Gone are the days when students would have to be in a real-life classroom to learn. Because of technology and society constantly evolving, the rise of the internet and Wi-Fi has meant students can learn from the comfort of their own homes. All of this is thanks to online courses.
In fact, online courses have significantly risen in popularity in recent years. Regardless of the subject, you’re sure to find a course that aligns with your career goals. It’s a profitable sector to be in too, so if you want to create your own online course, the trickiest part is keeping learners engaged. Here is a brief guide on how to develop an online course that is engaging, interactive, and ultimately, keeps the learner hooked.
One of the undeniable benefits of an online course is that it can bring together students from all four corners of the planet. However, this doesn’t come without its challenges. Unlike a classroom environment where students can come together and share ideas instantly, those learning from behind a screen may have difficulty interacting.
The good news is that you can encourage interactivity by holding discussions. This may be in the form of a chat room or forum, enabling learners to share notes, talk through ideas, and ultimately, get the answer to any questions they have. Students will also feel part of a community that can help spur them on to continue learning.
Put yourself in the learners’ shoes. Would you like a course that’s back-to-back paragraphs? The answer is no. If you’re having to sift through paragraph after paragraph, your attention span is going to wane. In fact, you may end up finding the course is a chore to get through, rather than an enjoyable process. Therefore, incorporating multimedia into it is essential.
This can be in the form of videos, images, and interactive graphics. All three are great for breaking up the monotony of reading long blocks of text. When learners have visuals to look at, they’re more likely to stay engaged and motivated.
Create An Interactive Quiz
As an online course creator, you will want anyone participating to retain the information you provide. So you can be confident that what you deliver is sticking in the learner’s mind, why not create an interactive quiz too? This can test their knowledge, as well as reinforce key concepts. Just make sure it’s interactive, so learners have to actually engage with the content!
If you need a hand with this, why not check out Vevox? They can help you develop a fun live quiz that is sure to energise and educate your learners. Their live quizzing feature can be used to help you pinpoint knowledge gaps and increase attention levels.
Gamify the Learning Experience
For students to stay committed to your online course, they may like the idea of earning rewards and badges along the way. After all, getting a sense of accomplishment from their efforts is what will spur learners on and stay on the course. Gamifying the learning experience is imperative for building a successful online course.
As students navigate through the online course and earn rewards, they will feel inspired and motivated to carry on. You could even create a leaderboard and hand out prizes for those who have excelled in a particular module. Just make sure you play fair, otherwise, other students may feel disheartened and not respected.
Keep the Content Fresh and Relevant
It doesn’t matter what subject your online course is in, above anything else, the content needs to be fresh and relevant for students. Put their needs at the base of it all. The primary purpose of the course should be to give students relevant content that’s packed with useful information, easy to understand, and of course, relevant to the subject.
While some online course developers will have a way with words and know how to get their message across perfectly, others may struggle with what content to feature and what should be left out. If you’re having difficulty coming up with content, you may find it useful to hire a freelance writer to help out. They can craft together content that’s engaging, informative, and easy to follow.
Provide Consistent Feedback
When it comes to learning, feedback is crucial. Learners need to have a good idea of how they’re performing, otherwise, they may lose momentum and steer off the course. It’s your job as the course creator to provide learners with consistent feedback. Keeping them updated on their progress will help identify strengths and weaknesses.
Whatever you do, make sure to offer constructive feedback. If only what you have to say is negative, you can’t expect students to stick around. While it’s important to be honest, if you do have any concerns with a student’s progress, make sure to give specific examples of why you have come to said conclusion.
To keep learners on side, it’s wise to use storytelling in your online course. This is sure to captivate students. For example, rather than plainly stating an idea, try and weave in a bit of storytelling. You’ll find some students find it far easier to remember information if it’s wrapped up in an inspirational story.
Interactive storytelling has numerous benefits. For one, it personalises the learning journey for students. Secondly, it can build an emotional connection that is paramount for increasing engagement. If you need a hand with storytelling, you can enlist the help of a freelance writer who will have the relevant experience.
Set Clear Learning Objectives
When developing an online course, learners need to be hooked in from the offset. For this to happen, make sure that you lay out clear objectives and goals. This should be on the first page. Students need to know exactly what the course entails, what they will achieve, and whether it’s the right fit for them.
Keep objectives and goals realistic. Try not to overload students with too many either. The best practice is to keep things short and sweet. As students progress through the course, they can look back at the objectives and goals to track their progress and stay engaged.
Ensure Your Course Is Accessible
For online course developers, one of your key roles when creating a programme is to understand the needs of a diverse student audience. In the online learning world, you’ll need to cater to students with visual, auditory, mobility, or learning disabilities.
You also need to consider how learners will access your content. While many will pull out their laptop or computer to learn, others prefer to use their smartphone. Therefore, you need to ensure your content is optimised for mobile. If learners have difficulty working their way through modules, stress levels can go through the roof. Over time, learners may give up on the course and go to competitors.
It can be devastating to spend so many weeks or months developing an online course to find students abandoning it halfway through. We don’t want this to happen to you! Instead, taking our suggestions above on board can help you craft together an engaging online course that reels the learner in and most importantly, helps them flourish and achieve top marks.