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Course Pages

CoachAccountable Courses allow you to automate the delivery of coaching materials and assignments, either as a slow drip over a multitude of days, or as an interactive sequence wherein completing the current step leads you to the next (allowing clients to work through the course in self-paced fashion).

Courses are built from items of various types: Actions, Worksheets, Files and so on, and these types correspond to how the system is organized for clients: Actions live in a client’s Actions tab, files live in a client’s Files tab, and so on.

This siloed grouping of course items (by type) generally works fine for clients to work through a course: one’s attention is usually on just one item, and prompts to move on to the next one allow you to jump you right to it.  But then afterwards there’s not really a place for one to go view the course in its entirety: one can easily view the parts, but not see them as a sequential whole.

Here’s where Course Pages come in.

By designing your course to be broken into one or more sections, and adding in static content (content that augments the more interactive bits like Actions and Worksheets), Course Pages become an alternate way for your clients to elegantly view and work through your course material.

Let’s see how they work!

Enabling Course Pages for a given Course

To make a Course geared for Course Pages, the first step is to enable it.  Because a Course Page is ultimately a way for your clients to see the course they are in (rather than merely receive the course items in automated fashion), properly setting the Visibility of a Course is necessary.

If a client doesn’t even know they’re in a course, Course Pages are naturally moot.

When set to “Totally hidden from participants”, Course Pages necessarily can’t apply.  By setting Visibility to one of the other two options, you are then given the option to enable Course Pages.

Turn ’em on and you’re halfway there.

Building a Course that’s geared for Course Pages works just like the conventional way.  Like always, you have your complete timeline (of days or steps) onto which you drag your various items: Actions, Messages, Whiteboards, and so on.

However in addition to those usual items, when Course Pages is enabled you have two more that you can drag onto your timeline: “Course Section” and “Page Content”.

New additions to the usual Course building blocks allow you to define structure and add content.

Organizing Course Pages into Sections

Course Sections are the key element of organizing the content of your course into a Course Page display.

When you add a Course Section to your timeline (and give it a name), that’s your way of telling CA that “Everything that follows this item should appear within this section”.  When you add another Course Section item later in the timeline, that means you’re ending the previous section and starting a new one: again, everything that follows THAT item will appear under that section.

By adding several sections along the span of your timeline, you are essentially chopping up your Course into those sections.  To think of it the other way, adding items between those section items amounts to you building up the content of those sections.

If you don’t add any sections at all, that means the Course Page view of your Course will be completely empty.

Stemming from the same logic, any items of your Course that PRECEDE the very first Course Section will simply not appear anywhere in the Course Page view.  (This can actually be a handy and desirable thing… just make sure you actually mean to do it!)

Augmenting Course Pages with Content

By dragging Page Content items onto your timeline, you can add arbitrary content (complete with formatting, images, embeddable media, and so on) to be part of what displays when clients view your course.

Adding content in this way is an excellent way to intersperse instructions, lessons, and other discussion about the more interactive bits that Courses are comprised of.  For example you can present to descriptive preamble that tees up an action item, or a lesson upon which a client will be reflecting on in a subsequent Worksheet.

Unlike most other items, this content won’t appear anywhere for your clients except on the Course Page itself.

If you feel so inclined, you can have a Course that’s ONLY sections plus content, completely eschewing the usual interactive bits and thereby creating an experience that amounts to merely consuming content (like is more commonly offered in other course platforms).  Doing so, however, is generally a missed opportunity: prompting reflection and action on whatever content you’re sharing is your way of supporting meaningful application of what clients are learning.

Tips for Building Course Pages

The Course Builder has a few things to help you easily build, tinker with, and ultimately refine the course experience you’ll be creating.

Quickly view and navigate the section structure of your course, and give things a real test drive with a preview.

The left side Navigate menu gives you some visual feedback around how you’ve got your Course laid out.  As you add Course Sections, you’ll see a mini menu of the sections you have appear.  These mini links allow you to quickly scroll up and down the timeline to jump to a given section.

Furthermore, the navigate map of the numbered Days (or Steps) your course is comprised of will be augmented with a little top-left triangle piece, signifying the presence of a new Course Section start on that day (or step).  This visual allows you to get a sense of how your sections are spread out over your timeline, helping you design a nicely balanced breakdown of your course into those sections.

Finally the “Preview page display…” button gives just what you’d expect: you can quickly jump to and experience what the layout AND interactive flow will be like for your clients.  Jumping between the preview and builder mode will allow you to iterate quickly as you put the finishing touches to get your Course to perfection.  (Moreover, it’s a great way to get familiar with how what you design corresponds to what clients will see… super handy when you’re just getting started!)

Aside from that “Exit preview mode” button, this is pretty much exactly what your clients will see.

There’s one key way in which your preview experience is different from what you’re clients ultimately see, and that is you, as course designer, are allowed to freely jump ahead to future sections that are not yet opened up.  This allows you to quickly preview ALL sections of our course while under construction, and you can rest assured your clients WON’T be able to violate the sequential nature of the course.

Course Thumbnails

To give your Courses just a little more visual flourish you can now upload thumbnails for them.  These will appear in the listing of all courses, as well as for your clients in their Courses tab (i.e. where they see the courses they are currently participating in and have participated in in the past).

Can’t be bothered to find or make a pretty image?  To make it super easy the system will generate one for you.  Just pick a stock image, set any overlay text and any overlay color, and you’re set!

Make your course pop, just a little.

Course Pages for Clients

The whole point of Course Pages is for your clients to have an elegant experience of going through your Courses.  As you might expect, they’ll find the place to access the course (or courses) they are participating in in their Courses tab.

From there, clicking on the “To course page…” button (or the thumbnail, if you have one set) will take them right in to view and work on the course.

Clicking from the course listing isn’t the only way for clients to visit a Course Page.  If you set a notification message for a Course Section item, the [loginLink] magic tag will turn into a link that takes your client right to that section on that Course Page.

Like elsewhere, you can do the little double colon trick in the loginLink:: magic tag to explicitly set the clickable text you’d like the link to have.

This is super handy, and works when that notification message is delivered via email OR displayed in app (i.e. whenever a new section opens up in response to your client completing some preceding item).

Converting Existing Courses to Course Pages

If you already have a course for which you’d like to add the Course Pages experience, you can do so by making a few simple changes to your existing Course.  Simply enable Course Pages for it (done from the Course builder >> Basics area), and then add one or more Course Sections to it.  You may also optionally add Page Content items wherever fitting.

That’s all it takes: once “converted”, your clients will be able to view their courses in the Course Page display mode right away, even for Courses they’ve already been added to or even already completed.

When (and when not) to use Course Pages

A common use of Courses is to do quickly and easily dump a bunch of “standard” items into a client’s account.  This might be, for example, to quickly share an essential library of files, or setup a core set of Metrics that every client generally tracks.  This is one facet of what we call the Starter Kit Course, and while useful it’s a poor candidate for a Course Page experience (because all those items AREN’T meant to be perused in sequential fashion).

By contrast, another use for Starter Kit Courses is as a sort of orientation or sequence of first steps to get going.  THAT usage, marked by a client working through some materials and assignments in sequential fashion, is PERFECT for Course Pages.

What if you have a course that does both?  Two options.  You can split it up into to separate courses, one for dumping in items and the other for your client to work through.  This is probably the safest bet and easiest to manage and setup without making mistakes or encountering gotchas.

If, however, you’re feeling confident in your CoachAccountable course building kung fu, you can do a fancy hack which is to combine the two.  Remember that note about how items that precede the very first Course Section item never appear on a Course Page (because they don’t belong to any section)?  You can use that fact to your advantage by adding all the “dump in” items prior to the first section, and then make an elegant sequence of content and assignments in the sections that follow.

Another common use of Courses is to deliver a regular check in or tracking Worksheet on a routine basis, most often to have the numbers reported in that Worksheet pipe into Metrics.  This would be a POOR use for Course Pages, because perusing a Course that was little more than an lengthy sequence of the same Worksheet over and over probably wouldn’t be useful or satisfying.  (Especially because it’s might nicer to flip through past Worksheets in the Worksheets >> Past tab.)

Generally speaking, Course Pages are for when you have a genuine structure of lessons (or modules, or units, or participatory steps, or…) that progress in sequential fashion.

Tips for Designing Course Page Experiences

Because Course Pages really pull for interactive progression as you work through, Course Pages are perhaps best suited to Step-Based Courses.  In step-based courses, completion of items in one step move you then on to the next, and this makes for a really satisfying experience of making progress.

That said, you can make Course Pages for a course that is time-based, i.e. dispatching over a span of days.  A classic example of this would be a Course spanning several weeks, wherein each week contains its own lesson (for example, wherein new lessons are unlocked on Mondays).

To make that work elegantly as a Course Page, you would put everything for a given lesson on the same day of the timeline, dispatching at the same time of day.  To make the interactive “go through these steps to work through the lesson” experience, you can drag items onto timeline day items to have their dispatch follow the completion of those preceding items.

Any item that is “completable” (namely Actions, Worksheets and Files) can have one or more items following that completion.

By daisy-chaining you can make sequences as long as you like.  The net effect is everything is essentially “ready to go” for the weekly lesson on Monday, and your client can, in self-paced fashion, reveal all of it as they complete the sequence of items.  And then the next Monday rolls around, unlocking all items from the next lesson.

By putting a Course Section item at the top of the lessons items, you can send a timed notification email that contains a [loginLink] that magically brings them right to that section of the Course Page.  It’s a slick experience to give your clients.


In many ways Course Pages has been a feature that has been a long time coming.

CA Courses have always been content to be kind of their own thing, emphasizing the interactive bits that layer onto work typical to coaching relationships.  But with the release of Course Pages the gap between CA Courses and other course & LMS platforms is DRASTICALLY narrower, now that you can design and give course consuming experiences that much more resemble that of conventional platforms.

That, coupled with the emphasis on fomenting genuine active participation and getting results (as opposed to just sitting back and consuming content, hoping for the best… AKA what I call “The Master Class” effect1), means CA Courses are exceptionally well suited to help blend the best of your tried-and-true content and that irreplaceable personal attention that makes coaching so magic, and do so all in service of your clients getting it and having it make a difference.

Enjoy!

Note:

  1. Big fan of MasterClass, it’s just… holy moly with those production values is it easy to JUST KEEP WATCHING rather than take any meaningful action to apply what you’re learning.  I probably would have canceled by now had I not, through sheer force of will, gotten myself in gear to make those 3-day croissants from Dominque Ansel’s class.  Totes delicious, by the way.

11 Comments »

  1. John K said,

    February 19, 2021 @ 7:24 pm

    The end of any need for an LMS. Fantastic.

  2. Shorombo said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 3:14 am

    Man, this couldn’t have come at a better time. This is essentially why I wanted to combine a LMS and CA. I don’t like the passive nature of an online course so I was wanting to use CA for that bit. Furthermore, I think you resolved another issue, although I have to check it out first to be sure. I was using Activecampaign to send periodical nudges to get “laggers” back to the course.

    Thanks John, I have various courses in CA with are build this way so I am going to see if I can convert them.

  3. Travis Greenlee said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

    I am over the moon excited about the new pages/lms features. This is going to take our courses and client experiences to an entirely new level. Coach accountable remains in a class of its own. Thanks John and team for continually bringing us the best of the best to serve our clients at our highest level. Much love ❤️

  4. Wendi Fredregill said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 2:11 pm

    This is so exciting! Thank you so much for continually adding more and more value to this amazing program.

  5. Corinna said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 2:58 pm

    Even though I already have an LMS in place, this will be so helpful with existing coaching clients to get free access to courses non-coaching clients pay for on my other platform. I’ll also use this for client on boarding. Played with it last night and built an entire in boarding course in 90 minutes or so! Very easy to use. Thanks, John!

  6. Phillip Nässén said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 3:13 pm

    Amazing. Sending out 4 exercises (that are in different worksheets) just became a beautiful experience for my clients. Especially since I can easily order them for that workout session AND have it all piped into metric with their report and reflection.

    I just tried a different platform for creating workouts, and now I’m back to making my own here in CA because of this feature. Thanks John.

  7. Rachel M said,

    February 20, 2021 @ 6:16 pm

    I am very excited to explore this additional feature. I appreciate all of your work to improve this platform so we can demonstrate measurable change for our clients. We all appreciate you and your hard work.

  8. Twila said,

    February 21, 2021 @ 8:28 am

    As always… amazing additional functionality!
    Thanks so much for all your hard work.

  9. Lorraine said,

    February 22, 2021 @ 2:11 am

    Ah – mazing!!! Thank you for this functionality John. It makes a huge difference to student experience and I so appreciate the Tour the Process course. Thank you for your continued dedication to Coach Accountable.

  10. Kissy Naude said,

    February 22, 2021 @ 6:06 am

    This is wonderful! CoachAccountable you guys are great and using your software has advanced and assisted my coaching tremendously!

  11. Chip said,

    March 3, 2021 @ 6:47 pm

    Love the new course feature – update my existing most popular, course in about 20 minutes! Will give the participants a great view into their upcoming journey with us! Thank You!

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