How Chad Dumas Impacted Hundreds of Thousands of Students Who Built a Collaborative Workplace Environment

 

  • Course Instructor: Chad Dumas

 

  • Website: www.NextLearningSolutions.com

 

  • Course Topic: Collaborative Leadership

 

  • Interesting Stats: Webinars have had upwards of 60 people.
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1. Who are you?

I’m an educational consultant, international presenter and award-winning researcher whose primary focus is collaborating to develop capacity for continuous improvement. Having been a successful teacher, principal, central office administrator, professional developer and consultant in a variety of school districts, I bring my passion, expertise, and skills to my writing and speaking as I engage participants in meaningful and practical learning.

In my new Amazon best-selling books, Let’s Put the C in PLC and An Action Guide to Put the C in PLC, I offer readers and audiences educational research, engaging stories, hands-on tools, and useful knowledge and skills they can implement immediately. 

2. What’s your course all about?

My course is about what it takes to build a collaborative workplace environment. While the focus is on schools and school leaders, the elements apply equally as well to families, neighborhoods, businesses, non-profits, or any other type of organization. For example: how to build productive relationships that are meaningful and lead to results? How to effectively team? How to engage in meaningful continuous improvement? How to manage time and resources effectively? These topics, coupled with opportunities to practice and apply the learning, are the focus of the course.

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3. What makes you an expert in this field?

As noted earlier, I have served in a variety of roles and sizes of schools and systems. My dissertation, upon which this work is based, received “Best Research Award” from Learning Forward, and was an Outstanding Dissertation finalist from PDK–two premiere educational organizations.

The application of the learning from my dissertation led to one district going from being identified as “Persistently Lowest Achieving” to having multiple schools recognized as National Models for improving student learning. I have served on and led accreditation visits for Cognia around the United States and world, presented nationally and internationally, collaborated with school boards, intermediate service agencies, state departments of education, and professional associations, and trained as an agency trainer for Adaptive Schools. 

4. What is the transformation your course offers to the students?

The transformation is three-fold: Knowing, Doing, and Being. First, the course aims to raise the level of knowledge of participants to understand what it takes to build a collaborative environment. Second, it focuses on then putting that knowledge into practice so that we can impact our colleagues and system. Finally, it helps transform one’s inner character to become a better human being, educator, and leader. All three of these aspects are vital to improving ourselves and the world around us, and this course aims to impact all three.

5. Which market does your online course serve and how did you get into it?

It is currently focused on educators–aspiring or current school leaders, and those who support school leaders (central office, higher ed, intermediate service agency). I am considering creating courses that serve other markets based on these ideas, but have not pursued that at this point. In terms of how I got into it–it really was a natural fit based on my background and experience. The expansion of these services has been primarily through current contacts that have grown over time. For example, the Ed Leaders Network was through someone who attended a presentation I did at a national conference a couple of years ago. Many of the people attending my own course are personal connections or from a webinar I did with the Ed Leaders Network. So it’s really an organic process.

6. Why is it important to you to serve this market?

I believe that our children are the most valuable treasure a community can possess. As such, it is incumbent upon the adults to ensure that we are doing everything we can to meet their needs. Further, no one person can know everything they need to know to meet the needs of every single student. And even if they were able to know everything (which they can’t), they definitely can DO everything needed. We can only do this as a team. Unfortunately, schools weren’t designed to facilitate collaboration–I have heard it said that they are set up as so-called independent contractors connected by a common parking lot. So we have to deliberately and determinedly create these environments in order to maximize our effectiveness and results for students.

7. Describe the moment when you decided to create your own course. Where were you, what happened and why did you decide to do it?

It’s been an evolution, and I’m not sure if I can pinpoint the exact moment. After I wrote the book (published end of October 2020) I decided I needed to find ways to get the contents to people. After the Ed Leaders Network decided to have me do a webinar for their 108,000 members, I decided that I needed “something” to invite people to afterward (needless to say, a one-hour webinar will not lead to the intended results–it’s just a starter). So in December 2020 I started working on it to launch in February, with a Part 2 in April

After the Ed Leaders Network webinar in January, they decided that they wanted me to create an on-demand course for them. So I am in the process of doing that, and it will launch later this Spring.

8. How did you overcome doubtful moments during your course creation journey?

I had doubts about people attending. But I kept inviting people–I had prizes at webinars and trainings, as well as on twitter. I specifically invited people. And fortunately we have a class! 

My wife is also incredibly valuable in this regard, as she helps keep my head up. She is a constant cheerleader, and I think everyone needs to have a cheerleader in their life.

9. What are some of your tricks to deal with imposter syndrome?

I have friends and colleagues who remind me that I know my “stuff.” I also ask for feedback explicitly from participants–whether as part of the course when people are reflecting on their learning, or in specific feedback after a session. Their reflections and feedback remind me that the content is useful, and that what I am providing is needed. 

I also will periodically pick up my book and read parts of it–and this reminds me of the quality that is in it. As odd as it might sound, I learn from my own work as to how to be a better person and leader!

10. How long did it take you to create your course?

On the first time creating a course from scratch, I would say it takes three or four hours of up-front time for every one hour of actual course. So for the five-week, one-and-a-half hours per week course, it was around 25 hours of prep time (roughly).

I am anticipating, however, that as I create additional courses geared to different segments of society (communities, corporations, non-profits, etc), the actual time will be less as the basic structure/framework is in place. I could be wrong on that, though…

11. How did your first launch go?

It is going GREAT! As intended, the class size is small, and this allows for in-depth conversations and learning. Participants are getting a TON out of it.

12. How do you structure your launches in general now?

I don’t really have a structure to my launches–I guess that’s something I should learn more about and think about.

13. Where does your traffic come from?

Traffic comes from personal contacts and then contacts through the webinars and trainings that I have previously done. So, for example, for my future courses the people who are currently attending will be critical for marketing to others.

14. Which content do you like producing the most?

Frankly, I love all of it. But if I had to choose something over another thing, I would say the parts about building relationships, and the specific skills necessary to do this. I hone in on what I call the Three + One of effective relationships, and then we spend a lot of time practicing these skills. Plus, we also spend significant time dealing with the non-verbals associated with building productive relationships. As we know from Communication Science, a large part of the meaning of what is intended (some say as high as 90% of meaning!) comes through non-verbal communication. So being intentional about HOW we are saying what we are saying is critical to effective relationships. 

15. What online course platform are you using?

I use google for my own work. However, the Ed Leaders Network has their own platform and I’m not sure what it is (I send them the content in GoogleDocs and then they put it up into their system).

16. What is amazing about this platform?

The Google platform is easy, accessible, and free. I can make documents that people are forced to copy and it automatically saves to their drive. I can share a folder of documents and they just show up for them. I can link to the calendar so everything is in one place. And I can link everything to a Powerpoint so that one document has everything for them.

17. Which features do you wish this platform would have?

I can’t think of anything at this time.

18. Why did you choose this platform over other platforms?

For the same reasons as #16. I have been given recommendations about other platforms, but haven’t investigated them at this point because google is meeting our needs. I anticipate probably having to go to a different platform in the future to make the course appear more professional.

19. Which other tools do you use to keep your online business running?

Calendly for scheduling, WordPress for my website (which then also has Creativemail, online forms and registration, email, etc), Zoom, and Google tools (docs, spreadsheets, presentations, polls).

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20. How many students have you served so far?

Approximately 50 school leaders have taken the formal course or series of trainings, another 60 participated in the live webinar, and another 70+ have viewed the webinar. The Ed Leaders Network course will likely have hundreds and maybe thousands of participants.

21. How much revenue have you created during your first launch, and ongoing?

The Ed Leaders Network paid me $300 for that one-hour webinar, and the Spring course is in the works with payment to be determined. My own course is being run as a complementary course for those participants in exchange for their feedback and spreading the good word with others.

22. What are you running costs to keep the online course business going?

The costs are for my own time (which this is my business, anyway), Zoom ($150 per year), Calendly ($100 per year), and website ($200 per year). So a total of $400 – $500 per year.

23. What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way?

So far, I think the biggest mistake was thinking that people who did not know me or have a connection to my work would take the course–I spent $100 dollars on online advertising through Facebook and didn’t get but a handful of clicks to even look at my website (zero registrations came from it). Given that education is a pretty “closed” space, this was a waste of time, energy, and funds.

I’m hopeful that, as I apply this content to other fields (as noted earlier), this won’t be the case.

24. How has your business changed since implementing an online course into the business model?

It’s too early to be able to tell if there’s been a change. At this point, I’m optimistic that the course will help further my business.

25. How has your personal life changed?

Other than spending 1.5 hours on a Zoom call on Tuesdays, it hasn’t.

26. What’s the greatest transformational story you can tell about one (or more) of your students?

The impact of my work on both individuals and their schools has been profound–both for teachers who are teacher leaders and for principals.

A principal shared that because of my class they have slowed down and been more thoughtful about their interactions with staff. In particular, they identified that their use of questioning has been more thoughtful and effective. They haven’t shared any specific stories about that–only generalizations.

A teacher leader shared how they have completely reoriented how they are approaching meetings with colleagues. They prepare differently, approach their mundane tasks differently, provide input differently, etc. Because of this learning they are more thoughtful about how to engage these colleagues so that their time can be more effective. Further, this person is changing how they are teaching their class–thinking about how to engage students in difficult content in ways that are both engaging and will lead to lasting learning. They indicated that they have a class of students who are chatty, and the learning from the course is helping them to facilitate this chattiness instead of shutting it down.

27. If you could use a time machine and send yourself back to the time before you started out, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?

At this point, there isn’t anything I can think of that I would have done differently. The only advice I would give is to persevere. 

28. What is your million dollar piece of advice to those who are just getting started in their online course journey OR for those who are looking to scale?

My biggest piece of advice is to design your learning intentionally. It’s not about bells and whistles, fancy this or fancy that. Be clear about your intended outcomes, and then design learning based on that.

In addition to being intentional about the learning, be intentional about instructional strategies that will get people to your intended results. Learning needs to be active and meaningful, and so be aware of and use lots of different tools to get people there (as opposed to just lecture after lecture).

How to create an online course.png

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Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

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The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course