I subscribe to several learning journals and blogs. As the year concludes, they typically identify the most popular trends in online learning based on the previous year. To me, these lists help me see what everyone else is doing. This is "normal."

Like most people, I’m tempted to compare my work to industry standards. That would put me in the “normal” category. But, being normal won’t take me very far. Pursuing “normal” places artificial limitations on my future.

It doesn’t matter how you express your creativity. Let me challenge you to push beyond those boundaries. Rather than letting others determine what is acceptable, why not raise the bar by engaging your uniqueness in new and innovative ways?

In the world of online learning, there are a few “industry leaders” who exercise a great deal of influence over the work of instructional designers. These people have earned the respect of the online learning community by blazing new trails when others said it couldn’t be done.

I am deeply indebted to those who helped me catch a vision for what online learning can do. However, I’m not limited by their accomplishments. Today, the online learning I create looks nothing like the “industry standard” modules that are celebrated in journals and blogs. Copying those templates would be easy.

I’m not looking for easy; I’m more concerned about effectiveness and engagement. Sure, people might create learning experiences that impress other designers, but do they engage the online learner? Statistics say no.

About 93% of people who begin an online course never finish it. Why? They get bored. The lessons are too long, too repetitive, and too easy to skip. There is no interactivity, no accountability, and no personal motivation to keep going. One-star reviews don’t sell products on Amazon. High attrition rates won’t sell your course.

Doing what everyone else is doing will deliver what everyone else is delivering. When it comes to online learning, that’s not good enough for me. I’m on a mission to change what’s possible. The products I’m working on right now aren’t like anything you’ve ever seen before…and that’s a good thing!

You can change your future by redefining normal. Will you do it?

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Group Leader
Comment by Terry Hadaway on December 20, 2016 at 10:59am

Thanks, Debbie. I look forward to meeting you and learning more about your dreams for the future. I'll be there the entire time serving coffee, speaking, and learning!

Comment by Debbie W. Wilson on December 20, 2016 at 8:27am

Terry, I just signed up for the Coaching with Excellence weekend. I'm glad you'll be one of the presenters. Looking forward to learning more from you. 

Comment by Jeff David on December 16, 2016 at 4:00pm

In my real estate sales career, I've often tried to follow someone's else "proven" plan or pathway. I always regretted it immediately and ultimately resented it deeply. My greatest success and happiness came from finding what was the best fit for me and running with it.

Now as I approach my coaching career, I am working hard to provide value for which I can best provide.

Thanks for sharing.

Group Leader
Comment by Terry Hadaway on December 15, 2016 at 3:53pm

Thanks, Chris... the completion rates vary from course to course depending upon the way the course is structured. Some corporate learning earns a higher completion rate because it is required. Whereas other learning with more learner freedom has lower completion rates.

If I eliminate "required" courses, the completion rate is around 60%. That's not a passing score, but it is a huge improvement from the 7% national average.

Comment by Chris Conley on December 15, 2016 at 9:34am

Love this article Terry. Reminds me of an article I read many years ago. Benchmarking was a buzz word everyone was using. To benchmark is to look at the competetion and compare how they are doing whatever it is you are looking to improve.

However competetive analysis looks at an industry leader seeking improvement. Southwest Airlines did just that. When compared to other airlines their turnaround time was the industry best. They didn't however accept it couldn't be better. So they studied Indy car racing and picked up enough pointers to take their best and improve it 50% more.

Just curious the 93% stat mentioned above. Do you know the completetiob rate you get on your courses?

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