Do you really need a platform?

~ 3 min read | Category: Newsletters

One piece of the online course puzzle that blocks a lot of people is the platform (or LMS — learning management system).

First there’s the problem of deciding which platform to choose from the dozens available.

Then there’s the worry of getting all the tech stuff set up. (Even the most user-friendly platforms have an element of technical setup.)

I’ve argued in the past that there is no perfect platform, so the best approach is to look at a few of the most popular platforms, pick one that seems to fit your needs and budget, and then move on.

And I still absolutely believe that.

But recently, I’ve been wondering if you need a platform at all, at least to start with.

These last few weeks I’ve been working with a client who’s in the final stages of her course creation — i.e., building out the content, which includes recording a bunch of lesson videos. I’ve been helping by reviewing her videos and giving feedback.

And even though she already has a platform in place, for review purposes she’s been copying the videos over to her Google Drive and sharing them with me directly.

Here’s how it works when there’s something new to review:

  • I see an email notification that a new folder’s been shared with me.
  • I click the link and get taken to a folder with a list of videos, all sorted into the correct order.
  • I click on a lesson and a video player launches so I can watch the video as normal.

Pretty basic stuff right? But if you were launching a beta version of your course to just 5 or 10 people to get feedback, and you’d set the right expectations in advance, I think they’d be perfectly happy to consume your materials in that way.

It wouldn’t even stop you selling your course. You could get people to pay you via PayPal and give them access to the material manually once the payments arrive.

It’s not pretty, but it’s not terrible either. And it lets you focus on the content and the feedback, easily adding or updating material as required.

(When you think about it, using a fully fledged platform for the very first version of your course is a bit like hiring a professional studio to record a band rehearsal… a little premature.)

Of course, once you’ve got a solid product, then you can jump back into the platform maze.

And by the way, it’s not just videos you can deliver in this way either. You can create written resources, clickable checklists, PDFs, quizzes, all using Google Drive’s native features.

Use folders to break your content up into modules and you practically have a homemade hosting platform for your course. Pretty cool, right?

Obviously, a real LMS gives you lots of handy features like progress tracking, payment handling, automatic enrolments, etc. But do you really need those things to launch your beta?

You know what, this could be the start of a new movement.

We could call it #zerolms.

What do you think? Are you in?

See you soon,



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