Workbooks and Worksheets for Online Courses – with Amber Chalus
Watch the Video-cast Here:
When do we use activities in our courses? I have the incredible Amber Chalus with us today.
She is the CEO of Biz Sister, specializes in helping Course Creators create beautiful graphics, workbooks, worksheets, and templates of all kinds to help them stand out in their business, look professional and amazing.
In this episode, Amber will give us some tips about how to use workbooks in your course, and what not to do.
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We always get questions from Course Creators about when do we use activities in our courses?
- When do we use Workbooks?
- How do we do them?
- How do we make them?
- How much does it cost to make?
- What if I’m not techy?
We have all these questions come up all the time, and it is a whole other world of course creation. It is a whole other side. Some people get super excited about it. It’s the creative part. It’s the bit that looks pretty. And some people just absolutely run for the hills because it’s another tech thing to do.
I have the incredible Amber Chalus with us today, who is the CEO of Biz Sister, who specializes in helping creatives, Course Creators entrepreneurs create beautiful graphics, Workbooks, Worksheets, Templates of all kinds to help them stand out in their business, look professional and amazing. And the best thing is, Amber creates the templates for us. She does the work.
Why use worksheets in your course
So we’re creating online courses, we’re creating both digital and face-to-face programs. Worksheets and downloads are really, really important elements of all of our educational programs, whether they are online or whether they are face-to-face. We all learn in different ways; some people like to listen, hence podcasting is a great thing for you to do to help reach your particular audience. Some people like to watch and see, so having the videos, having screened demos, to show people how to do things, really helps that kinesthetic learner who likes to watch and then do. And then of course the work, but this just combines all of those learning styles together. They get the visual aspect, they have the tactile, I get to touch it and feel it and print it outside of it. It’s amazing how many people feel like they have got extra value when they get a thing that they can print.
You have this digital online course, you might have five million videos in it, but the one thing that people take from that is when they physically get to hold something in their hand and fill it in with their favorite pen and go to the stationary shop and buy that beautiful folder to punch it all into. It is a real thing, and as soon as you synthesize your knowledge, the things that you’re learning from your brain, you let that knowledge pass through your fingertips onto a piece of paper that people have printed out. It actually magnifies the learning experience and it enables the retention of knowledge at a far greater percentage. So if you want your students to get the best from your learning and you want them to really feel like they’ve got value, and you want them to retain the knowledge that you have shared with them and get that maximum transformation from your programs, having worksheets, workbooks and downloads to some form is a fantastic way to enhance that learning experience.
Provide the shortest path
It’s one of those topics where once you get into creating stuff for your course, it can either go one of two ways. You can either mess up really or you can really add value to people. And obviously our goal and your goal, everybody who’s listening is like, “Okay, you don’t want people to just download something, let it get stuck on their computer and never open it again.” The dream is that they download it, and they print it, and they’re filling it out with their pen. A good download workbook or guide is timeless. It is something that they have and that they can use or consume later on.
I think that one of the biggest mistakes people make is as the course creator, they create something that they want but isn’t something that their students need. You really have to think about what is going to shorten the path between where their student is and where their student wants to go. Back when I was starting out and I was thinking about creating an eBook, I made it so long because I thought, the more that was in it, the better it was. When in reality people want the shortest path to the place they want to go.
If that means that your workbook or your guide is actually shorter than the industry standard, and you can get people there faster, then that’s what you should do. So instead of just trying to throw in absolutely everything in the kitchen sink and just overwhelm people with content and questions, I want you to just put yourself in the shoes of the people that you’re teaching. What is the simplest, shortest, easiest path that you can take them on to get them to the place that they want to go? Only create an activity or a download or a worksheet or a workbook if it is a critical part of the learning pathway and the learning process.
Make it easy to consume
I know that you all probably have a brand. You have a vision, you have a color scheme, you probably have images and everything. That is not going to make or break a person’s experience. It could actually be incredibly simple as long as it’s easy to read and consume and use. That’s actually much more important.
And one mistake that I see a lot of people make if they’re not using my templates: when you print out a page, you’ll notice that if you use Word or you use Google docs, it has margins. Margins are on the outside, so when you print it, all of the content is included. And if you use most Canva templates or a lot of Canva templates, or if you start making one yourself, you’ve made it pretty. But then what happens is, they save that as a PDF and they send that to be printed out and use as a worksheet or use as a checklist, and their student goes to print it, and everything on the outside disappears into space, and it’s basically useless. So keep that in mind is that yes, you can make it pretty, but keep it within the margins that will be printable for your students.
Know who you are teaching to
What’s more important than what you’re teaching is who you are teaching to. You need to know who they are and what their problems are. I have made the mistake in the past, whether it was a podcast episode or a course, or a program where I’ve taken what I know, and I assume people need to know and I’ve put it into something, and I’ve given it to them.
I’ve also made the opposite choice, which was putting all of my own ego aside and said to myself, “Okay, I’m going to ask them what they want.” Even a survey before you create your worksheets, your workbooks, or anything, even just a simple survey where you ask your ideal clients “What is it that you guys are struggling with? How can I serve you?” Their answers should fuel what you do next much more than your knowledge. You know too much for your own good and it affects what you put into it. People are not paying for information, they are paying for clarity, for certainty.
If you first of all, figure out who it is you’re teaching to, who is that specific person? What are they struggling with? So ask them, then you can start working from there. Then you can start creating all of your content in your Workbooks because you’re going to be asking the right questions. You’re not just going to be force-feeding them things that you think they might need.