How To Get Your Students To The Finish Line

How to get your students to finish their online course

Have you ever wondered how to ensure your students achieve the promise or goal you've set for your course? 

Let's talk about five simple tips to ensure that your students are active learners. 

Before we start though, let's discuss active learning. Active learning is the number one way to make sure that your learner learns, especially in adult learning. Active learning is very important. It is how adults learn. So these five tips are going to teach you all about how you can incorporate active learning into your course that will therefore lead to your students being engaged and involved and getting those promises that you've promised.

#1 Short Snippets

So let's talk about number one. Number one is to teach your topic in short snippets. Now, it's okay if in a lesson or a module you have five or six lessons. That's okay as long as you keep them short. I don't know about you, but I have snippets of time here and there that I can hurry up and grab my phone while I'm doing the dishes or when I'm in my car driving to pick up the kids from school. I can put on a short video and I can watch it and listen to it and learn from it. Right? So we want it in short snippets. We're all busy and we've all got a million and one things to do on our list. So being able to sit down and capture something like a gold nugget in a short amount of time is perfect for adult learning. Think about that when you're writing your course, how can you put content in that's short snippets of time? 

Now, I would say short snippets are definitely not over 20 minutes. So try to keep your lessons to 20 minutes or less. And like I said, it's okay if you have three or four-minute videos. I would actually prefer that over some big, long, drawn-out, hour-long thing because an hour takes me a few days to get through. But if I can do five minutes here and there, one video…fantastic! 

#2 Challenge Them

Adult learners need to be challenged. Now, I don't know about you. If you've ever sat in a class that was way too simple. Or if you've read a book that was way too simple. For example, I have a two-year-old daughter and her favorite book right now is “No David”. I love “No David”, but let's be honest, it gets really boring really quickly because it's not challenging at all to me. Right.? 

So the same thing goes with when we're learning. If it's not challenging, we check out.

How can you challenge your students? 

Can you challenge their thinking? 

Can you give them a challenge? 

Like, let's say you're doing a course on parenting, and in this lesson, it's all about kids' behavior and how you can change their behavior. Well, give them a challenge. For example, you ask your child to do the dishes. Five minutes later, they're still playing their Game Boy.

 What are you going to do now? 

Give them a challenge. 

Today, when you ask your son to do the dishes and he doesn't do it, I want you to see what your reaction is and how you can implement what we just talked about today. 

Simple as that. Just giving them one little assignment or task that isn't what they would normally do, that is slightly above their ability of what they can do. 

Here’s another example, say you're writing a decluttering course or a cleaning course. Obviously your students are taking your course because they have issues with this. Right? Or they want to learn to be better at it. So, if you’re writing a course on routine cleaning, keeping up in the house, how can you challenge your learner to stay on task. Every day you have this task that's going to be a challenge for most of your learners because that's why they're in your course. 

Giving them just simple challenges like that will create an active learning environment which will therefore stimulate your learner's brain, and it will help them get the results that you're promising. 

#3 Create Engagement

How can they be engaged in your course? A lot of courses that I find have Facebook groups which can be really helpful to create that engagement. But another challenge is as the course creator, how can you create that engagement in the Facebook group? You need to be in there starting conversations. A really good way to do this is when you're writing your modules, give them a call to action at the end of your lesson and say something such as:

“At the end of this lesson, I want you to answer this certain question, and then I want you to jump on over into our Facebook group and write down and tell us how you feel about this.”

That way there's engagement that's starting in the Facebook group and people can have conversations. This is a lot of times where people get the most out of your course; through this community engagement. Create that in your course by giving them a call to action. Now we as humans usually have to be told what to do. Sadly, yes. Even as adults, we have to be told what to do. So tell your students exactly what you want them to do. Jump into our Facebook group, answer this question, and you can even tell them things like 

“This week, I want you to answer this question, and then I want you to comment on two other students' answers to this.” 

Not only are you creating engagement with your course, but you're starting to build a community and helping your students feel part of your community and feel that kind of like a family bond in your course group. This is awesome because it’s a great way to feel supported. 

Another bonus is that they're going to walk away from your course a raving fan because they got so much out of not only the course but the community as well. 

#4 Repetition

Our brains need to hear things numerous times for them to settle in and to understand them. You want to repeat and repeat. There are things that you can do with your videos to help with repetition without you just saying it. For example, you can easily add important words or phrases that you want your students to learn to your video. It’ll take a little editing, but it’s worth it. This way you say it and the words come up on the screen. You can have them do a fill-in-the-blank worksheet of the important things that you're repeating as well. That right there gives you three repetitions. You said it, they read it on the screen and now they're filling in the blank. 

You can also repeat it again if it's something you're modeling. In the example I used in the blog post on creating a course on making cookies, I can be modeling how I make the cookies in my videos. Now your students are hearing it, seeing it, reading it on the screen and they're writing it. That's four repetitions of the content. This is a way to make sure that your students are learning it, seeing it, hearing it over and over and over again. 

Another example would be if I were going to teach you CPR, I would only teach you three steps Number one, chest compression. Two, breathe. Three, continue CPR. Okay. 

I didn't go into a lot of detail, but those are the three steps that I want you to know- compressions, breathe, continue. 

Now I would go into the details. When you're giving compressions, they need to be hard and fast. Place your hands on top of each other, et cetera, et cetera. I'd give you all the details. But I would keep repeating those three basic steps. 

If you can give keywords that you can repeat, that is also really helpful for your students.

#5 Learning Activities

Your learning activity should reinforce what is being taught in the lesson. If you go back to this post, I talk about your one big learning goal or your foundation. 

Your learning activity needs to attach to the learning goal that you have for the lesson. It's reinforcing that one main thing that you want your students to walk away with. This is the way that you can ensure that your students will get those results that you're promising.

Why is it important to have active learning? Can't you just write a course and do videos? You can, but your students aren't going to get out of it what you're hoping for them. I know that you want the best for your students and you truly do want them to get the results that you're promising. You've created this course to help people. This is the way that you can ensure they will get out of it what you're telling them they're going to. 

This is how adults learn. 

They'll understand what's being taught and they're going to remember it better. If you create this active learning environment by creating short learning snippets with active learning, your students are more likely to not only finish your course but to finish it with the results you've promised. 

So, go through your course and look for: Where can you add active learning? Where could you say, hey, jump into our Facebook group and engage here or repeat, repeat, repeat something? How can you add engagement to your course? How can you get your students to do something? What activity can you give them to follow up on their lesson that they just did? 

To recap what we've learned is you want to create an active learning environment in your course. 

How do we do that? 

Five simple things:

  1. Short snippets of learning followed by an active way to use what they've learned. 
  2. Create a challenge. Your students need to be challenged. 
  3. Create engagement.
  4. Repetition, repetition, repetition. 
  5. Follow up your lesson with a learning activity that again, reinforces the lesson that was taught. 



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