What Kind of Online Course Works Best With Kajabi?
Kajabi doesn’t have a free plan (though it has a generous 28-day free trial*!) and that tends to make people think it does everything in a really advanced way. Kajabi is certainly one of my favourite platforms (I use it for my website, blog, courses, email marketing, funnels, and more), but it's not always the right solution. Here’s some help figuring out if it's right for you right now.
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Online courses can be complex beasts. It's no longer about uploading a bunch of unlisted YouTube videos and then emailing the links to people - many students expect an experience for their money. They can watch random videos on their own. You need to create an environment that’s easy to use, that guides them through the learning process, that addresses different learning styles, that allows as much engagement as possible.
I’m not saying that you have to use a fancy platform like Kajabi* to be successful (in fact, over here I outline the ways you can get your course up and running with nothing but your G Suite account), I’m just saying that while you may need to get up and running asap, you also want to work towards that student experience that keeps them raving about your program for the next 10 years.
Learning Management Systems used to be the realm of enterprise companies, but the edupreneur revolution has firmly arrived. Some people make their entire living delivering online learning. Other people are using online learning as add-ons to their main business. And other people are solidly in the middle, diversifying to create multiple streams of revenue in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As always, I’m never going to tell you a particular platform is THE BEST because everyone has different needs.
And one of your needs NEEDS to be the student experience you’re aiming for.
Are you launching once a year to a large group of students?
Are you offering a smaller dripped VIP course to 10 people on a quarterly basis?
Is your course evergreen?
These are the kinds of things you need to think about - the answers to these questions will drive the features you need in your platform and will help you decide if Kajabi* is right for you or not.
Kajabi is certainly working towards a more robust platform (they call themselves an all-in-one solution but IMHO they’re not quite there yet - the email and affiliate marketing features need some work). You can certainly do a lot with Kajabi, but here are the types of courses that work most efficiently, and that don’t require a lot of manual intervention (tech-wise) once they are set up :)
On Demand Learning
This was the original purpose of Kajabi: you create all of your content, upload it to your product, create a sales page/checkout and people purchase and learn on demand. The ultimate “passive income” dream :)
Kajabi does this well, but to be honest this is the baseline for any online learning tools so pretty much any platform will meet this need.
To prevent overwhelm or to give a more guided experience, you can drip your content out over days/weeks/months. It's still all pre-recorded, pre-created, but you are giving students a set learning path and time to work on or implement each lesson as you go.
If you think your students need time to complete each lesson but could get stressed out at the idea of falling behind, you can lock modules so that they are not available until the previous lesson has been marked as completed.
This can give students a better sense of control and accomplishment.
All of the previously mentioned settings also work if you make your course evergreen - meaning students can purchase and start at any point. You could have 100 students going through the material but they are all in different places.
Kajabi offers the ability to accept payment and grant access to a course while having a set “start date” so that users only see a preview of the modules and lessons and nothing is available until that date is reached.
This means that you can start selling your course before you have everything uploaded & finalized inside of Kajabi!
Once you hit the start date, things automatically become available based on the open/drip/lock settings you’ve specified for each lesson and module.
Communication Based on Individual Course Progress
Say what you will about Kajabi’s email feature, but the ability to trigger emails based on specific course progress can be really motivating for students.
There are many “lifetime” courses out there that have a live launch each year, so once a week for 6-8 weeks you are getting an email relevant to the lesson for that week.
What if you want students to go at their own pace but still get those timely communications?
With Kajabi you can easily set up automations so that when a student marks lesson 1 as complete it triggers an email - this email could give some bonus info or tips relevant to lesson 1 or it could introduce them to lesson 2.
And you can also set up emails to go to students who haven’t logged in recently, drawing them back to the course material.
Things That Don’t Work Well With Kajabi
Kajabi doesn’t currently integrate with any conference or meeting software, so if you need to have live lessons you need to use another service to host them.
Workaround (for webinar-style meetings): You can avoid having students deal with another link to access if the meeting software you are using can give you an embed code. If you have scheduled a livestream on Facebook or YouTube, you’ll have an embed code that you can add to a lesson description. Then students just open that lesson at the scheduled time and you can use the comments like a chat feature.
Workaround (for group-style meetings): Typically what my clients are doing is using Zoom for meetings, then downloading those recordings and uploading them back into a Kajabi lesson.
Automated Progress Based on Competency
Assessments are a thing in Kajabi, and you can certainly have them graded with a pass percentage threshold - the idea being that they have to pass a test before the next lesson is available. However . . . even if a student fails an assessment they can still click ‘Complete Lesson’ to go to the next part.
Currently, there is no way to keep a module locked if a student doesn’t pass an assessment. You can certainly see in the backend that they haven’t passed the assessment and follow up with them manually, but the functionality works more on the honour system rather than what we are used to in school.
Workaround: Keep lessons in draft mode until you can see all students have completed/passed the assessment. This would only work for guided courses and you had small, understanding groups who would be OK getting delayed by 1 person who is behind.
If you need lessons or modules that are the responsibility of specific instructors it's not impossible, but it's not the way Kajabi was designed to work.
Workaround: You’d have to get all of the content from the instructors and upload it yourself, and you could provide links in the lesson description to reach out to those individual people, but if anyone uses the comment or support function those notifications are going to come to you.
Advanced Levels of User Permission
Note: this has actually gotten more advanced recently!
Kajabi has 4 types of users:
- Owner - you - the person who is paying the bill
- Administrator - has the same permissions as the owner except connecting Stripe accounts
- Assistant - can delete and edit all content (website, products, emails, etc) but cannot view financial information
- Support Specialist - can view & respond to comments inside courses, and also manage people
Within all of these, you can specify which site the user has access to, but you cannot get any more granular than that, such as access to different functional areas or individual products. So you couldn’t do things like:
- Give instructors access to just the course they are involved in (or just their area of the course)
- Give your bookkeeper access to just the financial information
Workaround: you need to manually provide info to other people, or you need to give higher-level access and provide education around what not to touch :)
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