I’m Josey De Rossi, for most of my life I’ve worked in education. in late 2020. I was introduced to the Kajabi platform.
And as you can imagine, someone with a long career in education I’ve been steeped in the many pathways and byways, and cul-de-sacs that teaching and learning involve more than anything.
I come to you at this moment, having experimented almost eight years with various platforms of online learning and the creation of e-learning courses generally referred to as courseware.
And I can say absolutely sincerely that when I started using Kajabi, I knew I was in for a very, very different experience- It got me thinking about how someone like me, who’s written seven textbooks and written reform papers on the changing the ways of education in our schools views Kajabi’s unique power frame a course if I bring into my course design what I’ve learned over forty years makes audiences and students successfully engage in the learning experience.
I want to demonstrate what happened when I began to work on Kajabi on framing a mini-course.
Here’s an image of the backend of you know, my Kajabi instance, where I‘m creating a mini-course to speak to customers, my customers to give them something of my knowledge of how by bringing together the knowledge that we’ve built up for decades, —maybe even centuries and millennia— on learning theories and ways of working in education so that they can get to more efficiently and effectively personalize the Kajabi mini-course.
Not surprisingly, I began by looking at the information that Kajabi themselves gives about mini-courses. I was intrigued when I found this sentence, we will provide you with best practices and strategies, but it will be up to you to fine-tune your business into a well-oiled machine.
I understand what that means … because no one tells your story as authentically as you can yourself… and if the internet and hundreds of years of literature, film and the arts show anything – they show that authenticity and uniqueness sells.
Kajabi’s guidebook emphasises from the outset that you should make it clear to prospective customers and students what makes you special, what you’re claiming to know that will be helpful to someone else.
In my case that meant selling what I know about learning experiences themselves. What kinds of advice could a person like me give creators of learning products on Kajabi… an amazing platform devoted to fine-tuning businesses as well-oiled machines.
I’ll frame the problem a bit in a historical sense. That’s not an accident for me, but because I’m a trained historian and my doctorate’s in history and English literature.
And I’m intrigued as a social scientist to ask, what is it that we want to say to this advancing practice, this advancing platform that makes products, learning products at its heart says to its own customers.
…This is a great way to monetize your business, a great way to build up long-term relationships.. a great way to hold on to your unique vision as a service or a product maker for a game designer or someone in the creative economy.
So in a typical social science fashion, I went back and looked at the advice that Kajabi gives and where it gives it.
And I noticed that its guides were very good and very functional, very clearly written. I looked at Kajabi ’s unique way of university courses extended the principles that I’d seen in the guide. And I noticed how the advice emphasised a marketing view, as shown in Kajabi’s link to its ambassador Jodee Peevor, rather than the so-called learning about learning view.
That’s nothing remarkable as Kajabi primary reason for existing is in fact to monetize learning – how to create content for your mini-course is all about selling your product as a trusted brand.
And yet advice around there appears to be advice of another nature. -about building trust – credibility and validation and rather than just building a product – to paraphrase how I understand the company’s advice I’d say …If you don’t lead with who you think the course is for, then you’re in danger of speaking just to yourself.
In tackling that issue – which I know as an educator is one of the hardest things to grapple with in framing any course, I began to see where I might bring some clarity for Kajabi product creators
In a nutshell, it is the understanding of both the power and limitations you have of changing people’s ideas, feeling and behaviours that learning about learning gives you. this is what I’d spent 40 years doing.
In fact, I can say that when I worked as a teacher there was nothing more interesting than standing next to a young person and watch them make discoveries of knowledge, beliefs and values. It has been my absolute pleasure to observe how learners in my courses changed and matured
So in framing Kajabi courses, I wondered if I could give users of the platform that ‘learning edge’ that would benefit them as they set off in the brave new world of making online courses.
But now I too am involved not only as a teacher but as a learner too.
How do I imagine my customers benefiting from the learning experience I arrange through my mini-course?
What happens, behaviourally? what happens in their minds? what happens in their emotions?
Could the learning theories that I know about give prospective business owners and others who may not have had education training?
Now the flip side of that is that very often I have had the privilege of seeing how non-educators are actually very natural teachers.
And so part of where I want to come from in devising my mini-course is to say that where once we had this specialist idea of educational knowledge, digital technology is making all sorts of contexts converge and we are having to borrow knowledge from each other to grow the sum total of what we do.
What’s more knowledge about teaching and learning should NOT ever have been held by just one group of people because learning is what makes us human beings… we’re homo sapiens … We are continuous learners – so how learning is related to the marketplace and benefits us financially is a crucial question in a knowledge economy.
Here’s a word that is very alienating from my experience. Whenever you use it, even in teacher education, people’s eyes glaze over …it’s the infamous P-word… pedagogy.
It has variations — pedagogical and pedagogically.
But let’s be clear If you use the word pedagogy, you’re actually talking about the art of a teacher, you’re talking about teaching, you’re talking about the theories of education.
You’re talking about what it is you do in order to be a catalyst … a provocation of learning.
It is also a word that is frowned upon very often because of its emphasis on the teacher rather than what on earth the teacher is supposed to do.
Here’s a wonderful cartoon that was used extensively during the time when I was working in an education department selling the story of reform. It was crucial to remind educators how often they missed the point.
Somebody’s teaching the dog to whistle and they say, but the dog still can’t whistle.
And he says, well, that doesn’t mean you didn’t teach him!!
It was always a provocative cartoon Because it brought up the whole issue of, human capacity and all sorts of big, big issues,
Now I reckon it is turned on its head within a Kajabi framework, which is more closely related to user experiences rather than the privileged years of an educator’s knowledge
Now everyone in a knowledge economy must have at least some capacity to benefit from learning about learning and other ways in which we now interact within the user experiences online.
What this brings me to say something about the many roads that I’ve been down, not only the mainstream learning theory that comes, from the classics, from Plato and John Dewey, and so many others who have explored the human capacity to learn
Right down to the most amazing project housed at Harvard University called project zero about the learning about human creativity,
we are now benefiting from cognitive scientists, cognitive linguists educational philosophers, who are working with each other on how language is hitting against the formation of ideas. These studies show an amazing array of human potential.
And then in my case, because I originally started teaching in the arts, I continue to explore the whole idea that learning is embodied. your brain is in your body. And that means that how we learn is through experiencing of all kinds of enacting, rather than just, through words floating from your mouth to their ear. Or your online screen to their eyes
And then, if that’s not enough, there’s another layer of sociology, which looks at all the many, many things that human beings do to organize themselves as they take on knowledge and then transform it into structures, processes… and what kajabi users are focused on … businesses.
What I believe I’ve come to see and understand is how the Kajabi platform is allowing me to mix together three forms of knowledge and experience.
It’s allowing me to bring together all those things that I understand about learning experiences. It’s allowing me to say, well, in what way is that the same or different from marketing experiences?
The interesting thing that they share in common, of course, is that both marketers and teachers want to effect a change.
They want to affect a particular outcome. So in what way are those two things related? You know we have all kinds of ways of selling the sizzle, not the steak.
And yet, if you’re an educator, you would like to engage people to know everything about the steak and its implications to their health.
Both learning experiences and marketing experiences are now also begun to be explored in terms of story experiences. As someone from the Arts – the connections really excite me.
In other words, we have now got huge amounts of knowledge about storytelling and how essential stories are for branding.
But storytelling is at the foundation of all learning too.
So these are three very, very rich fields that I think we can cultivate to actually play and be a lot more imaginative in the way in which we can see our own very special ways of creating our courses for our prospective customers.
Bringing these together has been my focus for the last six months and informs the shaping of my first mini-course
As you are likely familiar, the kajabi structure has five components with a beginning, with a welcome and finishing with So what happens next In between there is a, what a, why and the, how
now those of you who have any knowledge of story-making pretty much would recognize that the five-part structure is a pretty good representation of a narrative arc.
In other words, like all good storytelling you make people come in – you entertain them by developing their engagement by giving them experiences that satisfy them emotionally, intellectually, even physically,
Putting it bluntly – education is not the territory of precious academics but human beings wanting to share their ideas, values and experiences with one another.
I work with my own creative team to say, look, Kajabi is anything but linear. In other words, it’s not a factory that you stick something in at one end, and then you’ve got the Ford car at the other end, … you’ve got hundreds of those same T model Fords driving around. It’s not about mass production – it’s about growing and scaling in an abundance of variability.
And so the way that I explain it in our own creative team is to say, think of your product, think of your moment, where you want to effect change right at the heart of it.
Imagine yourself throwing a stone into a pond, for example, and the ripples are what the Kajabi platform gives you. It gives you all the outside ways that the audience, the customer are seeing.
They’re seeing landing pages, they’re seeing web designs … they’re seeing offers. They’re seeing blogs, but in the inner circles are all kinds of ways in which those points of contact with your customers are being shaped and reshaped and arranged through automation and pipelines and emails etc.
The assessments are in themselves really fascinating to me because, you know, there’s a long, long tradition in education to do with multiple choice.
And it seems to me that the Kajabi platform gives that structure new meaning as well. So the assessments can sit anywhere to qualify or quantify a moment in a user experience.
They can begin it, they can be in the middle of it. They can be at the end of it because the whole idea of those assessments, is to get the evidence from the user.
Put together, I know that working with Kajabi highlights for me as a content creator the whole ecosystem in which I am operating.
But before I get too carried away, I think it’s important to make a few disclaimers.
Firstly, let me say again how I truly believe that there are some people who do not have any educational training and can in fact take people through a process of learning which is just second to none.
So I am not claiming that some people who have crafted online learning can’t do it without knowing about learning.
The other disclaimer is self-knowledge and awareness of your context matter. It is even more important that education knowledge
So the way in which we frame our user experience and the things that we do with our customers really do depend on you, knowing who we are, where we are, what we do in really deep ways…. that the more you can pay attention to the similarities differentiators of what you do, you have a better chance of being able to be noticed in that mass of knowledge, often referred to these days as the tidal wave of knowledge, which comes in an internet age.
Let me give an example from my work with my client, a young author, Clare Rose Trevely who came up with a rather big idea.
Clare writes books for young people, and certainly, she wants to sell books, but she wants to do so much more.
She wants to reinstate what it means to make books shared between parents and children, as a way of allowing parents and children to share their common humanity, no small stuff.
And so I was given this kind of vision where she has this dream of family life, which by the way, comes from her own urgent need as a young mother to deal with her own children
She doesn’t want me to create a parenting course, she wants to say, what if parents were a community of passionate people, who were empowered and what if those people could crack open conversations between families on life, on everything, using the beautiful resources that she wants her customers to share around their kitchen table.
Claire draws her customers a map.
She tells them that her big idea is about launching the pleasure of being parents and children together. And so she has done what many great artists have done in the past, you know not the likes of George Lucas and his entire star wars universe.
She has invented a world. She calls it everything world. And in this everything world, she has populated with attractions and rides that all represent the way in which parents and children can deal with both some thorny and wonderful issues.
Our team is in the process of actualizing all this through her courses … actually she refuses to call them courses….She calls them resources. She doesn’t want to teach anybody.
She doesn’t think that parents want to be told what they’re not doing. They’d rather be focused on how they can best work with their children and just be with their kids. And so the mirror maze of oneself, the bumper cars of everyone, the wonder wheel of contradiction, the lake of meaning the ghost train of change… these are amazing metaphors of how Claire wants to be in the world with her products.
So in our creative team, we also have a designer, Frances Lim, who has invented a motif of tickets that people buy to get into the everything world, or they are given to them free. And so the whole construction of her first mini-course to say the very least was breathtaking set me challenges NOT to give parents advice and NOT to tell kids how they should learn.
Clare’s brief is as far from school learning or a structured course could be without moving into that other online genre of ‘the game’.
I believe that it was thanks to Clare and how I had to imagine a course structure for bringing parents and children together around what Clare calls ‘the kitchen table of wonder’ that I can to clear up for myself how learning should nourish us and even let our businesses grow.
Claire’s brief of realising everything world resources, in fact, force me to decide between two options.
I thought, well, there’s always the potluck approach, of somehow being mindful that we are always contending with cognitive overload online, but if there are enough bells and whistles people might be entertained enough not to be distracted.
Or OPTION 2 I could, in fact, give my team more pedagogical confidence- what I call the PC method, the pedagogical confidence method – so that when they were creating content, they’ll be, be more mindful of the LONG-TERM effect that they might have on engaging our audience.
And that’s the name of the game- The engagement is what you’re going for. And it means so much more than just selling the sizzle. It’s the fact that in offering them a course in this pedagogically confident way they can see the change they hope to affect fin themselves – that you’re working with them to affect. They are confident that with buying, engaging with you, they’ll be better off.
So would you like to learn to use PC-building resources that will give you confidence every time you put together a mini-course?
And so I came up with what I saw on the back of Kajabi ’s five-lesson structure of the mini-course how a non-education trained user of the Kajabi platform might have a ‘learning edge’ through five PC building ways
The first one is that when we’re saying welcome to our customers it’s just not saying, oh, I’m glad you’re here. You’re actually welcoming in a relationship with them. You’re welcoming in hopefully a long-standing relationship. So you’ve got to think from the outset, the kinds of relationship that your welcome sets up. The first time that I saw this substantially explain with regards to forming an online relationship was when I did a course with HubSpot and HubSpot talked about the idea of preventing setting up relationships that worked like a leaky bucket.
In other words, that one of the most costly things that happen online is that you’re having to redo things again and again and again because the most important questions are not addressed at the outset.
I know that with some pedagogical knowledge – you have to think ahead – what you are structuring in the first place, what choices you are giving people or not giving them? what confidence you’re giving them? what liberties? what restrictions?
You have to know what relationship you are setting up.
The second PC way is about the hard experience in education that CONTENT is best formed by coming up with great questions – and making your audience see you modelling the excitement of curiosity.
The other thing you got to deal with about questions is that Google itself now is primarily looking at questions and the immediacy of people answering those questions in order to say whether or not their content is worthy SEO wise.
I can see in the fullness of time that as we come to understand more about learning through neuroscience, we will come to understand how deeper and deeper learning is possible through the depth and variety of our questions
The third way. – And this one bowls me over every single time. There is very poor learning unless there is an urgency to learn, I mean, virtually a matter of life and death,
You’ve got to be able to view your content through how urgently your customers need to engage. That’s my challenge at this time – making a case for the vital nature of learning about learning when we spent decades telling that vital message to one group of people!!
But the urgency of why extends to your own business vision, if you don’t know yourself, why you’re doing it, you won’t have the confidence to sell your message
The fourth way to build pedagogical confidence is using time itself to reveal all the kinds of procedures and processes of how people learn and change.
You know, you can be very inventive, but if you haven’t taken in how time itself is a factor in how everyone learns, you can undermine your own processes.
So you need to build in your understanding of the time – the time to engage and join as well as what it takes for people to come back time and time again. So they can have another taste. There’s a productive tension needed between the way in which you present the time it takes to learn in your course.
The fifth factor that I saw was how the ‘so what happens next?’ needs to be combined with a ‘so what’ test… You know, if they’ve done all that, and they’re still going they are convinced it was worthwhile.
The so what test means you’ve kept an eye on the accumulative effect of what you’ve done… together with seeing those things in relation to going forward.
My plan in my mini-course is to allow participates to experience these crucial ways of learning to learn principles by applying them to their own content.
That’s the irony of ‘learning theory’ – is pretty useless until you apply it.
However, there’s no doubt in my mind that there are real blockers to my PC methodology.
Firstly, we are always time-starved in a new digital age. Also, we still have to wear the labels of expertise. You know, should I dare to go into the unknown?
The feelings of inadequacy are just so anxiety-provoking as well as most concepts that are worthwhile are usually not simple ones.
They’re usually packed jammed with many aspects. And so you’re always needing to do that unpacking.
I take heart that I am about just one thing and that is about giving confidence to non-educators to tap into that deep well of knowledge that makes you more successful in your online projects and programs and courses.
I believe that that pedagogical knowledge can give business owners more agency.
Interestingly, the OECD has currently headed up an international project on learner agency, because it seems that in a digital age if a young person does not have ownership of their own road forward, they are usually in terrible trouble in terms of finding work.
Well, if that’s true of young people, how could it not be also true of those of us who are setting off to set up businesses. We need to have agency over the way we’re learning and taking on those new frontiers .
Pedagogical confidence is seen building the kinds of resilience you need to succeed …
So the question that I’m asking you is how would you like it if I could help you personalize those mini courses through this PC approach?
I fully understand that the first option is to say, thanks, but no thanks… it sounds interesting, but I think I will do it alone.
Another option is that you say stay in touch with a trusted knowledge that has helped people learn and change for centuries in many contexts all over the world.
Clare continues to exploit my knowledge in her own work of creating a series of mini-courses in the mirror maze of oneself because, as the philosophers say KNOW myself.
Well from that self-reflective point of view, you’re able to be in contact with your strengths and with the gaps that you might have in your worldview.
This is the ticket to the mirror maze.
This is the way she wants the kids and the parents to enter. Through the device of journalling which she sees as a way of collect shared experiences around the kitchen table.
Inside that mirror maze is the extraordinary ability to ask yourself all kinds of questions about your beliefs, your choices, your truth-telling -your illusions,… all kinds of very interesting positions and procedures that Francis our creative director will then turn into interesting products.
The first mini-course represents Clare’s desire to share a parent to parent relationship through the urgent need – her honest to God problem in preparing her kids to develop thinking skills for the future… the future of work and the future of life and everything else in between.
So she takes this stance as one parent speaking to another as if they are around her kitchen table. That’s the relationship she invites …
The five-level structure is based around the questions that allow her to engage with the urgent issues which you need time to think about in a clear, specific but imaginative way. The final part of the course brings the theme back home to you, in a very personal way.
To access my own mini-course on personalising your own mini-course on Kajabi sign up to my mailing list. Let it build your confidence by giving you knowing how the ‘learning edge’ can help you customize, personalize and differentiate your Kajabi product in this very, very competitive and crowded internet world in which we all set up our businesses.
Look forward to meeting you online soon. Thanks.