There is an unlimited amount of educational material online, yet little of it is used. In this article, you will learn how to use payments as a commitment device to activate learning.
Commitment devices help you commit to things. The most classical case in January is the gym card. Most of us are willing to over-pay for a gym card just to make a statement to ourselves:
"I paid so much for my gym card I just have to go to the gym"
If I was to re-imagine how the next generation gym card should work, it would increase the monthly cost depending on how little you used the facilities. If you went every day, it would be 100 € a month. But if you only went once a week, it would be 400 €.
You would sign up, knowing that your wallet will cry if you don't make it to the facilities. I can guarantee that you would go more often than the usual flat fee.
You should consider using commitment devices when you are teaching. In his recent video, Youtuber and Medical Doctor Ali Abdaal explains that after deliberation chose to charge ~ 1000 USD for his online course on how to become a part-time YouTuber.
One of the arguments he used was directly related to the commitment device effect, where he explained how everyone in the course was extremely committed since they spent all that money to learn. Students took every lesson seriously which also made the community environment purpose-driven with similar but not competing goals.
Secondly, the payment hurdle also sifted out participants who were not serious.
By charging his participants, these two points of commitment feed into the positive community learning environment he had in his program - a critical part of succeeding with online education.
Thirdly, because Ali was able to charge a premium for the product, he was able to give them a premium experience. He mentions being able to give live workshops, seminars, and interacting closely with his participants. With a smaller or non-existent cost for the participants, he would not have been able to coach the way he did, delivering way worse results for the participants.
This is something I've noticed while going through the HubSpot academy course on inbound marketing. If I would have had a teacher go through my content, give me advice, and then follow up on me, I would learn faster and more efficiently.
(When writing this, I realize that it is a service provided by countless consultants out there. I just make use of the stuff from HubSpot academy for free to save money...)
To summarize, you should definitely find ways to charge for your educational content. Because without it, one strong commitment device is lost. Paying for participation leads to stronger commitment to both community and learning and gives you as the educator the economical possibilities to give a more hands-on experience to your students.
In the end, it leads to improved learning outcomes and delighted students ^_^
Blog posts like this are used to share knowledge freely. In the new Dream Tribe community that I'm a part of creating, we will not charge anyone anything to see what it's all about. For the ones who want to really get involved in the learning and supportive community, there will be both an application process and some form of participating fee at some point.
If you are interested in being one of the first to have the chance to join me in the Dream Tribe community visit dreamtribe.io