Welcome to the last step in this series of blog posts on how one of our members went from earning $0 / year to $130,000 / year selling courses online. The last step we’re about to explore took place in our member’s fifth year of selling courses online when he decided to test the synchronous learning options available to him by implementing a WordPress chat plugin into his site which allowed him to communicate with his students in real time through his own online course chat room.

His students immediately loved the new live lectures he was offering. It allowed him to more closely interact with his students and it even gave his students an opportunity to get to know each other better. In a lot of ways it humanized the educational process for his students… and for him.

Up until this point he spent a lot of time creating high quality content for his students and paying a lot of money for professional video production. That being said, his students always existed to him in a fairly abstract sense. There was something about the live online lecture setting which allowed him to see who his students really were. In the past he was in contact with many students through email, but there was something unique and valuable in the live online classroom setting that wasn’t being achieved though asynchronous teaching methods. He found it to be the most valuable WordPress teaching plugin out of the plugins in his mix.

At the end of each of his live online lectures he used a survey plugin which helped him better refine that particular lecture for future classes. He would ask students to rate him on a scale of one to ten in the following four areas:

1. Interactivity / variation of media used

2. Instructor’s depth of knowledge

3. Level of new knowledge gained by students

4. Enthusiasms and passion on the topic being taught

He would then allow the students to provide feedback on the parts of the live lecture they liked most, as well as provide feedback on the parts of the live online lecture they would like to see improved. Not surprisingly, the average live lecture score was over 93%. Student’s loved the new addition to their online courses and many ranked these live online classes as their favorite feature of their particular eCourse.

At first, only a text based WordPress chat plugin was used to facilitate teacher / student communication. However, shortly after the chat room’s introduction, he introduced video, white-boarding, screen-sharing and collaborative documents into his platform help guide the live online lectures.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WORDPRESS LIVE CHAT PLUGINS?

There are many live WordPress chat plugins available for eCourse vendors. Picking the right one is essential because you’ll rely heavily on it for teaching your online classes. Software disruptions can cause major student dissatisfaction and cause teacher stress levels to sky rocket. In this case, in an effort to save money our client started using ChatRoll which is a cheap option, but in our experience (and based on various other user reviews here and here for example) very unreliable. It caused more than a couple of nightmares to say the least.

Our member had to cancel countless classes due to the hosted chat software being down, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, they then had to deal with many angry and frustrated students. So put time into finding the right WordPress live chat plugin for you. We found that self hosted options are much better because they will be as reliable as your host is. As long as your website is running the online chat software will work. That is why in this case our member switched to using cometchat software which integrates perfectly into the WordPress platform and even works well with WP Symosium which they were using as their community platform.

MY FIRST 5 YEARS SELLING COURSES ONLINE

Year 1: Finding the Right WordPress Membership Plugin
Year 2: Developing the eLearning Platform
Year 3: Thinking About eLearning Software & Tools
Year 4: Course Management System – Focus on Student Goals
Year 5: “Being There” – The Inclusion of a WordPress Chat Plugin