Why Self‐Paced Online Courses Are Perfect For Entrepreneurs

Is dripping your content a great way to deliver your course? I say not. Read on to learn why.

First, according to the adult learning theory, by Dr. Malcom Knowles, adults need freedom in their learning. They want guidance, mind you, but they also like to have the control over how and when they learn.

Creating a self-paced course means allowing them to work through the material and lessons on their own time. Add to this their strapped time to learn.

Take me as an example. I looove to learn and I sign up for both free and paid courses all the time with full intention to take them. But alas, I only seem to have about 60 free minutes in the week. Chop that up into any parcel of time, such as six 10-minutes spurts, three 20-minute sessions, etc. to attend the course.

This is the challenge with informal courses (versus formal credit courses at college)…

Nor can we control their time management skills. But we can set up the learning so it’s optimal for them.

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Just to be clear a self-paced course is one where you are not present and facilitating it. Some courses really lend themselves towards this type of delivery.

Perfect Types of Self-Paced Courses

  • How to fill out copyright forms and protect your intellectual property
  • Steps to revamp your workspace into a sweet art studio
  • Strategies to write killer blog posts that go viral

NOT Meant to be a Self-Paced Course

  • Moving through the fear of failure to shine throughout life
  • Reconnecting with your feminine self and celebrating a new you
  • Building an enriched online course to serve a variety of learners

The last few courses need to be facilitated by a pro and will require time to help learners build something that is a bit more complex or move through a transformation. In fact, anything to do with personal development probably would best be delivered via a longer program versus a short course.


Visualize your student sitting at their computer or holding their tablet and moving through your self-paced course. What is that they will need? You aren’t there to guide them or answer questions, so your self-paced course will need to be completely self-sufficient.

Ensure the following are built into your self-paced online course:

  • Welcoming email and page on how to move through the course successfully, on their own.
  • The outcomes or goals for the course that are realistic and achievable.
  • Pace of the course and what they can expect in terms of scheduling their time.
  • All the content at once so they can move around the course as they wish.
  • Content that is simplified, to the point, and delivered in a format that is appropriate (i.e. text for simple instructions, video for more complex ‘how-to’ instructions or personal connection, infographics for important sequenced steps, worksheets for practice, audio for stories, etc.)
  • Very simple and intuitive navigational systems with cues for next steps in the course.
  • Handful of extra resources that will enrich their learning.
  • All resources in the lessons and those extras ones also placed in one central spot for quick access.
  • An online learning community to share their ideas and ask questions with peers.
  • Next steps regarding motivation to keep learning or upsell to another offering.
  • Note of celebration when they hit the last page of the course.

When you create a course where you won’t meet, see or guide your students you must design it to ensure you meet all their learning needs.

Self-paced online courses are great for simple instructions and busy entrepreneurs who need just-in-time learning.