At the end of August, we made a bold move and decided to do a draw and give away a Free yearly upgrade to one new lucky customer. We didn’t know how our customers would perceive this: competitions and lotteries on the interwebs can be fishy, so we wanted to make sure that we do this the right way.
And boy I am glad that we went ahead with this offer. Firstly because the reception of the offer was enthusiastic, even by those that at the end didn’t get lucky. But mainly I am glad because I got to meet Jai Cheswick, Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist extraordinaire from Melbourne, Australia, who is the lucky winner of our draw. In a few short weeks, Jai managed to build a great online school; the Master Gardeners Academy and bring his dream school one step closer to reality.
So, people, I will just let Jai introduce himself and explain in his own words his vision and how he got to be part of our rapidly-expanding family. The only thing we did was highlight a couple of quotes that our team especially loved. This is what keeps us going here, even more so than caffeine:)
20 yrs ago I began developing an idea about how to create a gardening school. This would involve an expensive bricks-and-mortar space where students could interact before, after and during classes to discuss what they had learned from experienced professionals (as tutors) and a small garden for showcasing ideas and projects.
Today the project has become a virtual one. Everything I had previously imagined in the physical realm can now be created online, meaning that those sincerely wanting to learn the ins and outs of gardening and garden design from professional tutors can do so wherever they live without the restrictions and costs of travel and time.
But which platform to choose? There really is a mind-boggling amount of choice. I’d followed Moodle for some years but found I was unable to make it look the way I wanted; it was bloated and non-intuitive. A good friend suggested Kajabi, but this seemed just like a place to sell, not teach and interact with students.
When I found LearnWorlds, I was immediately taken by how easy the platform was to use and how focused it was on student/tutor interaction and learning, rather than just selling video courses. I found the software intuitive and easy to set-up, the Page Builder tool and ready-made templates made it straightforward for me to create a site that I knew looked good.
Further research lifted my confidence that LearnWorlds would be my platform of choice. As a research-based company (CEO and co-founder both have PhD in e-learning and the team have masters degrees in teaching and e-learning) they are a cutting-edge team bringing all their own research into their platform.
Yet I knew that having great courses would only be half the battle in developing a successful online school: the other half would be getting the tools and advice to nurture me into bringing my courses in front of the widest audience possible (i.e., selling more, which will also allow my school to develop even better courses).
Like any new piece of software, there is a learning curve. 3 weeks of part-time work and I am now ready to go with my first couple of mentored courses. There’s no doubt that this process has been made a lot easier through the use of the impressive learning library and fast and friendly tech support (second to none).
On a final note, one thing I have found lacking in the virtual world is ‘heart’. Everyone wants your money but few companies seem to care. At LearnWorlds there’s a feeling that the team really care for their clients, wanting them to succeed not just financially but also in bringing long-held dreams into (virtual) reality.
Senior Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist