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#174: How to Get Students to Finish Your Digital Course

Introduction

On today’s show I’m sharing 3 ideas you can implement in your course today that will help to boost course completion and have your students excited to work with you in your next steps and high ticket offers.

How to Get Your Students to Finish the Course

Welcome to Episode 174 of the Digital Course Creator Podcast where we talk about the ins and outs of making your digital course successful for your students and your business. Today is all about helping your students get through your course and actually implement what they are learning.

This is both an audio and video podcast so feel free to switch to the platform you like best using the link in the description or show notes and regardless of where you are listening you’ll want to stick around to the end of this episode for today’s Sixty-Second Solution where I’m going to share my number one resource all course creators should be including in their course for maximum completion potential.

So let’s jump into today’s conversation. I know you want your students to finish the digital course the you so painstakingly created, recorded, promoted, and agonized over, but the truth is that in our post-COVID world it isn’t enough to have an interesting course idea, catchy sales page, and some video modules. Your course has to be designed to not only help students move through the content, but to skip binging Netflix in favor of your lessons. While this isn’t always easy, there are some steps you can take to boost completion and implementation.

Today I’m sharing 3 ideas that you can implement to boost your course completion rates and have students hiring you again. The first two will seem like no-brainers when you hear them, and the third idea may have you shouting at your device telling me I’m wrong.

Let’s start with something that we can probably all agree on.

Idea 1: Variety of Resources

Make sure that you have a variety of ways to put your content into action. Remember that we all have different learning styles. Some learn best by listening, some by reading, some by filling out workbooks, doing puzzles, filling in prompts, etc.

When you create a variety of learning paths for your students, they will be more engaged and willing to bypass their latest Netflix binge for your course modules. I know that the temptation here is to fill your course with recorded video modules and have a beautiful workbook. But imagine that this is the 10th course someone has taken and every single course has video lessons and a workbook to complete. Not only will they become bored, you won’t stand out as the person who can really help them. Your course becomes like everyone else’s.

So what can you do? Still offer those video lessons and workbooks, but give opportunities to collaborate, get feedback, ask questions, gamify progress with gift cards or a hand-written thank you note, create calculators, templates, quizzes, simulated examples, a private podcast with the audio from your lessons, and more.

By engaging your digital course students in multiple ways you are keeping them interested, standing out from the crowd and helping them to be successful as you are meeting them with resources that fit their learning style.

Idea 2: Create Urgency

This second idea for helping your students to complete the course is something that we tend to focus on when selling the course, but then abandon as we move into delivery mode and that is the importance of creating urgency.

Your course is solving a problem. Be sure that you are consistently talking about how the course is solving that problem so that the purpose stays front and center for the students. You can also create urgency by offering a limited number of opportunities to get help through a 1:1 call, group Q&A calls, or a Facebook group for the course experience. When you put a deadline on these opportunities for personal help, it can spur on progress through the course.

The key is that you can’t forget all of the messaging and marketing that you worked so hard to create and share during your launch and sales cycle. These things are still important and we need to be up front about how the course can help.

Try sending a weekly email to your students letting them know how different pieces of the course will help them. For example, if you have a course helping parents of toddlers learn new parenting techniques, Module 2 might help them to navigate a tricky family conversations where they are being criticized for their choices, while Module 4 could make all the difference in going through picky eating stages, and Module 7 might help when their toddler is suddenly awake all night chattering away. Remind them of what is coming and how their life will be different as a result of implementing these course concepts.

Just like we feel urgency to eat when our stomach starts rumbling loudly, our students will feel urgency to move through the course when they see how doing the work can help and what they might be missing out on if they don’t dig in soon!

Idea 3: Don’t Drip Your Course

And this brings us to the third idea. This is the controversial one and I know that I’m going to lose some listeners and viewers after I share this concept. The easiest way to keep your student’s attention is to not drip your course. Yes, I said that one of the easiest ways to keep your students engaged is to allow them access to your course content on their terms. Of course, while honoring your refund boundaries and other terms and conditions that are a part of your course.

We often hear that you need to drip a course so that you don’t create overwhelm. What happens when you have students who need to work in chunks of time and can’t wait for that next module to be dripped in a week or two? They go on to other projects.

I’ll be the first to tell you that there might be times when you need to drip a course. Maybe you are creating it as the course is happening or there is a certification attached and students have to complete Step A and get approval before moving onto Step B. For the vast majority of digital courses, there is no reason to drip the content. Remember you are only responsible for how YOU feel, how YOU think, what YOU do. When you drip content, you are telling someone that you know better than they do how they learn.

I’ve been creating courses for over 15 years in the digital space. There are times when I legally have to drip parts of the content, but for everything else I let my students have full access to work as fits their needs and schedules. You know what? They work through the material in a way that is right for them. I have some that follow my suggested pacing and spacing and others who breeze through content quickly. In each case, I’m trusting that my students know what is best for their needs and life.

Personally, I’ve only ever made it through digital courses that I can binge complete. As a homeschooling mom, college professor, and business owner I have to budget my time carefully. This means that if I have a course to get through and implement, I need to be able to find a chunk of time to work undisturbed. The courses that get dripped are the ones that sit unfinished.

So the next time you are thinking about whether to drip a course or let your students choose the schedule that works best for them, keep in mind that you are competing against a Netflix series that just had an entire new season of 15 episodes drop. Let your course be what is binged.

Action Item

As we’ve been talking about in today’s episode, and remember we still have our Sixty-Second Solution coming up where I’m going to share my number one resource all course creators should be including in their course for maximum completion potential, course completing is critical to the success of your students and your business.

If your students do not complete the course, nothing changes in their life, your business doesn’t have raving fans who tell everyone about the fantastic experience they had in your course, and your marketing just got a little harder. On the other hand, if you have students who are finishing your course and implementing what they learned, their life just got better and your business takes a leap forward.

It is a win-win for our students to finish the digital course they purchased.

This week, I want you to take a look at your own digital course or your plans for your course and explore how you can incorporate each of these three ideas into your plan. If you feel like you are getting stuck, look to courses that you have enjoyed and finished. What made those courses binge-worthy? What kept you magnetized to the content? Conversely, if you’ve purchased courses that are gathering dust in your file cabinet, ask yourself why?

By looking at both sides of the coin, you can begin to enhance your own course plans and implementation. Don’t let this be an action item that you just think about doing. Pull out your pen and paper and write down your ideas, what you uncover in your reflection and digging into those courses you’ve finished and the ones that you can’t even remember how to login to.

I promise if you give this thought now, you will be better able to implement the concepts into your own course and begin to see your students thrive.

Closing

As you are working on incorporating these ideas into your existing course or course plans, you might find that you have additional questions. This is where getting 1:1 help with the digital course creation process can not only save you time, but boost the efficacy of your course.

Be sure to join my waitlist for 1:1 coaching today so that when you are ready for extra support and guidance in your course creation process and messaging for your business, you’ll have a spot.

Head over to digitalcoursecreatorguide.com/waitlist.

Sixty Second Solution

As we wrap up today’s episode let’s dig into our Sixty-Second Solution for the week. The number one resource all course creators should be including in their course to maximize course completion rates is simple and fast to implement. Make your course accessible by including captions and transcripts for all of your audio content. Nearly 20% of the global population lives with hearing loss. That is 1 in 5 people who will benefit from the inclusion of captions and transcripts. Additionally, you are reaching visual learners with those resources. There are so many options for creating captions and transcripts. Every digital course creator can provide these with minimal effort and cost. When you provide accessible resources, you will boost your course completion rate, your students will be more successful, and you’ll likely reduce your refund request rate. Make your course accessible today.

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