How does a live course differ from an online course (other than the obvious)? It is much easier to “walk away” from the course and never return. Unlike a live course where one has put in effort to travel there, find parking and settle into a seat, in a virtual environment they can just click the “x” and never return. People are unlikely to get up in the middle of a live course, pack-up and leave. Having said that, they are also much more likely to log in and try you out. At least once.
How do you captivate your audience and what do you need to consider when creating an online course that will best impact your students? The biggest and most obvious factor is to make it interesting. Now, if they have signed up for your course, they are already interested in the topic you are presenting; or at the very least, the basic principles behind it.
The next factor is capturing and maintaining their interest. A study by the University of Illinois reveals that 50% of students are kinesthetic learners. This means that they learn by “doing”. 40% learn visually while only 10% are auditory learners. This is ironic because 80% of instruction is delivered auditorily.
What does all this mean for your online course?
Simple – it is important to attempt to engage as many of the senses as possible. Now, unless you are engaging your students in a culinary course, taste and smell might be tricky… but sight, sound, and touch can all be achieved.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Here are 5 Key Elements to Maximize Online Engagement:
Video is an undeniable must have in any online course. At the very least, you should be providing a video introduction. Let them experience who you are as an instructor by seeing and hearing you. If you can include a video in each component of your teaching method, even better!
Obviously, the aforementioned video will also cover the audio component necessary to engage your students. But try to think beyond that as well. Are there some additional audio files you can include that they can play while in the car or at the gym? Maybe it’s a suggested podcast episode or a meditation audio?
Let’s think of touch in terms of community. Human interaction is the piece that’s missing when you take a course online, but there are ways to solve that. Consider a simple private Facebook Group or adding a website forum as part of your course structure. Then, you need to be the one that ‘seeds’ this space with thought provoking material, reminders and solicitations for feedback.
As mentioned, the most successful form of learning is done from “doing”. Have a quick assessment at the end of each section that recaps and tests the viewer’s knowledge. Allow for multiple chances and keep the expectations reasonable. Circle back to the focal points in the topic you just covered. Make it so that it needs to be completed to move on to the following section.
Last but not least, make it fun. People love to play and complete challenges for rewards. The unbelievable, continuous success of Reality TV reiterates that. It is easy to add a gaming component to you course and offer points that can be redeemed for small rewards – such as badges, your latest E-Book, or a coupon to another course that you offer. Completing challenges and participating in games not only increase attention and motivation but this releases endorphins. Don’t underestimate the power of learning through Gamification. A component so powerful, it should have its own blog! J
“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”
– Vince Lombardi
So, are you ready to take your content online or improve a course you already have? We’d love to hear form you! Share your story below or contact us for a personal consultation.