ExtensionEngine Blog

Two biggest mistakes management consultants make with online learning

Management consultants sit prominently on the leading edge of business — which explains why so many of them have implemented online learning programs.

Educational outreach that teaches basic and advanced business skills can not only be a profitable venture in its own right, but it can also help a consultancy to differentiate in the market, leverage their intellectual property or brand, generate new client relationships, and consolidate long-term relationships with existing clients.

With such clear benefits, what’s not to love?

What are the six pillars that are instrumental in developing effective and profitable online programs?

Six Pillars of Online Learning for Management Consulting

But these benefits can be significantly dampened by two key mistakes management consultants often make in their approach to online learning:

  1. Not thinking like a product company
  2. Neglecting to integrate modern learning technologies and science

Mistake #1: Not Thinking Like a Product Company

Organizations that successfully use online learning to generate revenue think differently. They treat their offering as online products rather than courses — and those tasked with development as running an online business.

In other words, they think like a product company. This is a very different mindset from “let’s just put a course online.”

This shift in thinking is key. The rationale behind it can be summed up in one phrase: the need to differentiate in a dynamic and demanding marketplace.

You aren’t the only entity offering business training. You have real competition vying for your customers, who are themselves both selective and savvy.

Consequently, your offering has to be special, unique, and specific to what your market wants. This requires a deeper analysis of the market, a comprehensive business plan, and the delineation of customer personas. 

You also need a product plan and roadmap, and organizational resources. Most importantly, you need a solution that enables you to execute on your vision.

Which brings us to the second mistake...

Mistake #2: Neglecting to integrate Modern Learning Technology

Gone are the days where online learning involved a simple transfer of content onto a platform which would serve it up to an undemanding learnership. Yet, that’s what many businesspeople think of when they consider entering the online learning marketplace. Such thinking is behind the curve.

Today’s technology supports a plethora of pedagogies and user experiences that make the online learning of five years ago seem boring and stodgy.

Avoiding these two mistakes will go far in ensuring that your online learning is well-received by your customer base so that you can enjoy all the benefits a great program can deliver.

The Six Pillars of Online Learning

Over the course of our work with some of the country’s leading academic, business, and nonprofit organizations, we’ve identified six “pillars” that work together to ensure your online offerings are impressive and effective enough to not only generate a revenue stream but also to support your organization’s overall business objectives:

  • Connection
  • Maximizing Interaction
  • Project-based Work
  • Collaboration
  • Branding
  • Four-dimensional Thinking

You can read more about these pillars in our white paper, Six Pillars of Online Learning for Management Consulting.

Each of them is instrumental in ensuring that the digital education you develop will not only make money and build relationships, but will also reinforce your organization’s branding and reputation, your “special sauce”.

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