How to Create an Online Course (That People Will Actually Want to Finish)

It’s no secret that online courses are becoming one of the most popular ways to make money online…

According to Forbes Magazine, the market for online courses hit $57 billion in 2014 – and it has kept growing ever since. In fact, experts estimate that the online course industry is approaching $200 billion this year.

And with platforms like Teachable and Kajabi gaining popularity, the feat of creating an online course is easier than ever before.

So sure, it’s quite easy to enter this market, but it’s another thing altogether to succeed in it. And the key to creating a successful online course is ensuring your customers actually complete it.

Customers who don’t finish a course are more unlikely to continue to buy courses or products from you. However, customers who do finish a course are more likely to buy another one.

And as we all know, repeat purchases lead to customer loyalty (if you’re lucky, brand evangelism), and most importantly, more money.

Here Are 5 Tips You Can Use to Ensure Customer’s Finish Your Course:

1) Add Interactivity

As our client Brian Tracy likes to say, people truly “learn” by taking in information in, digesting it, and then applying it.

Including interactive elements in your course will not only keep your users engaged, it will also force students to practice what they’ve learned, which will help them better retain information and feel motivated to continue. A few great examples of interactive elements to integrate into your course are:

  • Worksheets
  • Printables
  • Quizzes
  • Journal
  • Dedicated action items

However, the key with any supplementary learning instrument is the instruction; telling users exactly WHEN and HOW to use a worksheet or journal is crucial to the success of your course.

2) Make it Accessible

Everyone learns differently. Your students may be auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or even musical learners. Including multiple consumption vehicles increases ease of learning for your user base.

In addition, everyone lives differently too. Students may prefer to digest content while they’re commuting by listening to audio, or maybe they prefer to sit down and watch videos. Either way, integrating multiple consumption vehicles helps to ensure that your course is accessible to all your users, in whatever way works best for them.

3) Create a Community

It’s human nature to want to be a part of a community, which is why adding a communal element to your online course can help take it from good to great. Communities encourage:

  • Group discussion and Q&A
  • Finding common ground (sharing struggles, stories, etc)
  • Relationship building
  • Brand evangelism
  • And general positivity and encouragement

However, if you’re going to set up an online community for your course, it’s imperative to establish a monitor, whether it be you or another individual. A monitor can help set the tone of the group, encourage discussion, answer questions, and steer the group back in the right direction when needed.

For more tips on running an effective online community, check out this article.

4) Try Gamification

Nothing makes a “chore” fun like adding some competition! Hopefully your userbase feels a bit more positively about your course, but regardless, gamification is a great way to keep your students engaged.

Here are some of our favorite gamification ideas for online courses:

    • Badges you can “win”
    • Showcasing a dynamic “leaderboard” controlled by points
    • Using quests or challenges to get points
    • “Beat the clock” exercises
    • Quizzes and tests
    • Choose your own adventure
    • Share progress via social media

For more great examples of gamification in e-learning, check out this showcase by eLearning Industry.

5) Reinforce Your “So-What?” Factor

At the end of the day, customer drive to complete any course, project and challenge comes down to what they will gain by doing so.

For you, this value offering should be decided during the product ideation and sales pitch process. Exercise WIIFM thinking: ask yourself the question, “If I were the customer, why would I be motivated to take this course.

What’s in it for ME?”

As you’re putting together your course, make it extremely hard for users to lose sight of this value. Seed reminders and encouragement that will keep them motivated to attain the final reward, whatever it may be.

Need help identifying your value offering? Think of what you can promise your potential customer base that would motivate them to take action (and keep taking action!) Some examples are:

    • A certification
    • Some tangible benefit (ex: fitness programs)
    • Getting to join a club or elite group
    • Career advancement
    • In person meeting with their mentor

The possibilities are endless!

Want to see how our clients offer e-learning? Check out the latest and greatest course from Brian Tracy: Power Productivity!

Have you taken any online courses you truly loved — what was so great about them? Tell us in the comments below.

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Alyssa is a Digital Marketing Manager who lives and breathes all things Brian Tracy for Brandetize. When she’s not deep diving into numbers, planning projects, or launching new products & campaigns with her kickass teammates, Alyssa enjoys dancing, performing, traveling and hanging out with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Georgie (who you can follow on Instagram here!)