Yes, your first course is probably going to suck

When you look back at it, it will. Not that you’re going to feel that way once you’ve completed it. No, when you finish your first course, you’re going to feel a great sense of relief, like a load’s been lifted. Then you’re going to feel pretty chuffed with yourself. “I did it, I created a course!”. And then you’re going to want to do it again. It’s a bit like Pringles, “Once you pop you can’t stop”. Actually, I can’t stand Pringles, but that slogan is great.

You see it’s a lot like product development where the aim is to create an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) instead your first course will be your MVC (Minimal Viable Course). It takes user feedback to hone and perfect any product – and the same applies to a course. Which is why you should never be afraid to ask for feedback from your course attendees. That feedback is gold – even if it is negative. Because you can take that feedback and use it to improve your course.

You’re going to run through that first course and immediately see how you’re going to add to it, tweak it and improve it. Then your second course will be better. And the next one after that, even better.
But how do you get feedback? What do you ask? How do you ask it? The most important thing in getting effective feedback from your course attendees is to ask the right questions. You don’t want general, non-specific answers like “good course” or even worse “I hated it” without them elaborating why they either loved/hated it. And you also don’t want people telling you what they think you want to hear – trying to be nice.

So how do you ask for effective feedback on your course?

Well, the best time to ask is ‘in the moment’ – so while your course attendees are working through the course. Before they start the course create a pre-course survey and ask them what their expectations are for the course and let them know that they’ll be asked for feedback throughout the course.

Then you can include feedback forms within your course to get feedback along the way. And you should try to ask open-ended questions instead of multiple-choice or true/false ones. You want them to use their own words to answer the question. So you could ask something like “What did you wish to see in this lesson that wasn’t there?”. Or “What topic do you wish I elaborated on more?”. Or what did you enjoy the most about this lesson?”

And most importantly, you mustn’t overload them with questions. 1-3 questions dotted here and there is fine but if you lump them with a 20-question feedback form, don’t expect any quality feedback. They’ll either ignore it entirely or enter random answers just to get to the end of it.

So don’t let perfection hold you back from creating and launching your first course. It’s just going to be the first iteration of a great course. You’ll learn a lot along the way about how to do it right. And isn’t that why we’re all here – to learn and grow?