The "Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Video Training Program" is an online version of the eight-week evidence-based stress reduction program backed by science that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. The pandemic is driving home the value of courses like MBSR, which support people’s ability to cope with stressful situations and circumstances. It also shines a light on the need for people to have access to such training outside of geographic hotspot and how online access can fill that need.
As soon as I received word from GFTW, I notified the team and started scripting the course. Once I received the funding, we had our first team call, reviewed and agreed on the overall project timeline. Unfortunately, Belgium reinstated lockdown in response to Covid-19, which delayed the filming of the course. Filming started in December and we were able to record all of the course videos during a window between lockdown periods before Christmas.
While pandemic has halted large portions of in-person interactions in Belgium, since our team is located in Belgium (Brussels) and the US (California, Virginia, Florida,) changing social rules hasn’t impacted us and we expect to finish the project on time. We currently have 7 short intros/b-roll and 24 course modules.
High-level progress on our deliverables include:
— Dev site set up on WordPress using Divi theme.
— Configuration of WordPress installation complete and redesign in progress.
— Course Platform: researched, bought (LearnDash), installed, setup in progress.
— Video Course: course structure defined, course recording all shot and in final review, and student documentation written.
— Researching Coil Login Integration into LearnDash learning platform.
The design and development are happening as I type. My team is confident that we will have the basic site up and running within about 4 weeks. We started the project with certain base assumptions. While they have not fundamentally changed, the best way to execute those ideas are becoming clearer as we move along. This is reflected in how we are redefining and aligning the long term vision of my business in promoting a healthier internet in general, which wasn’t on my radar before GFTW. Once the site is up and running, the remainder of the grant period will be used marketing the project and driving sign up.
Our main goals for this project are to:
Use our site as a test case to see if MBSR can be made available on the Coil platform. The main challenge so far is while the course does not need to be delivered in-person, to be effective, it does need to be delivered in a specific order. So we are currently exploring ways integrate Coil into the LearnDash platform.
Promote remote, affordable delivery of MBSR that pays MBSR teachers fairly. The real test will occur after the site is built and the course is launched. This is where we will see if is economically feasible for MBSR teachers to deliver the course online. The course usually cost between $300 (https://www.brown.edu/public-health/mindfulness/class/spring-2021-mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-mbsr-online) or £275 (https://www.londonmindful.com/8-week-mindfulness-course-mbct.html) per person.
Create a turnkey model for less that tech savvy MBSR teachers. Since we have yet to figure out how to drip the course content, we are considering other options such as monetizing “ongoing support offerings” by delivering bonus elements and ongoing support modules. Whatever the outcome our developer will create a video describing the software choices and showing how to use the elements of the site. Workshops and calls will also be recorded as a part of the setup documentation. The options and possiblities will be presented to the MBSR community.
Create a framework that helps MBSR teachers promote and monetize their courses: My experience and observations will serve as a benchmark and model for many kinds of service providers (MBSR teachers, yoga instructors, etc). For example, I hired a videography, but I would encourage others to buy the video equipment, learn to use and edit the video themselves. The learning curve may be steep. But I believe that the long term benefits will outweigh the initial learning curve because this isn’t a “create it and they will come situation.”
Having video equipment could also 1) support participants post course, a shortcoming in the current delivery of MBSR and 2) be used for ongoing marketing to support the continued course enrollment, which will be needed for long-term success.
We're in the process of rebuilding the website and reviewing the final edited videos. Next we will upload the video to LearnDash, integrate the monetization protocol into the website with Coil being featured on the homepage of www.pamelajalexander.com and research how to integrate Coil into the LearnDash learning platform.
I didn’t include an event in my original plan, but the opportunity arose so I took it. I presented at Self-Worth Awareness Week, share upcoming rollout of the new site and spoke about my alignment with the philosophy of creating a safe web environment using Coil. https://www.selfworthweek.com
Once the site is built, the reminder of the grant period will be focused on marketing and communications. While I didn’t expect it at the onset, I am fully integrating Coil’s, Mozilla Foundation’s and Collective Commons’s philosophy into my long-term business and marketing plan. As a result I’m am preparing to stop using social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This decision has change how we will approach the campaign to drive signups on Coil.
- Instead of using FB Lives I’m going use YouTube Lives.
- I’ve already started sending broadcast emails to my mailing list. Many have responded to that initial email and are anticipating safe and affordable access to mindfulness material. Next step is to start to invite my FB followers to meet me on YT.
- Adopting ideas from other GFTW grantees updates, I’m currently writing a series of articles for Reddit, CoilBLOGS, LinkedIn and Medium to be posted in conjunction with the launch of the new site.
Once the site is up, we’ll continue driving current subscribers to Coil with an email campaigns, start to grow user base with the launch of a community partner affiliate program with a mindfulness teacher and yoga instructor in Tampa and leverage site SEO to reach new users.
And finally I’ve already started spearheading education about the platform within the MBSR global community with a few MBSR teachers. These handful of teachers are helping me to trouble shoot the creative process. Once the site is launched I’ll open up the sharing to the entire MBSR community. This will be in the form of live Zoom meetings and via WhatApp groups on which I am currently an active member.
We will begin the marketing when the website and other resources are launched. We’re shooting for mid-March.
I’m love to connect with other grantees. It would be great to speak to those who are already using Coil and hear about their journeys so far. I’ve learned a lot from people inside and outside of my local area, in related and unrelated sectors, and those working on completely different kinds of projects. So I’m open to connect with anyone and everyone! And I’ve even adopted marketing and communication ideas just from reading other people’s update. So again I’m super happy to follow, connect and share with other grantees.
I’d like to learn how others are promoting the benefits of Web Monetization to their communities, and how they are engaging new users. What’s seems to be working and what’s not.
Please follow me on the community site and/or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org