Let’s pretend that we have a friend named Gloria. She is an entrepreneur, and while Gloria’s sales have been steady after launching her business, they recently since slowed. Gloria’s business is in a slump. She thinks that taking an online course written by an expert in her field will be just the thing to help her revamp and generate more sales. So Gloria enrolls in an online course and while taking that course, experiences the following situations:
- Unclear directions
- Boring videos
- No way to see how she is doing in the course
- Zero community support
- Unreadable slides
Gloria is bored and frustrated. Despite having paid money for the course, she decides not to finish it, and attend a conference instead. Based on her poor experience with this course, she will be reluctant to pay for online classes in the future.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you have been less than engaged by an online course in the past, and have not completed it. Perhaps you think that online learning cannot be effective. Or worse- perhaps you have written an online course for people in your field, and it was not completed by the majority of the people who took it. In that case, you are not alone! Research shows that online classes, on average, have only about a 10% completion rate. There are many reasons for this phenomenon in the world of online learning, but fortunately, there are things you can do to combat it. Let’s take a look at steps you can take to increase completion rates in your online courses!
The Rules of Engagement!
Keeping the content engaging is the #1 problem that online course creators face. Nobody wants to sit through a 30-minute lecture, so break up longer sections into smaller, more digestible pieces. Limit videos to a 2-7 minute time span, max out at no more than 15-minutes. Utilize other forms of media, such as Powerpoint, audio clips, animations, and PDF’s instead. If you have a little more cash to throw at your course, see if you can get interactivity tools like Adobe Captivate or Storyline.
Assess for Success
People like to ensure that they are understanding the content when completing a course. Include learning activities with every lesson, and a short assessment every few lessons. This gives learners a much-needed break from videos, and lets them know how well they are doing with the course.
Create a Community
Lack of a student community can lead to disengagement among learners. Creating a community via message boards or a platform like Facebook benefits both instructors and learners. Instructors can lead discussions and pose questions for students to answer. This can help to drive instruction and give instructors a sense of how well the students are understanding the material. On the flip side, students can communicate with one another, bounce ideas back and forth, and ask questions.
Remind the Mind
Adult learners are busy people! Most of them have one or more jobs, families, and other commitments. Help your learners out by sending reminder emails if you see that they have taken a break from the class. Better yet, automate an email to be sent out weekly with a class completion reminder.
Using these techniques will benefit your learners and drastically raise your course completion rates!