Want to know how to make sure your course is engaging? Well, you may be surprised to find out that it’s not as hard as you think.
Creating a course takes a pretty big investment of your time, energy and possibly even money.
The last thing you want to do is to create something that doesn’t make back some sort of return on that investment.
If you’re going to do it, you want to make sure you create a successful course.
And for a course to be successful in today’s world of on-demand, personalised content, your course experience has to be as interesting, exciting and engaging for your learners as possible.
Because engaged learners = increased chance that they’ll achieve the objective of the course.
And learners who achieve the objective of the course = happy customers.
And happy customers = positive testimonials and reviews
So, all in all, everyone benefits from an engaging course.
Your learners get to learn something worthwhile. And you get to reap the rewards for your effort.
So, what does an engaging course look like?
Let’s start with what ISN’T an engaging course.
And, I’m sorry to break it to you but an hour-long lecture-style video isn’t an engaging course.
Nor is cutting and pasting content from ChatGPT into a course platform.
Or a single 30-page Google Doc.
Neither of these provide an engaging course experience.
So, what does?
Well, there are three main foundations to an engaging course.
Connection, Gamification and Varied Content.
There are lots of ways you can build a connection with an online course and one of the most powerful ways is with storytelling.
Who doesn’t love a good story? Storytelling is part of our DNA and including them in your course content guarantees engagement.
You could describe a transformation and tap into your learner’s emotions. Telling a story that evokes strong emotions guarantees that your learners will remember the lesson and learn from it.
If you have 8 minutes, I highly recommend you watch this TEDx by, Aaron Barth. It’s a powerful example of how storytelling can enhance learning.
So now we’ve built a connection with our audience through storytelling – we need to keep them engaged. And a great way to do this is with gamification.
Games have probably been around for as long as humans have and I’m sure we can all agree that games are fun. But games serve a much larger purpose than just entertaining us. They’re also very effective teaching tools.
Now let’s get clear on exactly what gamification is, because it’s not making your course into a game.
Gamification is basically the addition of elements that add interactivity, engagement and immersion to your course. Elements that make the learning experience both more enjoyable and more effective.
Here are some super easy gamification elements you can add to your course:
Creative tasks – When you’re deep in a creative task, you enter a state of hyper-focus called flow, something that dopamine helps you achieve. So, how can you add creative tasks or activities to your course? Think mind maps, vision boards, creative writing assignments etc.
Checklists – Who doesn’t like checking things off a to-do list? Dopamine is released after you finish a task, irrespective of whether it’s a big or a small task. So, you can gift your learners little dopamine hits by creating smaller, more achievable tasks. Then add some checklists for people to check off as they complete these tasks.
Social sharing – If achieving something gives us a dopamine hit, then sharing your success with others is even more powerful. Add a social sharing element to your online courses for learners to share their successes with other learners or their friends.
Then, the third foundation for an engaging course is varied content.
I’ve spoken before about the myth of different learning styles and how we ALL learn best when viewing the same information in different ways.
So, if you watch a video lesson, then read a pdf or listen to an audio file and lastly complete a quiz on the topic, you’ll have a much better chance of remembering the information than if you JUST watched the video.
The online course world is littered with rubbish courses.
We need to do better.
So, why not get creative with your course and provide the very best learning experience you can.
Your learners will thank you.