Still, the growth of the world-wide-web and my location in an area where good-paying jobs are hard to find forced me to re-evaluate whether I could master enough website technology to build a blog and do business online.
The one thing I did know was that a good teacher or consultant could make the difference between success and failure. After a few months of attending online classes to learn how to build a website or blog, I also learned that the key word is “good.”
Website creation teachers, on or off-line, are plentiful, but few have any meaningful understanding of learning strategies, the peculiarities of online teaching or how their lack of teacher training might impact their students. The average online teacher does not ask herself how to create a substantive course or consider how to address the different ways in which individuals learn. When you’re an online technology beginner and eager to believe what the six-figure e-learning entrepreneurs claim, you can be easy prey to those who are better salespeople than they are online teachers.
Once you decide to investigate whether online technology is for you, you’ll be dubbed a “newbie”-an annoying term if your life experience far exceeds those who teach you what you need to know. However, if you’re serious about learning how to create websites and blogs, you soon begin to appreciate that newbie is a convenient way to identify the on-or-off-line courses and teachers who are prepared to teach the beginning website creator.
Almost every online website creation instructor provides an introductory lesson or preview of her course via a teleseminar or webinar. Although these free classes or previews are designed to seduce you into believing that the presenter is superior to all others, you can get beyond the hype to evaluate both the extent of their knowledge and ability to communicate it to e-learners like you.
• Look at the teacher’s blog and/or sales letter and separate the sales pitch from the course content. You’ll sometimes find that some items identified as curriculum are really just miniature sales pitches. When you remove the sales lingo, what is left?
• During the preview “call,” does the teacher communicate substantive information about website creation or online technology, or just repeat sales jargon?
• Some presenters will provide a PDF download that is entitled a “learning” or “action” guide. This is a learning strategy intended to keep you focused on the content of the call. However, it also gives you an opportunity to see how well the presenter has organized the content he is presenting. Some of these presenters provide huge blank spaces where you’re supposed to make notes or fill in the answers to questions. No matter what the teaching strategy is, you should know by the end whether you benefited from any substantive information by using the action guide.
• If there is no learning guide, take notes of every session you attend. A later review of the sales letter, learning guide and notes will tell you whether the website creation teacher fulfilled her promises about what she would the during the teleseminar or webinar.
• Was time allotted for a question and answer period? The willingness of the teacher to field live questions demonstrates their confidence in and mastery of their topic.
• If questions are allowed, how well did the teacher answer the questions? Were the answers complete and comprehensible or did the teacher avoid providing information?
• Review your notes and critique the speaker’s performance. What did you learn? That, after all, is the bottom line. Did the teacher make previously unknown topics understandable for you?
Finally, be sure that what you pay for your first online web creation course, you are entitled to take it on a second or third occasion for nothing or a very minor charge.
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