I’ve been delivering training programs now since 2007, and I’ve always had an internal debate around this topic.
Should I deliver my training programs live or in a self-study format? Self study being either via online audio recording, video or a shippable product with CDs/DVDs and workbooks.
There are pros and cons on both sides of the fence, and I’d love to hear your opinion here (if you are game to pop a comment on the blog).
I think live training programs are the best from a value perspective for participants – be it a teleclass or webinar, it’s great to go live for so many reasons:
- Biggest consideration is that people are more likely to actually show up and participate when they have a place and time to be on a live call – vs. a self-study or recorded program that they have good intentions of doing, but quite often end up gathering dust on a shelf or in a computer – yes, I have many of those myself.
- Likewise, people are willing to pay more for a live program than a self-study program – in many cases at least double the price or more, the perceived value is much higher when a program is live.
- You can add interactivity to the program – via chats, forums or open Q&A on the calls themselves. This is one of the biggest benefits of our OBM Certification program, as our participants get to “chat” with each other along the way asking questions, sharing aha’s and such. Makes for a strong community component.
- The vibe is totally different – even if it’s just people on a bridgeline together, you can feel the *energy* of a live program. From the perspective of having led many programs and also participated in many you simply can’t beat this.
On the other side of the coin, self-study programs can be very appealing, especially from a business building perspective – offering self-study programs has some real benefits as well, including:
- Leveraging what has already been created – record a program and continue to sell it ongoing (via digital or tangible packaging) is a great additional revenue stream for any biz.
- People can get what they want when THEY want it – they don’t have to wait for “the next class” in order to get the training they want right now.
- It doesn’t take up any more time to deliver – many business owners are already tapped out, and simply don’t have the time/energy to continue to do live programs.
- The person may be bored with teaching that topic – there comes a point in time where a business owner may simply be tired of teaching something. They might have moved on to other things and don’t want to deliver an existing program anymore. If someone is in this space, then it’s best not to “be live” imo.
Bottom line for me – as a participant I MUCH prefer a live training. I can’t count how many times I’ve bought a self-study program and simply never got to it (actually, I can count them if I look on the shelf behind me where they all sit). I need to have a date & time to be there or I probably won’t participate. Sad but true for me.
As a business owner/trainer, I do a bit of both – some of our programs are live and some are self-study. I think the key is to consider the training itself – what is the “scope” of the training program being offered? How in-depth is it?
For example, I can’t imagine ever teaching our OBM Certification program as “self-study” – there is simply so much to learn, so much to absorb and I think people would lose a lot of the value (especially the value of the community) if we went the self-study route. Plus I would become really disconnected from everyone.
However for some of our OBM Academy courses – especially the how-to courses – they are simple and straight forward. Want to learn Infusionsoft? Great, as a self-study you can get it when you want it and dive in right away to access the training videos.
So many options, and at times can be hard to decide. Curious about your thoughts – from the perspective of participant or trainer, what do you prefer? What has been your experience with live and/or self-study programs?