How to Create a Course That Engages & Educates: 6 Tips

April 21, 2023

Did you know that average course completition rates stagger around 15% and the overwhelming majority of online students never finish the course? 

You may be thinking: 

“They already bought the course, so what does it matter if they finish it?” 

The truth is, even though your course launch revenue may not be impacted right now, low completion rates hurt your course creation business in the long run

Because if your students aren’t finding your course materials engaging enough to complete the course, then they’re significantly less likely to:

  • Talk about your course with a friend 
  • Share about their learning experience on social media
  • Write you a testimonial 

Plus, some teaching platforms make course completition rates public, and having low ones featured on your profile can deter potential students from enrolling. 

Creating engaging course content is key to improving your course completion rates

At DB Course Strategies, we build 6 figure course curriculums that illuminate your expertise. Here are our top tips on how to create an engaging course that really makes an impact. 

#1: Research Your Audience 

Your audience is unique and has unique learning needs. This means it’s not enough to just have a brilliant idea for a course. You need to first validate your idea by confirming that your audience is interested in what you’re sharing. 

To validate your ideas, you can ask your audience the following questions:

  • What kind of struggles or challenges are you faced with?
  • What types of wins or successes are you trying to achieve?
  • What have you done so far to help you?
  • Would my expertise and knowledge help you?

If you’d like more details on how to survey your audience and market research your course topic, check out my best-selling resource The Ultimate Market Research Kit.

#2. Use Stories, Analogies, and Examples

When it comes to online course creation, stories are not “fluff.” 

Storytelling is one of the most effective teaching techniques and has been proven to work for all types of learners, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. 

This is because the human brain is hardwired to engage with stories. 

It’s estimated that facts are 22 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story, and there’s a scientific explanation behind it. 

When we come across a good story, nerve cells called neurons wire together, which causes us to remember the information that the story is associated with. Moreover, stories also trigger the release of major hormones, such as oxytocin and dopamine, that increase our heart rate and make us feel empathy. 

Stories — and this includes analogies & examples — help your students understand concepts, make connections to the content, and recall it better, which results in a significantly more enjoyable and effective learning experience. 

#3: Encourage Reflection

Simply reading a PDF or watching videos without reflecting on them can result in poor recall. Instead, you want your students to engage with the material that they just learned. 

The best way to achieve this is to include learning activities such as quizzes, polls, and discussion questions in your course materials. 

For example, once your students complete a lesson, require them to take a short 10-question exercise to access the next lesson. 

This approach is going to help your students retain the information they learned better and encourage them to keep going through the course. 

#4: Make It Easy to Digest 

If your students log into your course for the first time and see 100 lessons, they’re going to log out and never come back. 

Humans are naturally looking for an easy solution. If the goals you set for your students appear to be achievable, then they are less likely to procrastinate.

So, create digestible lessons that are easy to complete.

It’s better to split one long video into a couple of short ones and provide support materials such as workbooks, resource guides, or checklists to further support the ideas inside your videos. 

It’s also helpful to include time estimates for your lessons so that your students can anticipate how long it’s going to take them to go through each video. 

#4: Regularly Update Your Course Content 

If you’re offering lifetime access to your course, it should also provide lifetime value. In today’s world, things change rapidly, and there’s new information coming out on a daily basis. 

Make it a regular practice to update your course content to reflect the latest industry trends, research, and best practices. 

This way, your course remains highly relevant and valuable to your students, boosting their interest levels. 

#4: Build a Community  

If you’ve been Googling “how to create an online course,” there’s one piece of information that rarely gets mentioned — the importance of community. 

The truth is, learning is more engaging when it’s a collective experience.  Because with online courses, it’s easy to feel isolated and unmotivated. So, to avoid that, you could create an online community where students can ask questions and get support whenever they feel unmotivated or stuck.

This sense of belonging and peer-to-peer support is also a big factor in motivating your students to keep showing up and doing the work.

Most course creators host their community with a Facebook group, but there are plenty of other options to choose from such as Circle, Might Networks and Slack.

You could also schedule weekly or bi-weekly group calls so that your students can meet each other and share their wins and struggles.

Lastly…Good Teaching Skills Are Key 

There’s a lot of information out there about selling courses, doing email marketing & picking a launch strategy….

And while these topics are important, you also need to possess solid teaching skills if you want to stand out. Because if the quality of your instruction disappoints, then your engagement & completion rates will suffer and, as a result, so will your business. 

A few ways you can become a better teacher include: 

  • Get better at explaining your ideas 
  • Ask students for feedback about your course
  • Be patient with students who progress slower than others
  • Encourage students to be accountable for their own learning journey 

Now, if you don’t have time to learn the ins & outs of building a successful online course, DB Course Strategies offers done-for-you online course creation services to help you scale your profit with ease. 

Learn more here! 

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