Back when I studied screenwriting, one thing was drummed into me repeatedly…
The huge importance of the first ten pages of your script.
And rightly so. It doesn’t matter how good your screenplay is, if it fails to grab the reader in those crucial first ten pages, the remaining 100 or so won’t even get read.
(At least that’s true if an industry professional is doing the reading — your best friend or life partner may feel obligated to get to the end!)
In those first few pages, at a minimum, you need to establish: the genre, the setting, the main characters and some kind of conflict. If you don’t do that, your reader (and any potential future viewers) will get restless.
And it’s similar with courses. In those tender first few minutes after logging into your course for the first time, students are excited, but they’re also nervous.
They’re wondering: “Have I made a smart decision, or been tricked into buying a dud?”
I like to think of your course’s welcome content as being like the first 10 pages of the film script. You need to establish certain things if your student is to feel happy and eager to begin their journey.
Here are the questions you’ll need to answer:
1) Who’s the course for?
Call out the audience for your course. Who specifically is it designed to help? When students recognise themselves in that description, they’ll feel happy that they’re in the right place.
2) What’s the journey they’ll take?
Give them a helicopter view of the whole journey, and remind them of the “prize” that lies at the end. Reassure them that you’ll lead them every step of the way. Tell them “you’ve got this.”
3) Why are you qualified to lead them?
Remind them why they chose you as a leader. What are your credentials? What successes have you had in the past? After all, they can’t settle in for the ride if they don’t trust the driver.
4) How is the program organised?
Familiarise them with the layout of the material in the course. Show them how to navigate the main features. Set their expectations about the type of content they’ll encounter along the way.
5) Where can they get more help?
Finally, let them know where they can find more help if they need it. Maybe there’s a support forum, a weekly Q&A call or just a handy FAQ. Whatever it is, make sure they know how to find it.
Do these five things in the “opening scenes” of your course and you’re guaranteed to give students a strong start.
By the way, you can use a similar approach to ensure your course ends strongly too. A parallel set of questions you must answer to end their journey on a high.
But I’ll save those for another newsletter. 😉
Have a good weekend and see you soon,
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