The Digital Learning Trends 2023
Not everyone can or should expect to get rich as an online creator or influencer, but […] many more can earn substantial livelihoods from their creative production than they do today.
The e-learning industry is expected to be worth more than $460 billion by 2026. That’s a big pie that can be sliced into a lot of pieces. There’s more than enough room for (lots and lots and lots of) people like you who want to create a steady, sustainable, and scalable business — one that’s resistant to upstream factors (hello, never-ending algorithm tweaks and platform updates).
After all, time is the ultimate limited resource.
We’re in a golden era for e-learning — just look at the (many) headlines about Gen Z’s use of TikTok as a search engine. The last few years have turbocharged interest and participation, and there have never been more tools and assets available to creator educators. But the one resource we’re all lacking is time. As we return to pre-pandemic levels of activity, any time for learning we do have will have to be squeezed in around work, appointments, and commutes.
But just because our time is scarce doesn’t mean we don’t prioritize learning. That’s where microlearning comes in.
One big way creators are looking to build sustainable revenue is through digital learning products, which, along with books and podcasts, are expected to see the biggest year-overyear growth in creation.
By focusing on sharing knowledge and driving impact, creator educators build trusting, long-lasting relationships with their audiences. That kind of community is much more sustainable, and can be monetized over time.
Members will come for the content but stay for the community. In 2023, the dynamic is changing: they’ll come for your community, then pay for your content. Creators have clued into the idea that the secret sauce for selling content is to start by building community. That’s your first product, and your most valuable asset.
A strong community will foster more engaged followers and increased retention by providing students with the support (from you and from their peers) they need to tackle the highs and lows of growth.
Diversification can help creators future-proof their businesses while giving them more control of their content, offsetting losses and maximizing revenue. A little market research within your community can help identify opportunities to expand your offering. The good news is that as a creator who focuses on value generation over pure entertainment, you already engage with your community in a deeper way, meaning stickier loyalty (and you trade in your own ideas, knowledge and expertise, which are fairly immune from supply chain disruptions).
A course on a marketplace is just one in a sea of thousands, with a generic look and feel. “This makes it difficult to differentiate your course against every other course of the same type and it makes it difficult to differentiate your experience as the entrepreneur and the thought leader from the experience offered by the course marketplace.”
Learners are after singular solutions to specific challenges. And as we already established, your community is your most valuable asset. With course marketplaces, you often don’t have direct access to them. The marketplace also decides how often you can communicate with them, what you can promote or not, how much you can charge, and how long you have to wait to get paid.
With full control and access to your community, self-hosted courses are an investment in your personal brand.