eLearning Strategies

How to Motivate & Engage Learners to Complete Your Online Course

Michael Apostolakis LearnWorlds
15 min
How to Motivate & Engage Learners to Complete Your Online Course

Have you ever poured your heart and soul into creating an amazing online course, only to find a significant portion of your students never reaching the finish line? The truth is, low online course completion rates are a major pain point for online educators.

Studies show that completion rates for online courses typically hover around 5-15%, with some platforms reporting even lower figures as a result of the ever-shrinking attention span. This means a large chunk of your potential impact and income may be left unrealized.

💡So, why should you care about course completion rates? It boils down to a simple equation: more completions = more satisfied learners = less course dropouts = increased revenue and impact.

Research reveals that engaged learners are more likely to recommend your course, subscribe to future offerings, and leave positive reviews, solidifying your reputation and attracting new students.

Moreover, with higher completion rates, you maximize the return on investment you’ve poured into creating your course, ensuring your efforts translate into tangible results.

There is hope, however! Platforms like LearnWorlds offer a beacon of hope with their robust marketing features specifically designed to boost learner engagement and completion rates.

These features go beyond simply delivering content and dive deep into understanding student motivation, fostering community, and creating a dynamic online learning experience.

In the following sections, we’ll explore some effective pre-course, in-course, and post-course strategies of how to engage your learners to complete your online course, and we’ll show you how LearnWorlds empowers you to turn the tide on low completion rates and unlock the full potential of your online courses.

Get ready to explore actionable strategies that will captivate your learners, keep them motivated, and guide them towards a fulfilling learning journey.

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Decoding the Secret Sauce: Understanding the Dynamics of Learner Motivation

Here’s the million-dollar question: what makes some learners devour entire courses while others lose steam halfway through? The answer lies in understanding learner motivation, the driving force behind their engagement and commitment.

Broadly speaking, motivation falls into two camps: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Catering to both sides of the motivational coin is key to boosting course completion rates.

How To Build An Engaging Learning Environment For Your Learners

The most effective learning environments often tap into both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Ideally, extrinsic rewards can act as springboards, igniting initial interest and providing feedback, while intrinsic factors like curiosity and purpose propel learners on a sustained journey.

As you can realize, building an engaging learning environment for your learners is a challenge on its own. As an online course creator, you need a course platform like LearnWorlds, one of the top leading online learning management system (LMS), that is flexible enough to enable you to build your elearning courses exactly the way you envision them, but also feature-rich enough to empower you to tap into both intrinsic and extrinsic drivers as mentioned above.

Tap into intrinsic motivators

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💁Interested in learning how to build your own personalized learning paths for your learners step-by-step? Our LearnWorlds Instructional Design Experts have the perfect free online course for you: “Create Personalized Training Micro-Flows

💁Discover 17 elearning scenarios to turbocharge personalization for your learners across all levels with our free ebook “Personalization Redefined: 17 E-learning Scenarios to Drive Your Learners Success.

Get equipped with the tools, framework, and invaluable insights to seamlessly provide automated mass personalization to the few, hundreds, or even thousands of learners in your academy.

Tap into extrinsic motivators

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Sara Cortellazzi, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LearnWorlds, brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. She shares several insightful ideas on how to tap into extrinsic motivators, drawn from her extensive experience in the field:

“A great way to maintain engagement is by implementing a course format that includes collecting questions from students. These can be addressed in weekly Q&A sessions, which is particularly effective in drip-feed or cohort-based courses.

Speaking of cohort courses, combining these with group projects facilitated through an online community platform can significantly boost motivation. I personally experienced a course structured this way, and it was incredibly effective.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the course pricing. Interestingly, courses with a higher price tag often see higher completion rates. This could be due to the perceived value or investment made by the learners, motivating them to fully engage and complete the course.”

Keep in mind that motivation is a spectrum, not a binary choice. By strategically combining features that address both intrinsic and extrinsic drivers, LearnWorlds helps you build a motivational ecosystem that keeps your learners engaged and on the path to successful completion.

Pre-Course Strategies 🚀 Laying the Groundwork for Completion

Before your learners even embark on their learning journey, setting the stage for success is crucial. Here’s how LearnWorlds’ pre-course strategies can help you attract the right audience, manage expectations, and ignite their enthusiasm:

Targeted Marketing:

Compelling Course Previews:

Pre-Engagement Activities:

In-Course Strategies🔥Keeping the Fire Burning Bright

Once your students have crossed the enrollment threshold, it’s time to ensure they stay engaged and motivated throughout the course.

Remember, variety, interactivity, and personalization are the keys to keeping your students hooked.

By leveraging LearnWorlds’ in-course features, you can create a dynamic and engaging learning environment that fosters active participation, collaboration, and a sense of personalized progress, catering to different online learning and online training styles, ultimately leading to better student engagement, higher completion rates and satisfied learners.

Content Variety and Structure:

Interactive Elements:

Personalized Learning Paths:

💡Reviving Engagement: How an Online IT School Boosted Course Completion Rates by 30%

Here’s a noteworthy success story from one of LearnWorlds customers, an online school specializing in information technology and computer science training courses.

The online school identified a challenge: a notable number of students were infrequently logging into their courses. To address this, they implemented LearnWorlds’ integrated email notification system, supplemented with custom tags. Students who hadn’t logged in for 30 days were labeled as “inactive” and received personalized follow up email notifications encouraging their return.

The results were remarkable. Over 400 students re-engaged and completed their courses, marking a 30% increase of the conversion in completion rates among those at risk of dropping out.

But the school’s efforts extended beyond just email campaigns. They fostered a vibrant online community, with administrators regularly sharing engaging and relevant content related to their courses. This approach not only kept learners involved but also showcased the dynamic nature of their educational offerings.

Additionally, their course-related emails achieved an impressive 50% open rate, indicating high student engagement. On average, students dedicated over an hour to each course session. The school also monitored course enrollments meticulously, with one course attracting over 4000 students.

Post-Course Strategies 🧲 Fan the Flames of Continued Engagement

So, your students have crossed the finish line – congratulations! But your journey with them doesn’t end there. Post-course engagement is crucial for building loyalty, encouraging repeat business, and maximizing the impact of your course.

By implementing the post-course strategies we suggest in this blog post, you’ll not only boost learners’ satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, but also lay the foundation for stronger relationships and future business opportunities.

Afterall, it’s all about creating a continuous elearning ecosystem that fosters growth, retention and engagement, long after the course is over.

LearnWorlds provides tools to keep your learners connected, motivated, and growing even after they “graduate”:

Community Building

Incentives and Challenges

Progress Tracking and Feedback

Remember, the learning journey doesn’t stop at the course completion screen. By fostering community, incentivizing engagement, providing ongoing support, and a robust learning management system like LearnWorlds you can create a truly transformative learning experience that extends beyond the course and builds loyal, lifelong learners.

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💡Bonus Tip: Offer exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new courses to graduates who stay engaged. This incentivizes them to remain active members of your learning community and creates a powerful incentive for future enrollments.

💡Tips From Real Use Cases – How to Build Community and Engagement through Collaborative Reflection Spaces (a.k.a Affinity Spaces)

Navigating a course in isolation often leads to a decrease in motivation among learners, as they lack the essential social and community touchpoints that foster engagement and enthusiasm.

The key to combating this challenge lies in integrating various interactive modalities into the learning process. This approach not only ensures a more gradual and solid acquisition of knowledge but also plays a critical role in lowering dropout rates and enhancing the overall enjoyment of the learning journey.

Traditional educational methods, such as assessments and follow-up tasks, are familiar and effective, yet they can sometimes seem monotonous and disconnected when experienced in the solitary confines of a user interface.

To create a more dynamic and engaging learning environment, one practical solution is to establish an ‘affinity space’ within the course structure. This can be achieved by enabling learners to actively engage in reflection, discussion, and analysis after each unit, chapter, or significant segment of the lesson.

Imagine a section beneath each learning segment where learners can freely express their thoughts, ranging from a single insightful phrase to an elaborate multi-paragraph analysis. Their contributions, accompanied by their names and perhaps even profile photos, would be displayed at the end of each unit.

This not only allows for a rich tapestry of ideas and perspectives to be shared but also encourages learners to interact with one another, comparing viewpoints, and engaging in meaningful discussions on each other’s posts.

If you’re still pondering the effectiveness of this approach, consider these two short scenarios to help you visualize its potential impact:

Use case 1: Gamification in action

Let’s picture Mike, who’s nearly done with the ‘Decision Making’ chapter in his Management course. He’s dived into some captivating videos and webinars, pored over a couple of intriguing case studies, and has devoted a good few hours so far.

Once he finishes the unit, he gets a thumbs-up for completion, his points in the course’s gamification leaderboard system bump up by 2, and he’s all set to tackle 5 multiple-choice questions. This is to double-check his grasp on the material before he jumps into the next chapter.

So, what’s the takeaway from Scenario 1?

From an educational point of view:

All things considered, it seems like everything’s on track, and that wraps up Mike’s case.

Use case 2: Enhancing engagement with reflective discussions

As Mike nears the completion of the ‘Decision Making’ chapter in his Management course, he has immersed himself in a variety of engaging materials: absorbing videos and a few in-depth case studies, dedicating several hours to his learning journey.

Upon concluding the unit, Mike encounters a reflective prompt, accompanied by a text box for his response. The question asks, ‘Which decision-making strategy resonated with you the most, and why? Have you applied any of these strategies in your role as a team leader or member?’

Mike begins to articulate his thoughts, highlighting his preference for the Devil’s Advocacy Approach. He explains its practicality in ensuring comprehensive case analysis, and how incorporating diverse viewpoints and challenges from team members leads to more secure and collectively endorsed decisions.

After submitting his response, it becomes part of a communal section where all students share their insights. Here, Mike can read, upvote, and engage with his peers’ reflections, fostering a dynamic learning community.

This interaction not only enriches his understanding but also contributes to his course gamification, earning him an additional 2 points. Now, Mike is ready to test his grasp of the chapter through 5 multiple-choice questions, ensuring his readiness to advance to the next chapter.

So, what’s the takeaway from Scenario 2?

In the first scenario, the key difference was that our learner got to think about what they learned in a setting that really mattered. They didn’t just do another educational task, like self-reflection, which already helps in understanding the material and linking it to real life. They also felt like they were part of a big, global group of learners and professionals, whether they’re just starting out or already established.

This group discusses topics, shares different viewpoints, and even sees which ideas are most popular, based on the most votes.

This approach makes the learning process much richer and more varied. It combines different ways of learning and benefits from a community space where everything comes together. This not only helps students learn better and faster but also keeps them motivated to stay on track with their peers throughout the course.

Ensure Completion Success with LearnWorlds

The journey towards high course completion rates is not a solo endeavor. LearnWorlds stands beside you, equipped with a robust toolkit of marketing and engagement features designed to captivate your learners, keep them motivated, and guide them towards successful completion.

Remember the key takeaways:

By leveraging these strategies and the power of LearnWorlds, you can transform completion rates from a concern to a celebration. Imagine a vibrant learning community, satisfied students raving about your content, and the impact of your knowledge reaching its full potential.

Ready to boost completion success for your online course? Let LearnWorlds be your partner in creating engaging, impactful, and completion-worthy online courses that empower your students to achieve their learning goals. Start your journey today with a 30-day free trial!

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Michael Apostolakis LearnWorlds
Michael Apostolakis

Michael is the Office Manager at LearnWorlds, bringing a rich tapestry of professional experience spanning 15 years in education and a decade in business management. He is particularly skilled in the area of digitally mediated foreign language instruction, having distinguished himself in various capacities, including exam preparation and serving as an examiner. In addition to his educational background, Michael has honed his skills in sales and project management, demonstrating exceptional proficiency as a Sales Executive and Business Manager. Michael's natural flair for sales, combined with his formal training in teaching and management, enables him to effectively share knowledge and provide guidance through dynamic and multimodal teaching approaches.

Rosemary is LearnWorlds’ Content Marketing Manager. She has over 2 decades of experience in omnichannel marketing and content writing for the IT and SaaS industry. Her expertise lies in crafting effective content marketing strategies that attract, engage, and nurture customers, enabling LearnWorlds to reach its target audiences with precision.