learning it becomes about individual connections. To answer individual emails and questions of 100+ students on a daily basis would be overwhelming and counterproductive.
Thus, pacing the interaction of the online facilitator is best. And doing it creatively is even better.
Here’s an example:
On occasion, ask participants to come together in a live webinar to present their ideas/work via slides or orally, and comment on each one. This may take 5 minutes per person for a small group, or handpick those who will present for a larger group.
Having groups present can be an option, as well.
During this live session, learners see the work of others, are motivated to finish their work or whatever application they are doing, and get to hear the advice of the facilitator (aka expert). It’s a win-win.
Leonie’s documents were so lovingly adorned with artwork, written in a poetic style, displayed with funky fonts, and given plenty of white space for writing or creating a pregnant pause.
I know Leonie is working on her next biz course and should be out soon (on how to double your business … yeah!). I am sure it will have more of her stories and learned advice. I look forward to it, and need to quickly finish this one first!
NEXT POST: I’ll review Nathalie Lussier’s Launch It and Profit marketing e-course