I firmly believe that we all have a digital course in us, just waiting to be unleashed! We are all skilled at something and have expertise to share.
As a coach, consultant, or subject-matter expert, you have already started to share your expertise with clients, and perhaps you have even created a course already.
Nevertheless, I talk with many experts who struggle to get their courses “off the ground” or to scale their business in a way that affords them more personal and professional freedom and flexibility. They do not know how to fully leverage their skills and expertise with an online course.
Enter the 6D Method: A course-creation model and methodology that helps you develop and deliver high-impact, life-changing courses efficiently. This Method lets you focus on what matters most in the course creation process while allowing you to leverage what you already know and do.
What is the 6D Method?
The 6D Method makes the process more efficient by helping you organize a course’s various strategies and practices into an easy-to-use framework.
The 6D Method empowers you to structure your knowledge meaningfully. And since it is rooted in the research in learning science and best instructional design practices, your digital program will be exceptional and truly impactful.
You will create an exhilarating, professional course and have fun doing it because you will know where you are going and how to get there.
Finally, as you can see, the 6D Method finds its name because each step starts with a “D.”
Please note that a 10,000 ft. view of the 6D Method follows, and this framework only focuses on designing, developing, and delivering (i.e., teaching) online courses (not launching).
Furthermore, I do recognize that these processes encompass much more than this post addresses. However, this introduction should encourage you to think about how you create, or can create, a digital program that is both powerful and profitable.
That said, let’s explore each “D”!
Dream is the first “D” of the 6D Method. It concerns motivation, mindset, and goals. Working through this phase helps you clarify what you want from your course and your budding course business.
Think beyond finances, focusing instead on creating a journey and experience that is impactful, unique, and fulfilling for you and your learners.
Consider the following questions:
- What big problem am I solving with this course, and how will it transform lives and/or careers?
- What legacy do I want to leave with this course, and how does this legacy align with my larger personal and professional aspirations?
Part of working through the Dream phase is understanding the importance of what you want to accomplish. It’s about knowing that your time, effort, and story – your struggles and achievements – will make a difference.
Therefore, you need to understand your motivation for creating a course before setting goals for your course.
This motivation serves as the driving force, guiding you throughout the process and shaping its overall purpose and direction – its design and development – and that of your business…how your course fits within or aligns with your business and values.
While seemingly straightforward, the design (4th phase) and development (5th phase) of a high-ticket course are deeply intertwined with the foundational motivation behind your goal in creating a course. Your motivation shapes your course – how you create, what you create, and how you teach.
During the Define phase, your dream or vision starts to take shape; here, you are building momentum and preparing to start designing and developing your course.
It’s time to set some goals for yourself and learners.
1. Envision the Result
Begin with a clear vision of what success looks like for you, and then imagine the ideal outcome for learners.
Who will you be? What will I be able to do now, in life and business, with a successful course?
Upon completing the course, who will learners be? What should they be able to do now? How will this course inspire them to achieve more than they thought possible?
2. Next, craft two transformation statements: One for you and one for learners.
In one or two sentences each, answer the questions above.
3. Set Milestones
Break down each statement into manageable milestones.
4. Create an Action Plan
Develop a detailed action plan with deadlines for each phase of the creation process, from content development to marketing and launch.
5. Conduct Market Research
Research to find out what is already available and where there are gaps in the market. Look at competitors, read reviews, and speak to prospective learners to understand their needs and desires.
6. Align Goals with Learner Aspirations
Ensure your goals and the course goals align with the aspirations and needs of your ideal learner. Your course should be the bridge that gets them from point A to Point C (or beyond).
The third “D” is Devise: When creating a course or program, you must devise a solid strategy and make critical decisions.
Course and Business Alignment
Consider how your course aligns with your business and values. Building a course that seamlessly integrates with your current offerings enhances your brand’s value proposition and creates a cohesive and powerful experience for learners.
Alignment between your online course and your existing business goes beyond simply matching the subject matter or topic. It involves weaving together the core principles, values, and expertise that define your brand.
When your course aligns closely with your business, it becomes an extension of your services and offers, reinforcing your credibility and authority in the market.
Answer the following questions:
- What are the core principles and values that underpin my business?
- What specific expertise or knowledge do I bring to the table?
- How does my business stand out from competitors in my market?
- What pain points or challenges do my clients typically face?
7 Critical Decisions to Make [H4]
1. Course Promise:
A one-sentence statement of what learners will be able to do by the end of the course.
2. Course Outcomes:
Your Course Promise broken down into specific, measurable actions.
The Outcomes usually correspond to specific modules.
3. Market Research and Topic Validation:
Research your topic, competition, and audience via social listening, communicating with prospective learners, and conducting thorough analysis.
4. Ideal Learner Profile:
Based on your research, construct an Ideal Learner Profile that identifies your ideal learner’s
- Biggest problem/most immediate challenge
- Learning level (e.g., beginner, intermediate, etc.)
- Personal and professional interests (whom they follow, what types of content they consume, etc.)
- Who they want to be?
- What they worry about, fear, and want?
5. Course Name/Title:
Consider these questions as you work through possible titles:
- Can the title be pronounced effortlessly?
- Does it include specific terms that resonate with my ideal learner?
- Is it memorable?
- Is the name captivating? Remember, uninteresting names don’t attract attention!
- Is the name so creative that I must explain its meaning?
- Does my title convey the essence of what my course offers?
- Is it aligned with the preferences and expectations of my ideal learner?
Remember, the course title is one of the first elements of your course that prospective learners will notice!
6. Course Price:
Set a value-based price.
Value-based pricing often focuses on the results or outcomes that the course promises and is a strategy for which the price is set primarily based on the perceived or estimated value of the course to the learner rather than only on the cost of producing and delivering the course (i.e., profit margin) or on market competition.
7. Course Technology:
There are four broad categories of a course tech stack:
Thoroughly vet all course-related tech and choose your tech stack carefully.
The fourth “D” is Design and involves two steps: Outlining and mapping your course.
During this phase, you bring your vision (from the Dream phase) and what you have defined and devised to life!
There are four steps for outlining your course:
1. Brain Dump:
A straightforward step! Type or write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind about your topic: subtopics, points, tasks/activities, steps, procedures, methods, etc.
Wait to organize them, however. We’re not there yet!
If you prefer, you can draw on a piece of paper (or find an online template for) a mind/concept map and fill in the bubbles.
2. High-level Steps (module topics):
Choose 5-10 high-level subtopics or steps that make the most sense, given your ideal learner and the course promise.
3. Order Steps (module topics):
Order these 5-10 high-level subtopics or steps, and you will have your curriculum structured or course modules ready to be mapped!
4. Craft course and module outcomes.
A course map is a visual representation that outlines the components of an online course.
Each module is broken down into its components: outcomes, interactions, activities, and instructional materials (slide decks, templates, videos, etc.). These components are then connected to at least one of the course learning outcomes.
- Map or “assign” a course outcome to one or more modules.
- Decide how you will measure or know that each learner has met or achieved the module outcome: Think quizzes, self-assessments, simulations, submitting work for review, posting in the course community, submitting work for review, etc. You can have more than one measurement per module.
- Decide how to support learner-to-learner interaction: Q & A sessions, virtual office hours, live workshops, co-working sessions, or hot seats.
- Decide which instructional materials you will include to help learners achieve the module outcome(s).
Develop and Deliver
The fifth “D” is Develop, which concerns creating content.
During this phase, you build out the lessons, activities, worksheets, etc., and then upload them to the course hosting platform.
- Craft self-assessments, quizzes, or knowledge checks.
- Write community/discussion prompts.
- Record video or audio lessons and create downloadable materials.
- Upload content to your chosen course hosting platform.
Delivery concerns how you teach or facilitate a relatable, inspiring, and self-empowering educational experience, so vary your instructional methods and materials.
Consider using real-world scenarios, relatable examples or case studies, gamified experiences, and stories.
The 6D Method is more than a framework; it is a philosophy of education that weaves together the art of teaching with the science of learning, ensuring that each digital course is not just a repository of information but a crucible for change and growth.
Dream: The genesis of this transformative journey begins with the ‘Dream’ phase, where you are encouraged to aim beyond the horizons of conventional education. Here, the seed of an idea is sown into a path-breaking educational experience.
Define: Your course dream is sculpted into a tangible vision by setting clear, achievable goals for yourself and your course and mapping these to learner aspirations and expectations.
Devise: Now, the rubber meets the road. Strategic alignment with business goals and values ensures the course educates and elevates.
Design: The phase where structure is given to substance. You craft course and module outcomes and then plan the module and lesson components.
Develop: During this phase, you build out your course by creating content for it.
Deliver: Finally, ‘Deliver’ is where you impart these carefully constructed lessons, encompassing many teaching strategies to cater to diverse learning needs and preferences.
The 6D Method is a blueprint for building a legacy of knowledge and change that empowers learners to transcend barriers and achieve greatness. Embrace this journey, for in the act of teaching, we learn, and in the act of learning, we transform.