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Ask the Readers: Who’s Responsible for Success in an Online Training?

online trainingThis is a topic that’s important at Mirasee – and for almost every one of our readers, as well.

As an entrepreneur, when you take an online training – whether one of ours or anything else – you have a goal. That goal is to improve the success of your business.

And everyone wants that success. You do, as a student and as an entrepreneur. The course provider does – unless the course is a scam – but that’s another story.

Everybody wants success, but who is responsible for it?Click To Tweet

Students or Teachers: Who’s Responsible for Your Success?

As a student, if you find that you have difficulty learning the material, is that your fault? Or is it a bad course? How would you know?

Or suppose you learn the material, but then you don’t put it into use? What about that? Or you try it, and it doesn’t work, and you don’t learn and try again? How much work should an entrepreneur put in to using what he’s learned before he decides, “This just doesn’t work.”

And let’s look at it from the side of the course provider. Many of you are providing online courses, and more of you are thinking about it. What are your responsibilities beyond making the course available? How much support do you provide? What do you do when a student just doesn’t get it? What do you do when a particular student is just not a match for the course – say he doesn’t have the right background?

And how far do you go in helping your student implement a solution? What’s the line between course provider and personal trainer or consultant?

No Right Answer

There are lots of ways to look at this. There’s no one right answer.

There are, though, a lot of wrong answers. Those end up with flame wars between teacher and student, demands for refunds, and disappointment.

So let’s not go there. Let’s discuss and debate, instead.

Whether you take courses, or offer them, or both, what do you think?Click To Tweet Post a comment below, and kick off the discussion.

And if you see a comment you like – or one you disagree with – post a reply. Help us stir the pot on this important topic!

About Sid Kemp

Sid Kemp, PMP, has written 9 books and dozens of articles on business success, project management, and quality management. You can see and buy all of his published books at


  1. Judy says:

    With power comes responsibility. Teachers hold a position of influence and power.

    Students cannot be expected to know why things aren’t happening for them. They are seeking answers. They could work hard, follow every instruction, and fail because the teacher hasn’t identified the roadblocks and forges ahead with an established plan, with or without the students..

    Did you ever have this experience: You were led to believe that you weren’t good at something only to discover, perhaps years later, that you had true talent? Someone may have seen something in you that no one else had. Or perhaps you found the answer yourself in a self-help book. But years may have been wasted finding the answer in spite of many teachers.

    A poor teacher leaves you where you are. A good teacher cuts a path through all the briars.

    It’s easy for the teacher to excuse failure— “I could teach you if you were motivated, but you are not motivated.”

    The teacher, by virtue of experience must accept more responsibility — not all, but more.

    1. Sid Kemp says:

      Judy, I agree with you, but with a bit of a reservation. If the student does not report a problem, the teacher cannot help. If the student does reach out, then the teacher should do everything within reason to help. But, with adult students at least, if the student drops out or disappears, or says nothing is wrong, then the teacher does not really have any way of being a helpful influence. We can ask what’s up. We can offer help. But we can’t help if the student runs away or hides key information.

      Does that make sense?

      1. Judy says:

        It makes sense. Just one more thing to consider.

        Learners/students of any age often do not know there is a problem or assume that they themselves are the source of the problem. This is especially true when they are surrounded by people experiencing success. They silently blame themselves. A good teacher must be alert to this and when they see failure help the student dig below the feelings of inferiority.

        I took piano lessons for a few years as a kid with miserable results and no confidence. Forty years later a friend, a jazz musician whom I was lucky enough to meet in a bowling league, was able to show me what formal lessons failed to do. Now I play every day! Even in public! The teachers, I now conclude, were dedicated to the curriculum/the method—not the student.

        Not always the case, I’m glad to say to all of you at Firepole. But I often wonder how often this might be true.

        1. Sid Kemp says:

          All too often, I would say. I myself was told I couldn’t sing when I was five, and a wonderful music teacher helped me learn to sing – and prove they were wrong – when I was 48.

          But one must consider context. At Firepole, we do not see our students if they don’t show up.

  2. Linda says:

    I can only speak from my own experience, and my answer is … Customer Service is King. I too am a procrastinator, and I also keep a very busy schedule. Twice I have signed up for paid author training courses and both times my own live work took precedence.

    By the time I could get back to the courses I felt sort of left to my own devices to figure it out. Plus, they both had freebies that after time went by, and I never heard anything from the sites, I assumed I had blown the chance to collect on the freebies.

    I was well-trained in customer service back in the day, and someone from my workplace would have contacted me at some point to ask why I had not collected on the freebie. Shouldn’t they be concerned that I might have been disappointed in what they offered? In what I received? That effects future sales whether they acknowledge that or not.

    1. Barb Johnson says:

      Linda, good post. You have given me a new outlook on this. Maybe some of these wonderful courses I purchased, could have contacted me to see how I’m doing. Reaching out like that to me would probably have helped. At the least, I would be beating the drum for that company because they cared. What a difference that would be.

    2. Sid Kemp says:

      You address an interesting boundary in the provider/student relationship. At Firepole, our course is available to you for life, along with any freebies that we may offer. And people do pop up and reconnect and succeed after a year or more, even though the course is less than three months long.

      But, to date, as a general rule, we do not reach out to students who have dropped out of touch. In that, we follow a more responsive model. And you are suggesting a good alternative.

  3. Carolynne says:

    This was a great post and I loved reading all of the comments.

    Learning is a partnership. We learn from each other everyday.

  4. Pam Loy says:

    My last thought about teachers being good teachers and relativity, is that my daughters had the same kindergarten teacher. The teacher and my oldest daughter worked great together; so according to my daughter, Miss Kestine was a good teacher. On the other hand, when my second daughter, Brianna, attended the same teacher/class, Miss Kestine did not know how to handle her; and Brianna was very stubborn. They did not get along. Fortunately, Miss Kestine was promoted and Brianna experienced a better teacher for her.

  5. Pam Loy says:

    Ultimately, it is up to the student to apply what they pay for or come away with from the class or learning module. On the other hand, not every teacher is a good teacher, but this is relative. As an example, I hated history class in school. I recv’d my first “B” grade for an history class in college. I liked the professor; he actually made the class interesting.

  6. Leslie Jordan Clary says:

    I think in online training, like in most things, we’re responsible for our own success. I’m a terrible procrastinator and can’t blame anyone for that but myself. In terms of responsibility for an online course, I suppose the main thing would be to be upfront about it and how much support to expect. I know some online courses have two versions — a complete do-it-yourself that is emailed every week, and another version that has some kind of support with it. I do think if there is a critique or extra support option that students are paying for, it should be treated as something “real” — in other words, if you offer live support, be willing to seriously critique the work. Some critiques are little more than a cheering section or pat answers with exercises that sound like they were cut and pasted. It’s fine if you’re clear that’s what to expect, but it can be disappointing to send something in and get back a critique that sounds like they didn’t even look at your work — a pre-written response — same for everyone. I’ve taken a lot of online courses so just speaking in generalities here!

  7. Michael Allman says:

    There are lots of great posts here and some great comments. I think though that one of the key questions is motivation. Are you learning (or teaching) for yourself or for someone else’s expectation. One of my favorite questions to ask myself is ‘Are you doing it out of fear or out of love?’. That might sound a little ‘woo-woo’ to some people, but I’ve found that when I am motivated by love (it makes me happy, I enjoy it or it energizes me) I get good results. When I am motivated by fear (I am resistant, I want something, I feel lack) it all tends to backfire.

  8. Michael "Osito" Schulz says:

    It is primarily the responsibility of the one offering.

    While a good interplay and effort by both teacher and student are desirable, if not absolutely necessary, it would seem obvious that the one offering in the delivery of a product or service bears the primary responsibility. If I go to a fine restaurant, I don’t feel that the delivery of the agreed upon dish, at a certain level of quality and price, is equally my responsibility. In fact, in my professional career as a consultant, it would be simply incredible to believe that my client had to make an equal commitment in the delivery of my services.

    Now, based on many of the posts above, I suspect that many are currently taken aback by my position. I don’t think we’re really that far apart. Please allow me to explain. Let’s take a look at the specific field of online marketing instruction.

    As a student, I had to wade through a boat load of offers. Each offer was presented to me as a niche client, and at certain price points. I was exposed to nearly every marketing ploy out there. My obligation is to vet these offers and find the one or two that meet my needs and means. I have to decide if what I have to offer is sufficient to get what I want out of the course. Now, what does the offering party have to deliver?

    First, the marketing instructor needs to vet me. Let me repeat, “needs”. If he were to simply accept everyone who had the money, he would be taking a genuine risk. The point is that accepting a non-serious student makes for a miserable transaction, and tends to disrupt the learning by other students. I don’t know about your experience, but when I was vetting Firepole, we had discussions as to attitudes, commitment and expectations. Just between us, the vetting process sold me. It was a matter of engagement, and engagement is two-way.

    From now on I expect to be provided excellent teaching, and I can assure everyone that I am hungry for that. The restaurant analogy is apt. If I commit to going to the eatery to satisfy my hunger, I am ready to eat!

    And when you become the teacher, what are you going to do? You are the one that spent your time, money, energy…blood, sweat and tears…to prepare for this opportunity. You owe it to yourself, as well as your students, to vet them, then teach passionately. Over-deliver and you shouldn’t have any problems with your students.

    The world is uncertain, and you can’t be right all the time. But, with the proper product and attitude, the student almost always learns.

    Have a great weekend all!

    1. Sid Kemp says:

      Hi Osito:

      You have an intriguing angle. But it would be possible to take to too far. Two examples:

      Someone makes a reservation at my restaurant. I make sure they know the type of food and it’s what they want. A couple of hours before they come to my place, they eat some bad street food. They arrive for dinner, order, and are served. Before they can take a bite, they get violently ill from the street food they ate earlier. Clearly, they are about to having a lousy dining experience at my restaurant. But am I responsible?

      Example #2: Is Harvard Law School responsible for ensuring that every matriculating student graduates? That the student goes on to have a successful career as a lawyer? That the student remains ethical? If a student fails in his law business, should Harvard repay his tuition? If a student, after graduating and passing the bar, now a Harvard alumnus, becomes unethical and rips people off for millions, should those people be allowed to sue Harvard for his actions?

      For those reasons, I can’t see giving primary responsibility for the entrepreneur’s success (or the diner’s, or the law student’s) to the provider of the training the entrepreneur uses.

      Sid Kemp

      1. Michael "Osito" Schulz says:

        I’m not trying to be argumentative, but…

        …here are a couple comments based on your specific examples:

        1) Are you saying that a student who has a bad experience elsewhere bears an equal responsibility for determining what’s gone wrong and how to fix it? Wouldn’t that be the reason he would be going to an expert teacher, such as yourself, in the first place? I’m guessing he is not equipped to “fix” himself at all. Otherwise, why would he need you? Besides, isn’t that a somewhat disassociated response to the analogy? I don’t see where a diner in need of medical attention is on point. Perhaps I didn’t make it clear that the diner was hungry – and not sick. Is Firepole offering to “fix” me, or to satisfy my hunger for strategic marketing advice for amateurs? If I am mistaken, please let me know.

        2) First, let me congratulate you on the correct use of “matriculating”. I hear so many media personalities misuse the word. Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News Channel ***STAR*** who is constantly telling about his experience as an English teacher, and who presents himself as an expert in all things grammar, is constantly asserting his expertise by saying he “matriculated” from Harvard School of International Studies. One matriculates to or into something. (Sorry for the rant…seriously sorry.)

        Back to the Harvard example… I would say that, indeed, Harvard has the primary responsibility in achieving the desired outcome. Did Harvard vet the student? They thoroughly vetted me, before I turned down their generous offer. Did they go out of their way to deliver on the promise of a superior education? When I vetted them, they certainly did! In fact, I only found one other university that offered higher standards. Perhaps I misunderstood, but the rest of your analogy did not address the points I made. I addressed the teacher/student dynamic, and not theoretical situations occurring after graduation. It was my impression we were addressing the success of the teaching experience only – who would be the more responsible party. If I misunderstood, and I may have as I sometimes have to rush through the daily discussion points, I offer a sincere apology.

        Furthermore, I allowed for some experiences outside normative aspirations at the end of the post. I’ll stick with my conclusions, unless you have another example for me to consider.

        I have been well pleased with my choice of Firepole to this point. Thank you for the knowledge I gleaned from your almost daily missives. And, I mean that in its more common usage, “a written communication” or “message”, as well as in the more obscure “a written instructional text, e.g. the Catholic Missal is a missive”. Thank you for challenging me. I really enjoy a polite intellectual debate!

        1. Sid Kemp says:

          Hi Osito:

          Actually, the points of my two examples are much simpler. They both say, “Stuff happens.”

          The restaurant example matches well the student who has a critical illness – or wins the lottery and retires – while taking the course. The student does not complete the course or succeed as an entrepreneur, and I don’t see how the course provider is responsible.

          The Harvard example points to the fact that, no matter how well a person is vetted at time A, people change. It would be very strange to say that Duke Law School was primarily responsible for Richard Nixon becoming President of the US, or for him being impeached. The parallel here is that most of the work to be performed by the entrepreneur is work done not as a student, but after the course is over, as an entrepreneur.

          And I’m not trying to have you change your position. I prefer a fun discussion that shines light on the topic for all of us.

          1. Michael "Osito" Schulz says:

            Sid, I did not mean to imply that you were attempting to change my mind. In fact, I’m mindful of one of your subheadings, that there is “No Right Answer”. However, the post is in part entitled “Who’s Responsible for Success in an Online Training?” So the answer is “Stuff Happens”? I apologize, but I completely missed the point.

            Hello, Terence Verma! Nice to (virtually) meet you. I suspect you are indeed correct. My problem was that the subject was specifically “online training”, not “after”. From reading a number of the posts, I’d guess I’m not the only one confused. I’m sorry for wasting our time.

            Regards, all!

        2. Terence Verma says:

          Hi Michael,

          Two things ‘have’ to bear on this discussion -the before) vetting and the entrepreneur dynamic ( the after)…or else it becomes quite, pointless you might agree.

  9. Sid Kemp says:

    What a wonderful discussion. Thank you all!

    I chose not to respond to each comment, because that felt like the usual engaged teacher role. And the whole point of this blog post is to step out of that.

    Every post was valuable. And I encourage you to read them all with this question: Is this post calling the person taking the course a “student.” If so, then I think perhaps that post is addressing only half of what needs to be done to succeed.

    I like all I see in these comments about student-teacher collaboration and shared responsibility.

    And, at the end of the day – or the end of the course – the person taking the course is not just a student. He or she is also an entrepreneur.

    So, let’s continue the conversation. As an entrepreneur who has taken the course, who is responsible for your success in your own business. Are we, ourselves responsible? Or is it a collective effort? And who is in the collective that leads to entrepreneurial success!

    1. DougM says:

      Well, Sid, I’d say throwing in a topic curve early in the conversation is breaking the usual mold. Nicely done.

      I’ll have to recuse myself from any discussion “as an entrepreneur who has taken the course” because I haven’t (yet), but in rereading my earlier comments, I realized that I do have expectations of a teacher, as a student:

      1. I expect them to be a partner in my learning process (we cooperate for the best result in that regard).

      2. I expect them to model their own lifelong learning process, and help us fit this into ours (since that’s what everyone needs to be doing).

      3. I expect them to be authentic and candid about their own mistakes and what they are learning as they go (never posture themselves as above, nor limit themselves as below, their true selves in their learning process; practice congruence, more than false modesty or bravado).

      4. I expect them to be prepared to possibly learn from me (since reciprocity is human, and we all have gifts to share).

      5. (probably out of order) I expect them to create and provide a safe space in which learning can take place — no shaming, no bullying, no disrespect, no hate.

      I hope fundamental competence and sincerity and integrity were included in what I mentioned, but otherwise I think that covers it.

      Of course, near as I can tell, the Firepole team does incredibly well on all counts. That’s why I’m here.


      1. Sid Kemp says:

        Thank you, Doug. You say this very well, and I agree on all points – this is certainly what we aim to do here at Firepole.

        And just to push the envelope a bit, two questions:

        1. What do you expect of yourself as a student.

        2. Setting ABM aside, you must have learned something at some time that was helpful to you. And, when you were done learning, where did responsibility lie for using what you learned well?

        1. Terence Verma says:

          Module #1 itself answers your Qs. My expectation has to be the realisation of my purpose. All motivation to benefit the maximum from the coaching is rooted therein. Its my response-ability in the end.

        2. DougM says:

          Hey, Sid. Great questions. I expect a huge amount of myself as a human, and lifelong learning is just a piece of it. But in the same context as what I expect of a teacher, as a student, I am responsible for:

          1. Understanding how I best learn, and how I best contribute to others’ learning, and putting myself in the best learning situations I can find.

          2. Having my own learning goals, and seeking course material that fits my goals and my learning style and my budgets for time, energy, attention, and resources.

          3. Participating and engaging as fully as is appropriate, whether I’m just listening in for the flavor, or trying to absorb everything fully.

          4. Doing my part to maintain the safe container — staying positive, supporting others, speaking up when I see something that needs attention. Letting everyone move at their own pace.

          5. Embracing the course materials and talks and whatever else is included. Looking for my answers first in whatever is in front of me.

          6. Letting the instructor(s) know what works for me. Providing constructive feedback on content.

          7. Helping my fellow students, as appropriate. Listening to their questions and underscoring key concepts and viewpoints that might help them succeed.

          8. Taking full responsibility for what I get out of the course; doing the work that fits my goals, whether that is exactly what is assigned, or far more, or much less.

          9. Being vulnerable, not knowing, being willing to change to become what I want to be. To the extent possible, enjoying and celebrating the process, no matter how uncomfortable in the moment.

          10. Honoring and respecting the instructor, my fellow students, and anyone else who is helping to make all this happen.

          11. Using what I’ve learned to fulfill my goals in life, and paying it forward, afterwards.

          Not as tight as the first list, but I think I hit the key points.

          1. Sid Kemp says:

            Hi Doug:

            I really like your list. But note that #1 through #10 are all about yourself as a student. Only #11 (which has two points) is about being an entrepreneur.

            So, in more detail, what do you expect of yourself – or to put it another way – what does it take – to be a successful online entrepreneur?

            Sid Kemp
            Firepole Marketing

          2. Sid Kemp says:

            Hi Doug:

            You’re in a tough situation. I know. I’ve been there.

            One message from Firepole that you may not hear often elsewhere is that success in starting your own business requires a lot of investment of time and some investment of money.

            If you want a high chance of success, we don’t see any way around that.

            We recommend that you have enough money for the course, plus basic web hosting and a few incidentals (like an email manager). Say $1,000-$1,500 cash (including ABM).

            Then add enough money to live on for a couple of years. Or, if you have a job that keeps a roof over your head, be sure you can clear 10-20 hours a week for a year or two to keep working on your business.

            How do you get from where you are now to that place? The answer to that is much more about passion, commitment, and self-management (whether you’re freeing up time, spending less, or looking for temporary extra income) than it is about buying another course right now.

            Hope this helps! It can be daunting. Hang in there.

          3. DougM says:

            Hey, Sid — It’s taken me a long time to get back to you, but all I can say is that I mostly have no idea how to succeed as an online entrepreneur. I’ve been looking for months for a way to get myself bootstrapped from essentially nothing. I’m still trying to figure out how to generate enough income online to be able to sign up for ABM, which is my best guess for how to succeed as an online entrepreneur (give or take the catch-22). Last night I took a closer look at Jeff Walker’s “seed launch” approach, which is the first advice I’ve found that can (at least, theoretically) take me from where I am to being able to get into ABM (so I’m ranking the $7 I spent on that right up there with the $8 I invested in Beacons Elite this month!). I’ll let you know how it goes.

  10. Barb Johnson says:

    What a great topic! I’ve never even considered I could blame the teacher. Today I was browsing through the hundreds of printed materials I have. Not kidding.

    Why don’t I have a website/blog going when I’ve been studying it for about 6 years?

    My fault. I accept the blame. I did not get going as soon as I should. It was far easier to keep buying, keep studying and never doing. I’m not ready yet, I kept telling myself.

    Well, I’m ready now, and I’m going to do it. Yes, I’m responsible for my own success.

    1. DougM says:

      Fabulous, Barb.

      If I could suggest, get yourself in a mastermind group right away, and let them know you’re ready, and all the missing pieces will start to fill in even more quickly.

      You can springboard off of your 6 years of preparation (by recognizing yourself, as you come to see yourself reflected by your audience). Just set a brisk forward pace that you can work through, and you’ll get there (online present and engaged) very quickly.

  11. Carlos Rodriguez says:

    I have two experiences on this, one personal and the other is a buddhist teaching.
    1) In the buddhist teaching, when Buddha attain buddhahood, he realized that he couldn’t give enlightment to people. So instead he developed teachings for that one who would like to follow him. In other words, he pointed the way out, because everyone should go the path by himself.
    2) When I started gymnastics, it wasn’t the best gym, it lacked a lot of things. But the trainers where the best . I learned a lot of them, but one thing I can remember well was that they used to say that if you were capable of training in the worst conditions, it would be easier in better conditions, this way in competition, we would be more prepared.
    This way, I think if we have great systems and teachings, with great guides, and we put our best to follow the system with determination to suceed, we’ll obtain the farthest goal.
    To sum up, we’re responsible of our success, but it also depends that we find the right conditions to sprout.

  12. Rose says:

    Online success? Well, I believe that we are responsible for our own success but the information that those like Danny and Sid @ Firepole give us are very valuable tools. In retrospect it takes it takes more than just ONE person to complete the task of being successful in whatever venture is pursued.

  13. MarcyMcKay says:

    I’m responsible for my own online success. Danny and the other fabs @ Firepole have laid out an awesome curriculum, now it’s my job to be a guest posting machine to launch my own blog. :0

  14. Virginia says:

    The “problem” with on-line training is there is little to no accountability on the part of the student to actually do the work. I know – I fall into this category sometimes. It’s interesting to read but doesn’t provide the push right for me, much of it I already know and/or do, I don’t like the style, too much repetition so I skim through, not in-depth enough for me to know the next step clearly, or I just wasn’t ready after all.

    There are courses which are quite helpful. I take action on some of the lessons. I have a lot saved on my hard drive and print out those that particularly resonate with me or is new material so I need to study it better.

    I’d like to see the creators (or assistant) take some personal time to follow up with a phone call or one-on-one e-mail to let the student know they are interested in me as an individual, not just to get money and their hope I do something with their words of wisdom.

  15. Sheron Chisholm says:

    Having been an instructor and student I believe that it is the primary responsibility of the student and secondary responsibility of the instructor. The student has to take responsibility for engaging in the process fully. The student has to be motivated to do the work required to be a success. With God all things are possible and belief and faith gets you there if you pursue it. This includes seeking help when needed. The problem there is the student may not always be aware that there is a problem or know what question to ask. The instructor has the responsibility of knowing the student and being sensitive to the student’s needs. I also believe that the instructor responsibility is to provide feedback and guidance and be an example to the student. It is easier to do this in person than online, but in my experience with Firepole Marketing Sid has a magnificent insight to student abilities and needs and I appreciate that since I have never been that outgoing about interacting.

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hi Sheron,

      Well said. I have been an educator most of my adult life and a teacher can be great, but if the student does do the work it all for nought.

      The teacher sets the stage with the material and then it is up to the student to do the work to apply it. The teacher has done their work in creating the material, now the student must do theirs to use it.

      Great instructors, like Sid, are happy to provide extra help to those who do their best to apply the lessons. 🙂

  16. Harlan West says:

    I think the job of the teacher is to provide the information and support. The student is ultimately responsible for their success or failure. The teacher does need to provide help and support.

    I find that some other people throw stuff at you and expect you to figure it all out by yourself with no support. That didn’t work for me. As a student, if I need help I need to ask.

    I think the other part is expectations. There are some other teachers out there that give you their million dollar success story and say you can do it also. They don’t give you support and it doesn’t work. You get really frustrated with that.

    I like what you guys have done here. There are realistic expectations of success, but only after you do the work. There are good training materials as well as support. I can go at my pace. I expect that if I put in the work over the next 2 years there will be success. That sounds reasonable.

  17. Deva Smith says:

    I think it is far too easy to place blame on the company or school who is trying to impart knowledge if someone doesn’t “get it”. Having been a teacher in a classroom, I am very aware of that. However, there is a give and take, and if the presenter is able to keep in close contact with the student to assess their comprehension of a concept before they advance to the next topic, then learning can take place. People learn at different rates, and this online world has information and practices that are already more familiar to some than others. (Being of the generation that didn’t grow up with computers…) Communication and feedback are key. That way you can avoid blame altogether. I do think Firepole’s generous guarantee for their class is outstanding.

    1. Lois Powell says:

      Having been a teacher for many years, I believe that i
      trying to impart information to a student is a challenge. I found that if I kept it interesting, and challenging the student in a favorable way. I also learned, as many of you already know, we all learn differently. Because of this, there needs to be several ways to impart the information to the student. The other key to learning is to be available to the student so that you can reach out and help and direct. I have enjoyed the Firepool sessions because they reply to you quickly and are always giving you suggestions if you’re having a problem with the lesson. I started what I thought was my Niche and because of the help and direction I’ve received from Sid, I have started over again now moving in the direction that I believe really is my Niche. Yes, I’m far behind considering when my lessons started but it is worth it because I hope this time I’m getting it right.

  18. Karen Karper Fredette ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Pondering today’s question, I realized that no one is responsible for the success of a student ….. no ONE person that is. It’s a combination of the skill of the teacher, his/her enthusiasm, and ability to communicate confidence to the student. On the student’s part, it depends on having some natural aptitude, a strong drive to succeed, and all that his/her past teachers have already told the student about the possibility of success. Lots of preconceived ideas have to go out the window like: no one over 40 can go back to being a student; I’ve never been an A student so this will be just one more failure; absorbing more information is just beyond me… and whatever other “voices” we carry around with us. Another thing that contributes mightily to success is the support by someone close to us who is convinced we can do it. It is crucial for most people to have at least one cheer leader who will share our pride over each success and keep us from bailing when we don’t “get it” on the first bounce. Without that one other person, I doubt if the best teacher and most talented student can pull success out of the hat unless there that “significant other” is there to believe, push, cajole, and keep us going when the going gets tough. For most people success for success’s sake simply is not enough. Even the promise of financial well being won’t do it unless there is another to share it with – who will party with us when we pull it off.

    1. DougM says:

      Well put, Karen.

      The value of a learning buddy, or at least a learning coach or cheerleader, can’t be underestimated. I think that’s one thing we can all get from our mastermind groups — seeing us as fully capable of learning and applying anything we may need, and also cheering us on all the way. Now, when it comes to partying, it also helps to have someone close enough physically to join us in a pint, or a sundae (is that word used outside the US?), or whatever indulgence tells our little brains that we done good, so we’re up for the next round. Both cheerleading and rewarding yourself are wonderful skills to develop and hone and practice. They make us better teachers, and better students, and better teammates.


  19. Terence Verma says:

    Alignment with the course material should be the goal. The student must be upfront and honest about his understanding or lack of it. An alert coach must attempt to gain an insight into the student’s in(abilities), and provide the direction that the student requires.

    Yes, the guarantee mechanism that is in place by ‘Firepole Marketing’ for their ABM, is just right.

    1. DougM says:

      Hi, Terence.

      Thanks for your conclusion. I think both the help desk policy (you try to fix it yourself for 30 min, and if you still need help, then it’s ok to ask) and the ABM guarantee reflect tremendous wisdom and great practicality, and they’re both major factors that helped draw me into Danny’s work.


  20. For me its not about being responsible – its about being response-able …. then the whole thing can be considered a partnership with good give and take between both parties.

    I came to online training through doing it at the pointy end – actually standing up in front of people and speaking (no quicker way to learn). Other “experts” would stand up and talk TO the students “Do as I say – i am the expert” kind of thing. I would sit on the edge of the stage and say “Look at the cool stuff you can do with this!!” – walk alongside me as we explore this.

    Guess who got the repeat business??

    When you are walking alongside someone you can gently nudge them instead of making massive corrections – learning becomes a partnership with both parties understanding the rules of the game and their half of the bargain.

    Well! Who knew i had an opinion 🙂

    1. DougM says:

      Good on you, Elaine, for having an opinion, and for discovering it by opening your mouth, as it were. I am always delighted to discover that when I surrender to my own higher intention, the thing that others most need to hear tends to come out of my mouth. Then I get to enjoy it with “fresh ears” right alongside the rest. (hint — it’s one of the best rides in the park)

      Perhaps a more challenging question for you might be — Now that you know that you have an opinion, what do you now see for yourself? Every step forward (even if it meets with failure) turns us into someone new, someone bigger than the person who started out taking the step. An essential element of any good retrospective is a reassessment of one’s own (and one’s team’s) capabilities and effectiveness. If I have become a bigger person through my efforts, then I expect more of myself in the next round. If I expected too much of myself, I practice forgiveness and compassion and strive to both grow and be more realistic in the next round. I consider my potential to be unlimited, while my skills (and more importantly, my understanding) may still be under development.

      I’m trying to build myself a framework to (reusably) encapsulate and share all this, under the general subject of lifelong learning. It seems to me that if we made lifelong learning the natural and expected state for everyone, and let everyone learn in the way that works best for them, we’d all be better able to keep up with a rapidly changing world, and we’d do a better job of learning faster, and free up more time and energy to make a difference. We’d also “fix” education, which is pretty much broken in America, as a side effect, I’d hope.

      Sorry, I already knew I had an opinion, but your engagement was so delightfully fresh, I felt compelled to sing along. 🙂

  21. Judy says:

    The answer is probably “human error.” Even the best teachers can’t reach the unmotivated. There is something in human nature that whispers in the would-be entrepreneur’s ear, “If I just pay enough I won’t have to work…and when this fails there is someone I can blame.” That may describe the role of many workers—employed or free-lance. On the other hand, there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of this weakness and the internet makes that easy! Integrity must enter the equation on both sides of the formula.

  22. Johnfire says:

    Both student and teacher should be responsible.

    In my career as a direct marketing person, I find that when I’m a “student” I run into situations that put a stopper on the learning or training experience. Sometimes its a technical problem, not knowing which software to climb in bed with… Or sometimes its a failure to be able to write good copy… And sometimes its just being overwhelmed with too much to do and you get behind in the training and never catch up.

    Now what if a course could be designed to OVERCOME these types of situations, and make the student reaching his/her goal a condition before full payment is make to the teacher? Now that would be interesting!

    1. DougM says:

      Interesting angle, Johnfire. As a Collaboration Architect, I’m biased toward enabling two-way engagement. Part of what I’m trying to do with my coaching app is make it easier for a coach (or teacher) to get early feedback when a client/student is behind, and to discover how to best support them in staying on track (I’m also biased toward enabling self-paced learning). Some of my first coaching to an awakening global citizen is to understand your own learning style. I think we have a long way to go to make lifelong learning both universal and effective, and that (nearly) all of us could and should be giving it a bit more attention.

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