Yoda’s last hair – Why Internet marketing training courses don’t work

Ok, to make this work in the best possible way, I’d have to run this as a live Webinar, where I can stop after each question, so be so kind and play along (as in: stop to scratch your or Yoda’s head when asked to)

When you look at pretty much ALL training courses (whether it’s school, corporate training, and of course training courses you may have picked up to learn about Internet Marketing), they all have this one thing in common:

There is typically more teaching going on than there is learning!

In other words:

The amount of real-world implementable content we pick up from training courses is fairly minimal (if non-existent) and as a result people (or we as a species) are not moving forward as fast as they’d like to.

Ok, here’s where the ‘live training’ part would kick in, so please, in your own interest: scratch that head now and ask yourself:

Why Is That? Why do YOU think that is? Why do YOU (and 99.9% of the rest of the population get so little out of training courses?)

Think of a specific course you attended or bought, all excited that this was going to make a big difference, and then … nothing.

stop now, and have a think!

Alrighty, got something?


Well, here’s my take, or my 2 takes

a) classroom style teaching is pretty much based on the idea that you want a predictable outcome (if I only follow those steps, then I’ll get X) – that means the teacher is the central part of the equation. You, the ‘recipient’ of the information is a pretty passive part of the system.

The idea is that we ‘learn’ from what has worked for the other person (the teacher), but that’s precisely where this whole model fails:

real (I mean REAL) learning only takes place when you experience something, when you put something into practice and then observe whether it works or fails.

Unfortunately, our brains trick us into believing that we can learn something by simply observing.

And yes, to some extent that’s possible, but to really make giant strides you have to practice, practice and practice again.

Little side-note/side-stab at the personal development mafia:

we keep getting told that we should strive to continually educate ourselves (I’m 100% behind that) and that the best way to do it is to buy books and listen to recordings in your mobile University, er, car.

Agree? Disagree?

Time to scratch that head!?

Well, the ‘mafia’ reference may have given you a clue as to what I think: of course never-ending education is essential, but ‘education’ is actually something you truly learn, in baby-steps by *doing* it, testing it, tweaking it.

Not by listening to it over and over again. (and yes, I have countless stories of others and me trying to batter our brains into truly learning something, including listening to all kinds of pre-recorded mantras on my iPod, and guess what, hardly any of them stuck…)

So, what would happen if YOU were put at the centre of the learning process – where YOU define the process, the outcome, the syllabus?

Time to scratch your head – but guess what,  I won’t even tell you what I think, I’ll leave that for another post!

Then there’s the 2nd part on why ‘front-to-back training’ doesn’t work, also known as part

b) once again, our little brainstems (also known as the reptilian brain) messes with us:

we all LOVE blueprints.

A blueprint, especially a “proven” blueprint says this:

this is a SAFE way of doing things. You follow this blueprint and you will not get eaten by the sabre tooth tiger.

And as you know, we’re all about the avoidance of short-term pain (like being eaten) instead of long-term gain.

So we keep following blueprint after blueprint, which obviously doesn’t work, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for yet another blueprint, right?

So, here’s my head-scratching question for you:

assuming that following blueprint style trainings does not work for you, what would a training look like that does work for you?

Let me know!






  1. I’ve a problem with “… of course never-ending education is essential …”

    To me, that implies, somebody (external to me) is going to “put” knowledge into my brain.

    That’s the central fallacy to the “self-help” universe.

    To me, it’s all about never-ending learning.

    When I focus on learning, rather than somebody educating me, I am automatically “at the centre of the learning process.”

    When my goal is to learn something new, something I did NOT know before, something valuable to ME, then I know that I must get past the reptilian objections.

    Another way to look at this?


    • Hey Helices,

      good point, so maybe the way I used the words ‘training’, ‘education’ and ‘learning’ was a bit confusing – I tried to clarify that in the sentence after the “… of course never-ending education is essential…”

      internet marketing learning is the way forward;-)


      • Hi, Veit!

        Not picking nits. It’s really quite simple, isnt it?

        Learning [period] is THE way forward.

        The day I stop learning is the day I stop caring …


  2. A thoughtful post.

    Humans respond to direct stimulus and we are made that way. We are used to jumping out of the way of a predator or a bus. We get direct feedback – We are alive or dead.

    We are geared to quick gratification, there are no medium or long term goals. Most people will move away from pain much easier than they will move towards a new goal.

    So, marketers have this sussed which is why we get thrown, blueprints, quick button results.

    We may try something for a while but because we don’t get direct feedback IE make money right now, we move on to the next blueprint.

    As an observer and an ex buyer of blueprints and quick button fixes, I had a feeling of excitement so I guess those jolly old hormones were giving my brain much pleasure when I bought stuff.

    When I have truly learned something, it’s because I wanted it and was prepared to acknowledge that it needed long term commitment. I saw it as a goal and expected it would take time.

    The other thing I did was immerse myself.

    For example, I wanted to learn to ride a horse. I bought books about riding and horses, bought the gear that goes with it and paid quite a lot for lessons.

    I don’t think there’s an easy answer here but for one thing.

    If people or someone has got to the end of their tether and is fed up with quick fix blueprints then that person may be on the lookout for a coach or a long term program.

    I used to be a Governor at my local school and I’m appalled at the way students are given facts to learn. It’s not real learning though and I wonder what effect it has later on them later in life.

    All the best


  3. Veit,

    So based on your comments above, have you changed your mind about “blueprint pro” which you endorsed earlier this year. Or, have I completely misunderstood you?


    • Mike, I wouldn’t say that I changed my mind – of the courses that are out there, Tim’s course is probably the best I’ve seen myself.

      But, the point of this post isn’t really (well, my intention wasn’t) to point the finger at one course or another, but rather to point out why a particular type of course is very popular and sells well (because people demand it), and give my view as to why that demand is there…
      (just like there’s lots of demand for “leadgen” type training in the “offline consulting niche, despite most people not actually ever using it to get clients, and “viral traffic” type products are super popular, and magic buttons, and …)

      … and maybe suggest that there might be alternative approaches that might just give better results.


  4. Dear Veit,
    I am a professional trainer (communicaton trainings etc.) and personal coach. (and on of your customers.)

    There are many factors that influence learning and you mention a few. There is a whole other area that is important and few people know about it.

    Some important other reasons people don’t learn is that there has to be a bareer crossed from the conscious to the unconscious to make sure that the newly learned becomes habitual. (= unconscious, automated behavior, that we do without having to think about it.)

    THe tradidtional way is to learn by repetition, but in our hurried times that is to slow.

    If your interested I have an article on this subject of embodying skills that I wrote some weeks ago have a look here. It is exactly about this rarely mentioned or recognized learning problem.

    Read it here:

    Well done Veit, I hardly ever hear anybody speak about this.

    drs Henry J. Kruizinga

    • Hey Henry,

      had a look at your post, it highlights what the problem is (namely life’s too short to learn by repetition), but what about the solution?
      Do you have an article on that (rather than just the paid product on your site)?

      Incidentally, although I agree that there are better ways of learning something by repetition, the key here, especially in Internet Marketing, is not the acquisition of knowledge, but rather the *experience* – actually trying out stuff and incrementally moving forward.

      In this case it’s not a question of using accelerated learning to learn something quicker, but rather: “how can I do a succession of individual experiments in such a way that I get feedback fast, and hence get lots of experiences from which I can learn”


      • Seriously, there’s book learnin’ and there is LEARNING

        Learning is experiential

        Although repetition can facilitate many types of learning, the repetition itself has no value; rather, it’s a tool.

        Once the house is built, what good is the hammer and saw?


        • fantastic point: repetition is a TOOL, not the outcome you’re after – contrary to what they’re teaching us at school;-)

          Incidentally, that’s precisely the underlying philosophy of what I’m suggesting: constantly asking ‘pesky’ questions (again, something that’s beaten out of us at childhood age): WHY would I even engagen in constant reptition?

          Blueprint approach: repeat, repeat, repeat, until you’re really good at repeating something (and hopefully as a side-effect picked up some useful knowledge).

          Critical thinking approach: do I even want to ‘learn’ that thing? And if so, is repetition the way forward? Or are there better ways? (and: should I even do this myself?)

      • Hi Veit,

        Lost this url and by accident found it and came back here.

        Thanks for your response. I agree that you need more than repetion in life. These accelerated learning techniques can be used on different levels.

        On the level of embodying a skill – as I do in my communication training – or on a higher level, where you use them more on the level you talked about.

        There you develop a strategy where you can use that on different kinds of content.

        I have a “technique” that you can use to change or add new behaviors, as long as they are not emotionally charged. Then you need other tools. More therapeutic ones.

        However for the learning you talk about it would work.

        At the moment I don’t have it available, but if you’re interested we could make a small product out of it. ( I haven’t made much money yet of my internet activities, so I need some cash from it.)

        It would work great with your guru product. To quickly embody what you have learned and want to use without having to think about it.

        If your’re interested let me know.

        Helices says in the next comment that the repetition does not add value. I disagree unless doing something without having to think about it, does not add value. In most peoples book it does.

        The difference between knowing and doing-without-having-to-think-about-it is the difference that makes the difference in for example internet marketing. This IS one of the main factors that stops people from being succesful on the internet, the reason you started this conversation.

        Yes experience is important. But if you do the essential things (partially in your mind) in the right order, all you need is some experiences to adapt it to your personal style and circumstances.

        With the right strategies you only have to fine tune your tactics a bit to get excellent results.

        That is what the advertizing agencies and other businesses that I taught these techniques to, have axperienced and confirmed to me.

        great to have this conversation here.

        This time I will look for your response here if you still make one.


  5. Doing is learning. Having the theory is good and essential but without any doing, you got nothing.

    I realize this may go without saying but the problem isn’t the courses or blueprints, it is our lack of motivation and follow through.

    If you can create a course which has an emphasis on the follow through, like action steps and rewards, then you have something that may help.

    The problem is that we do not learn the behaviour of follow through. We don’t really learn it in school – we learn how to do the minimum and get by.

    The follow through comes from within. You have it already because of your karma, or you develop it because of your desire to succeed.

    OR you don’t develop it at all because you don’t have the above 2 things.

    We are all somewhere in a range between having the desire (without the follow through) and having the motivation (with follow through).

    But I would say that most of us are closer to the desire without follow through side – and that can’t be helped unless you wanna help yourself!

    Maybe some just need to live life longer to develop the motivation.

    So, offer a course that provides structure – action points and rewards for actions taken.

    Hope I stayed on topic here 🙂

  6. The ideal type of training would follow a thought from Confucius, who said “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, engage/involve me and I’ll understand”.

    As several writers have said above, it is experiential learning that causes real long term change in result. The only issue is choosing someone who’s experience you want to duplicate.

    You’d have to want the same (or quite similar) result as your chosen mentor, because as they involve you in building the business, using the steps and process they used, you’ll get a similar result.



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