The e-learning industry has seen rapid growth in traffic over the years with the increase in a wide range of passive-income and professional skill learning needs. Then again, retaining learners to complete their online courses has proven to be a greater challenge than attracting a pool of fresh new learners.
The average retention rate for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can be as low as 15% to 20% wherein an eduprenueur might find themselves struggling to obtain a 40% retention rate in order to gain any viable returns from their course. In order to supplement long term goals, it is more sustainable to try and increase in your average learner retention rate rather than incurring more expenses in getting more students to enroll. Your usual e-learner might include under 25 college students or an individual in their mid-thirties earning an average five-figure income. Distraction and stress can lead to a lack in motivation for your e-learners, resulting in discontinuation.
As tricky as it may seem, once you have your audience settled in by promoting a more engaging approach that will help absorb information more effectively, your retention rate will sky-rocket. Here, are a few ways you can effectually increase your learner retention.
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1. Placing yourself in your e-learner’s shoes
Your learner’s perspective is the golden looking glass for you to get through to them more quickly. Consider your online course’s platform functionality for instance; does it improve intuitive learning or does it include practical navigation? Ensuring that the curriculum of your course is easy to access and navigate, is imperative. Review your online course yourself or with feedback from a friend in order to understand your e-learner’s perspective and use that experience to boost the effectiveness of your online course. Make sure that the learner is free to explore the course material as they so desire.
2. Creation of an immersive learning environment
Look back at your own experience. Have you ever taken interest in a course that was dull and filled with jargon? Your e-learner requires a more engaging approach that is not tedious or filled with long reading-modules. In order to retain their attention, your online course needs to be more thorough and to the point with its content. It should highlight the primary aspects in the simplest manner and create a step-by-step guide that carries the learner forward as and when they wish to proceed.
3. Improve learner interaction
The subject of your online course needs to be relatable to the learner, enabling them to participate more actively. Once they are able to connect with the material of your course on a personal level, they would be able to realize how the information ties up into the real world. Facilitating them to reflect on your own personal experiences will allow them to self-evaluate that information with their own life experiences. Adding relevance to the material provided helps increase memory cognition of the learner.
4. Include a wide range of visual content
The best way to retain the attention of your learner, is by making the material of your course memorable. This is where presentation and humour can be encouraged to make your curriculum less ‘cold-turkey’ and more relatable on a more humane level. You can animate your case studies and diagrams from a comedic perspective while ensuring they don’t become much distracting. Strike a balance between providing information and visual presentation by simplifying complex topics with personalized charts and infographics. Adding emotion by using multiple colour schemes with tact can help make your online course easily digestible.
5. Offer an e-learner’s library for offline reading
Making sure that your learners have ample things to do and improve during their spare time is superb way of gaining a larger retention rate. Including an online resource library can get your learners to be more biased towards your online course. They can utilize their spare time to take in bites of information while they proceed with the course. This way, the learner themselves can take command of their own learning needs as they go along. The library can also function as a support directory in case if any confusion arises in the learner’s mind.
6. Create a social-media learner interaction forum
In today’s day and age, social media forums take up a huge slice in the learning curve of an online course. They function as a collaboration tool for the learner in case they feel the need of a more personalized approach towards clearing any doubts. Group interaction and making friends as they learn is an excellent way to make a learner feel more comfortable in coming back to your course curriculum, again and again. Take a survey on your e-learners most preferred choice of platform and add essential social media links to your online course, accordingly.
7. Enable a learning map to induce gaming tactics
Design your course with its own reward system tailored to the needs of your learner base. As your students proceed further along their course and level up, they can retain rewards which help elevate their motivation. This would make their experience with your online course more enjoyable and interesting.
8. Do not leave your e-learner on an island
Establish a constant back-and-forth communication with your learners. Most course failures result from flat line communication or when the learner is only required to receive information and not contribute to their own self progress. Organising group projects or assigning partners to individual learners can incite an interesting self-sustained learning curve. These factors work as a support network for your audience to fall back upon. Including events and organising social media hang outs is an exciting way to increase learner interaction. This method has always come out on top of the traditional institutional format of learning.
9. Enable your learner to fly at their own pace
Often, a learner’s inability to keep up with the pace of the class can demotivate them from continuing the course itself. Designing an online course to proceed in accordance with the pace of each learner prevents any unhealthy competition amongst peers. An asynchronous learning pace allows your student to run their own edification from the driver’s seat. They are in charge of their own progress. This does involve a degree of social interaction via forums or social media groups.
10. Adjust changes to your course based on learner feedback
Ensuring, that you as an educator is always available to your learner’s beck-and-call is one of the key factors that determine the success of your online course. It constitutes an important part of your audiences’ learning experience. Making yourself more approachable by maintaining regulated hours of interaction assigns a positive review in the eyes of your learner. You can improve on this factor even more by paying a keen attention to your learner’s feedback and including them in your course.
Adjusting your course’s curriculum according to the needs of the weaker learner’s in a batch allows you to retain a larger number of students. Design your course to be completely learner-oriented, prioritizing their needs above all else. Focusing on their goals, requirements and preferences is what gives your online course a greater edge over others, ensuring your success in the game.
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