#176: 5 Ways to Fix Your Digital Course Videos So Students Don’t Quit Early


It can be time consuming to edit the videos inside our digital courses trying to make them engaging for our students. Videos are an important part of nearly every digital course these days, but that doesn’t mean that they have to cost a ton of time or money to create and edit. Thank goodness engaging videos aren’t really about our editing skills at all!

Today I’m going to share with you 5 tips for editing your video content to be more engaging for your students that I’ve been using for over 15 years in my courses and none of them involve video editing techniques. By the end of the episode you’ll have 5 new ways to engage your students with your video lessons. After all, video editing really doesn’t engage your students, it is the content and presentation that draws them in and keeps them learning, so let’s jump into what really matters. And the 4th tip can create a lot of angst for course creators, so at the end of the episode I’ll share my favorite ways to make a course more accessible for any type of learner.

Create an Engaging Course

One of the biggest concerns that course creators have, myself included, is how to ensure students finish the course and then put the learning into action. I’ll let you in on a secret, not only is our student engagement not about video editing, it isn’t about dripping a course, or adding in implementation weeks.

It is ideas that go beyond the surface level hacks and tricks.

Imagine that you are a course creator who helps women find their style because, as much as we wish it weren’t true, we are judged by our appearance in those first few seconds and our clothes should allow us to shine, not hold us back.

You have some amazing students ready to dive into your course and you want to make sure that they will stay present, stay engaged, take action, and finish the course. Let’s talk through 5 concrete actions we can take to boost engagement and course completion because we know that when our students finish the course they experience success and become our best ambassadors.

Let’s jump in!

Tip 1: Advanced Organizer

First up. One of my favorite tips to make a course video more engaging, and the course itself, is the advanced organizer. This might be a new term for you, but I guarantee you’ll know what I’m talking about. The advanced organizer is essentially like an agenda that is handed out before a meeting. It gives the student a chance to know what to expect.

This is something that we used all the time when I was creating trainings for organizations or for certification programs. We always found that when students had access to an advanced organizer they had an easier time putting into practice what was being taught because they had a framework in their minds for what to expect. It allows for easier connections, more thorough understanding, and an ease for taking action.

In a course that focuses on creating a personal style, an advanced organizer might look something like this. In this lesson we are going to start with a discussion on what components are part of your personal style. This will allow us to do a self-analysis to determine which areas we would like to focus on first. Then we will talk through some practical considerations on the cost of updating your personal style and how to make the most of what you already have in your closet and bathroom. Each step of the way, you’ll have the chance to pause the lesson and reflect on what you’ve learned. The key is to take action at each step.

As you can hear, this doesn’t take a lot of effort or time, but it has a big impact on our students’ success.

It isn’t enough to just provide an advanced organizer for our students, we also have to create a personal connection with them.

Tip 2: Use Stories

Tip number 2.

Creating an engaging course video will hinge on our ability to incorporate stories into the lesson content. And this can make a lot of us tense up. What if story-telling isn’t your forte? All you can remember is high school composition class and counting down the days until it was over?

I felt the same way, until I learned that all stories follow the same arc. There is a problem that is introduced, there is some tension as to what might happen, there is a solution, and then success.

That’s it. In fact, if you watch any tv show, movie, or drama of any kind you will see those exact same elements. It is a formula. That’s it.

Stories allow us to connect with one another in a more personal way and create a connection, even if it is through a recorded video.

In fact, did you relate to the beginning of this podcast when I mentioned that you don’t have to be a video editing whiz? What about just now when I reminded you of high school composition class? These are all story elements that are designed to help build a connection and camaraderie.

Now let’s think about a course on personal style. The course creator can easily create a story of walking into their closet and being frozen in front of a wall of choices, not knowing what outfit to choose for an interview. It might sound something like this:

I can remember walking into my closet to get dressed for my interview and I had some great options, but at that moment I had no idea what to pair together so that the committee would see me as the authority and best choice for the position. I was frozen because I didn’t really understand how to create a personal style that created the image I wanted. Now, when I walk into my closet, I know exactly what pieces to choose for what occasion. You can feel the same way even if it doesn’t feel like it at this exact moment. In fact, I just got a text from a student who said that she felt so confident walking into a meeting because she knew that her outfit would send the right message and set the stage for the message she had prepared to deliver.

In this story, the course creator is sharing a personal moment that their students can relate to and the solution of learning what pieces to choose. They also sharing the success that is possible if they keep going through the course.

These kinds of stories can also be powerful during a launch!

Whether you are telling stories inside your course or in your student emails, they can become even more powerful when paired with Tip number 3.

Remember, tip number 1 was to incorporate an advanced organizer, tip number 2 was to use stories.

Tip 3: Build in Reflection

Tip number 3.

When designing a course, we have to provide an opportunity to reflect during the learning process. Our students need pauses to think as we learn. One of the best ways to create a pause when we aren’t sitting in the same room as our students is to ask reflection questions and invite the student to pause the video while they are thinking and writing.

The research shows that taking even a minute or two to pause, increases engagement in the learning process and helps students to retain that information that is being shared.

Both of these are wins.

In fact, I’ll never forget when I was delivering my first course and seeing my student’s eye glaze over in a live class. I had talked too long. The very next class, we broke up those talking segments with opportunities to ask questions, think about what the information meant, and even to journal some questions and a-ha moments. My students were participating more, asked more questions that showed their depth of understanding and they were smiling!

In a personal style course, this might look like a video that addresses how to pair colors where we deliver the content and then invite the student to think about how they have used color in the past. Did it follow the “rules” that we just discussed or did it break the rules. How did they feel in that outfit? You can even take it further and ask the students to imagine their favorite outfit. How do the color rules apply to that outfit? What are some take-aways about how that outfit truly works for them or what adjustments they might want to make?

The key to building in reflection is to recognize that not everyone likes to journal. We have to offer multiple ways for that reflection to happen. It might be talking to someone else, just sitting and thinking it through, it could be writing down the answers, or even voice-recording some thoughts.

By adding different types of opportunities for reflections you are also acknowledging that everyone learns and processes differently.

Now Tip 1 was to use an advanced organizer or agenda of sorts, Tip 2 was to use stories throughout all video lessons, and Tip 3 was all about slowing down the consumption of content with reflection points to improve retention and action.

Tip 4: Different Material for Different Learning Styles

Now onto tip 4.

When thinking about what materials to include and highlight during your digital course video lessons, keep in mind that each student comes to us with different learning styles and needs.

Imagine going to a buffet and on the buffet there was only romaine lettuce. That buffet is only going to serve people who love romaine lettuce, can eat romaine lettuce, and who would love a meal filled with romaine lettuce. I suspect that will limit their popularity as a go-to buffet.

We can apply this same concept to course materials. If we have a course filled with direct to camera shots where we are lecturing the students, we are catering to the auditory learner. Those students who learn better by hearing something.

Students who prefer and learn best with auditory lessons only make up a percentage of our students though. This doesn’t mean that you should never use direct to camera shots in your course where you are the only thing on the screen, you do want to have some variety available.

For example, you could put important bullet points up on the screen either in a slide or if you happen to like video editing, a template that creates a space for you and a space for the bullet points. This is going to serve the visual learner more effectively.

Serving our tactile and kinesthetic learners can be a little more challenging, but with a little effort is absolutely doable. For example, a tactile learner is one who learns best through touch. Having a downloadable and printable workbook that they can fill out will give them the opportunity to involve their sense of touch as they pick up their favorite pen to jot down ideas, answer reflection questions, and even doodle along to your lesson.

Kinesthetic learners are ones who learn best with movement. This is where a private podcast that allows them to listen to your lessons on the go, while walking the dog, or doing the evening dishes can be helpful. There have been many evenings where I’ve listened to lessons while washing dishes and I’ve been thankful for the chance to make the most of my time!

Thinking about a course on personal style, there are so many options here. As a course creator we can have outfit pieces displayed on the camera, have downloadable templates for planning outfits, a closet organizer guide, ask students to go to their closet and pull out their favorite outfit to have sitting nearby during a particular lesson. I think the list could be endless here.

The key is that when you have different ways to interact with material, it is more engaging, more memorable, and more actionable. All things that we want for our courses.

If this sounds big, be sure to listen to the Sixty-Second Solution at the end of today’s episode where I break this process down and remove the anxiety it can cause to provide different learning opportunities within your course.

Tip 5: Add Quizzes

Finally, Tip 5.

When creating engaging video content for a course, have you ever considered incorporating quizzes? Incorporating quizzes doesn’t have to be like a middle school pop quiz that makes everyone sweat. It can be as simple as questions assessing what steps to take and in what order just to help students solidify the concepts. It could be questions about what idea resonated the most.

By incorporating quizzes you have the opportunity to recap ideas in a unique and fun way. Who doesn’t like a good confetti page when they submit the quiz.

For a course on personal style, it might be fun to ask questions about color combinations, choosing the best material for the purpose of your outfit, ways to organize your closet so that it is easy to create power outfits in just a few seconds.

Having a chance to solidify their knowledge and understanding also boosts their motivation to keep going, which keeps them engaged in the course!

BONUS Tip: Keep it to 15 Minutes

I promised you 5 tips in this episode for creating engaging video lessons, but I couldn’t leave you without this final tip, so here is a bonus tip.

As we create videos for our students, time matters. Keeping video lessons to a max of 15 minutes will create a huge difference in whether students will complete the video, remember the information, and put it into action or simply stop and move onto something else.

When there are easy to consume segments, they fit much easier into a busy life. There have been courses in my browser that have taken a long time to get through simply because the video length isn’t conducive to my busy life as a homeschooling mom, college prof, and entrepreneur. Those shorter video lengths get the information and time commitment manageable.

In a course on personal style, we can easily break down lessons into key concepts where there is just one key concept per video. Although it might mean more videos in the course, it will likely mean that a student will follow through, especially if each lesson has a tangible action item to complete.

Action Item

If you are new to the show, this is always the point of the conversation where we talk about a specific action step you can implement this week so that this episode doesn’t become just another podcast episode you listened to. I want you to take action because in order to achieve our goals and dreams, we have to take meaningful action each step of the way.


So, today’s action step is to choose one, just one tip to implement in your course or in your course lesson plan. You might be thinking, but Dr. Moira, they all sound important. They are, but too often we can get stuck in trying to implement too much at once. This week just choose one tip.


If you already have advanced organizers in your course, great, maybe now is the time to explore creating more stories or building in reflection. It doesn’t matter which tip you choose, the key is to implement it.


And if you get stuck while you are implementing one of the tips from today’s episode, I’m here to help.

Today we’ve been talking about 5 ways to create engaging course videos that don’t require you to be a genius at video editing and you are now ready to take action by adding in proven engagement tools to your course.

From using stories to offering an advanced organizer, asking reflection questions, building quizzes, and embracing different learning styles, we can build courses that have students sitting glued to the lessons and implementing as they go.

And if you chose Tip 4 to implement, at the end of this episode, in the Sixty-Second Solution, I’ll be sharing specific ideas for what to include in your videos so that they will appeal to all learning styles because I’ve found that Tip 4 tends to create angst.

Although I’m openly sharing ideas and tools for creating a course that is profitable and messaging that attracts your ideal students here on the Digital Course Creator Podcast to help you become a Six Figure Course Creator.

I’ve realized that success in any area of life requires strategy. There are so many places to get insights into what strategy we could use. Books, podcasts, digital courses are at our fingertips.

So why do we still consistently struggle when it comes to making progress?

Because whatever change we want in our lives is 10% or less what we read and study, and over 90% mindset. That 90% mindset piece means that we all benefit from personalized help.

If you are ready to become a profitable course creator and implement today’s action item but find yourself getting stuck, unsure of what to do, or just would like an extra set of eyes on your plan, I always keep at least 2 slots open on my calendar each week to help course creators figure out their goals, think through the strategy needed to make those goals happen and get unstuck. These are free, no obligation calls.

And if you know that you’d like 1:1 coaching and personalized help, you can join the waitlist today so that when you are ready for extra support and guidance, you’ll have a spot.

Let’s make the next 12 months THE year you go from being an uncertain course creator to a Six Figure Course Creator by grabbing a strategy call at coursecalls.com. You can also find that link in the show notes, but again, it’s coursecalls.com

Sixty Second Solution

As a course creator, do you ever struggle with engaging your students with your video lessons? Today’s Sixty-Second Solution is all about how to fix that with just a few steps by addressing different learning styles in each lesson.

First up, you can offer summarized notes from the lesson as well as provide on screen bullet points, graphs, relevant pictures, and even video examples within your video. This will help out your visual learners.

For the auditory learners, you might consider a private podcast for your video lessons. This allows students to put their ear buds in and listen to the content you are sharing without any distractions. You can also create mnemonic devices. Channel your inner math students days and the saying Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

Finally, for the kinesthetic and tactile learners, try adding in activities that use all the senses. Maybe they can work with different materials to see how something functions, or review additional materials.

The key to engagement is to provide a variety of opportunities for students to get involved in a way that works for them. Don’t be afraid to try different things!

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