How to improve your online course and increase student participation

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With the kind support of Lucas Miller

How to improve your online course and increase student participation
How to improve your online course and increase student participation

Search and you will find, but only if you make an effort. An online course can monetize experiences, expand influence, and publish content that helps others. An expert on virtually any topic can use one of the following formats: PDF files, live question and answer sessions, YouTube videos, speeches, presentations, podcasts, published research, and more.

However, this is a serious challenge: like New Year’s resolutions that are quickly abandoned, most eager students buy a course and never complete it. They take two steps forward and stop permanently, which can lead potential students to question the competence, communication skills, or credibility of the course creator.

With massive open online courses (MOOCs) the dropout rate can be extreme. A 2019 MIT study found that 96 percent of students left MOOCs over a five-year period. Another study in 2015 found that the completion rate was only 5 to 15 percent.

Why is that exactly? Well, prospective students buy a course based on desire or motivation, but many resist hard work. This undermines the skills of an expert. It damages reputation and future business initiatives. A corporate customer won’t hire you as a speaker or coach if the public goes offline, looks at their phones, and goes out to lunch never to return. A student who never completes a course will certainly not recommend it and will not get the results that they are supposed to be looking for.

People go offline for many reasons. Expectations change, they are forgotten, the family disturbs, boredom comes, it is really excuses. However, as the creator, it is still your job to answer the following: How can I make my course so attractive that everyone finishes it?

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do:

1. Be extremely prepared

Many experts are tempted to “blow up” because of the great knowledge they have. However, if you do these things, your course will become disorganized and unprofessional. And newbies won’t learn everything they could have learned if they were properly prepared. If you really want to help others, make preparation more effective.

And I’m serious: prepare your material weeks in advance. This includes discussion points, slides, guest appearances, interviews, statistics, sources, etc. You should also remove all non-essential content to make your course more digestible. Many will not understand unnecessarily complex ideas or jargon with which the public will not connect. Simplicity enables learning and engagement. Resist the ego’s urge to make things more difficult than they have to be.

2. Give feedback

Students must communicate continuously and give feedback. I recently spoke to Sean Castrina, an entrepreneur who organizes online business courses, and he advised me: “Ask questions before the new sections. If the next section is about team building, ask participants what they want to learn. And after the section ends, check that you really learned it. “In other words, check that it really meets your students’ expectations.

Request instant feedback when sharing live content as the public can ask questions and comment in real time. Provide participants with an assessment sheet for the course so that they can assess their teaching skills and presentation of lessons based on factors such as communication skills, material quality, and availability. These identify opportunities for improvement and hopefully strengthen your long-term reputation as a course creator.

3. Get an assistant

The assistants work for the course creators, but directly with the students. If you have the budget, rent one. They offer individual support and also observe how students progress. They really do wonders to improve the overall student experience.

Depending on the format of your course, it may also be possible to hire a virtual assistant to help you participate, e.g. B. answering emails and answering questions or comments from students on social media.

4. Suggestion for discussion

Give participants the opportunity to learn from each other in group chat. Students can react to one another, many of whom are repeated year after year throughout the course. Satesh Bidaisee, professor and deputy dean at St. George’s University in Granada, told Inside Higher Ed this important advice for online teachers: “While you can’t repeat the personal comings and goings from a classroom, encouraging students who Using media channels or creating virtual discussion groups to work together can mimic this collaborative environment. This will motivate students to succeed and allow them to fall back on each other while working through the material. “

Simple and easy-to-navigate discussion forums are available through apps like S.Lack, Facebook, Quip and Zoomthat bring the students together and create a deeper and more meaningful sense of community.

Remind people of the benefits of your online course and hope they come back to learn more.

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