5 Ways To Increase Completion Rates Of Your Online Course

How To Increase Completion Rates Of An Online Course

Studies show that the average completion rate of a MOOC is less than 10%. For private courses, that number may go up a bit, but it’s still incredibly low.

Even if your online course completion rate is 20%, it means that out of every 5 people who take your course, 4 of them don’t get full value from it!

It’s in your best interests, as well as your students’, to ensure that they complete your online course. In this article, we’ll look at 5 ways to increase completion rates.

1. Keep It Short And Sweet

In a world full of distractions, with notifications and tweets, it’s easy for your students to wander away while watching your course videos. While there are various factors that go into making an engaging video, length is a major one.

Ideally, you want to keep your videos between 2-7 minutes long. The purpose of each video should be to deliver just one concept. If you have videos that are longer, break them up.

For example, let’s say you’re teaching a course on nutrition and you have a 15-minute video on the caloric value of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. You can break that up into 3 5-minute videos that focus on one of those food groups.

Pro tip: Switch it up and try using powerpoints, PDFs, live video, and audio content types instead of just video to keep it more engaging.

2. Use Quizzes And Surveys

It’s always a good idea to throw in a quiz every 2-3 lessons, even if they’re really simple. The quiz allows learners to take a break from learning and apply what they’ve learned. Additionally, getting them right encourages learners to keep moving forward.

Surveys are a great way to collect student feedback. It allows them to add their thoughts to the course and gets them more involved. Not only does this increase completion rates, but it also helps you identify areas where you can improve your course, so that future students get more value.

3. Offer Certifications

If you don’t offer certifications for your online course, you’re missing out on a really powerful tool. Aside from acting as an incentive to complete a course, certifications have additional benefits.

For one, students who receive their certificate will often share it online to let everyone know of their achievement. This acts as free marketing for your course.

Additionally, if you’re using online courses to generate revenue, a certificate lets you increase your price because it provides additional value to students.

For example, Hootsuite offers social media certifications that help learners demonstrate their social media expertise to peers and employers. This radically increases their course completion rates.

4. Spark Student Discussions

A major disadvantage that eLearning has, compared to classroom learning, is the lack of student interaction. When people learn together, they motivate each other and learn faster.

To solve this, you can add a discussion component to your online course, where students can start conversations with each other. As an instructor, you can jump in to contribute, or you can start your own discussions to get the ball rolling.

To take this a step further, you may even want to foster a sense of community and create something like a Facebook Group where students can share ideas, even after they’ve completed your course.

5. Send Reminder Emails

It’s highly unlikely that learners are going to finish your course as soon as they enroll in it. Most of the time, they’ll watch the first couple of modules before life gets in the way and they move on to other tasks.

This is where many online course creators miss a trick. If you don’t remind learners to come back and resume the course, they’ll very likely forget about it!

If you have reports on completion rates in your courses, you can see who started but never came back to finish the course. Send out emails to them to bring them back. A better solution is to set up an automated email that goes out every week politely reminding them to complete your course.

Try Them All!

By themselves, each tactic will help you increase your completion rates but, when you use all 5 in your course, you’ll see your completion rates skyrocket! On the Thinkific LMS, we consistently see completion rates of over 80% when course creators use these strategies.

Try them out and let us know how they work for you in the comments below.

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