Has this happened to you with the creation of a course–you put in all this hard work, and you didn’t get the stellar response you were seeking?
You were sure that your audience is going to eat this up and learn a lot of valuable information. You assumed this because the content worked for you–but that probably wasn’t a safe assumption.
You knew your content was of high quality. You had put the work in, so your expectations were high but reasonable.
As time passes, something is wrong. Maybe people are dropping out of the course. Maybe people aren’t as engaged as they were a few weeks ago. Maybe people fail to complete the course. Maybe people complete the course, but the reviews they leave aren’t that great.
Your high expectations come crashing back down to earth.
This really stinks. You know that you put in the effort to not just give your learners a big info dump. You know that you didn’t just throw up some talking head videos on Facebook and call it a training.
And yet, you’re probably feeling like that your course is awful, and with this failure, you won’t be able to make selling info products as your business, like so many people have done.
You feel completely demoralized. Where did you go wrong? What are you going to do?
In this blog post, you will learn how to help your audience get the most of your program so that they complete your course and leave stellar reviews.
Two Kinds of Motivation
You can’t really control how your audience reacts to your course, but you can help to steer them along the right path and give them appropriate resources. One way to do this is to connect to their motivations.
When people sign up for a course, they have a variety of reasons for it. It could be that you provide a certification that will impress their colleagues. That would be called extrinsic motivation, where the reward comes from an external source.
Other people may sign up for a course because they want to learn some information that will help grow their businesses, or they may want to grow as a person in some area of their lives (e.g., to learn how to eat healthier). These would be intrinsic motivations, where there is a personal reward.
So if someone signs up for a course with extrinsic motivation, they may be more prone to drop out because the point is very specific as well as a little more elusive and outside of the control of your learners.
When it comes to extrinsic motivation, it’s not really guaranteed that they will achieve what they want. Will they actually get their colleagues to esteem them more highly? To keep motivated when a course becomes a little more challenging will be much harder to do. It’s a lot easier to start to procrastinate with coursework, to get distracted, to give up entirely.
But with intrinsic motivation, when the motivation is internal and personal, it’s a lot easier to keep going and stay engaged. A learner may be focused on motivators such as a goal of becoming an expert on a certain topic, or he or she may just personally enjoy the topic of the course. A learner could want to complete your course to get a certification for a personal sense of accomplishment.
As a course creator, you can probably tell that it’ll be a lot easier to help your learners by tapping into their intrinsic motivations than their extrinsic ones. And there are ways to increase intrinsic motivation so that they “stay the course.”
Three Ways to Help Your Learners Get the Most Out of Your Course
Having great content is an important part of a course, but you also need some strategies to motivate your students to get the most of your course and not drop out. So here are three of them to start. These strategies will help you support your learner’s intrinsic motivation.
1. Keep learners engaged.
Your learners will most likely have a lot of balls they’re juggling–work, home, hobbies, and other obligations. You are competing for their attention, and it’s so easy to get distracted and to find reasons not to complete a course. So you need to motivate your learners to stay engaged. A Facebook or another type of online forum/group can be one way to do that.
Being in an online community can help your learners feel supported–since everyone will be in similar states of busyness. If someone takes an online course otherwise, they’re typically doing it at their own pace, by themselves. So it can be very easy for learners to get distracted or just not feel plugged into the course and with what you’re trying to teach.
A Facebook group can give them something to look forward to, such as the interaction with others, sharing new things they’ve learned, or questions or feedback they may have. It can also help create a bond by sharing emotional learning or life experience. Often when we overcome challenges and elevate ourselves, the people around us can become supporters that root us on.
If the course starts to get tough, there are other people around who can provide support and advise–including you, as the instructor. It can help prevent people from dropping your course because they feel too overwhelmed with life or confused and lost with your course content. You can reassure your learners: we are in this together – we’ve got your back.
2. Help learners understand; you get out what you put in
When your learners start your course, it helps them to know from the beginning, how much time it will take per week to complete your course. And, if you had a successful pilot launch, then you should already have this information.
Here an example of what this can look like:
This course is broken down into the following content each week:
- Self-paced eLearning lessons; approximately 30-45 minutes each week
- Activities to guide you through building your info product; approximately 2-3 hours each week.
- Live group coaching call; 60 minutes each week
As you can see, for this particular course, the most time students will spend will be on activities. So learners may attend all the calls and do the lessons, which is enough to get the information to create an info product. But the bulk of the coursework time is on the activities of building an info product–so learners could miss out on hours of practice along with interactions with fellow students and the instructor.
And, that’s something you can drive home, explicitly–what your expectations are for the course. By setting up your students for success with clear expectations of the time that should be spent on the course, you’ll have fewer students dropping out–and students self-selecting themselves not to take it as well.
Simply put: the more time you put in, the more you will get out. If your learners know the expectations from the beginning, they will more likely stick around and carve out the time to make your course a priority.
3. Assist; always allow learners to ask for help
So sometimes, learners get stuck in a course, but they may not want to reach out for help. They may feel ashamed as if they should know better. Or they may just be utterly frustrated–at themselves or at the course. Especially if they have busy lives, they may just say, screw it, and close your course for good.
No matter what the reasons are, what you want to do is make sure you provide places for people to ask for help, without fear or shame. An online community is one place. Having an email dedicated to course questions is another. Email is great for those who feel shy asking questions publicly or have more in-depth questions.
Having an FAQ posted on your course (and pointing your students to that page often) can also be of help. If you provide coaching calls, definitely have time for Q&A at the end.
Assure them that there are no stupid questions, and that unasked questions don’t get answered.
This may mean answering the same question over and over (which you can use as feedback for your course as well).
Be patient. Make sure you also point out other resources, both in and outside of the course, to further guide and support your learners.
A Self-Sustaining Learning Community
Creating content isn’t hard. We’re swimming in so much online content that it’s hard to keep up with it all–videos, blog posts, articles, and social media posts.
And so many people right now are just throwing up videos or other kinds of content and calling it a training or a course.
But we don’t want to do that. We want to have content that really matters to people, which helps them to change their lives. We want to create high-quality content.
But creating high-quality content definitely takes a lot more time and effort. But even creating high-quality content won’t ensure that your audience will stay (for) the course.
Your audience comes equipped with their own intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and what we want to do is tap into those personal motivations to increase their self-motivation.
The more this happens, the more likely your learners will stay engaged in the course, interact with other learners, and build up the community together.
This is so much easier on you as the course creator because you don’t have to stand on your head to try to keep your audience engaged, all by yourself. You will instead have an active community that will grow and sustain itself
Let’s hear your questions and experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.