How to Increase Student Engagement and Satisfaction in Your Online Course | With Paula Guilfoyle

Regardless of whether you're planning to publish a course to Udemy or any of the other popular e-learning platforms, the importance of student engagement and creating an engaging course is paramount to your success as an online instructor.

Students aren't going to leave you positive reviews if they haven't found the learning experience to be positive. Engagement is one of the key things here and reviews lead to more sales.

Many instructors look at online course creation, publishing and marketing as individual and somewhat unrelated steps. However it is important to understand that engagement must happen throughout the course.

There's two key types of engagement. There is engagement with the student or social engagement, but there is also engagement with the material. So you have to look at building engagement into the course material from the outset as you're planning and structuring your course.

You have to include activities and ways in which the student can participate with the material.

Different learning styles must also be taken into consideration and your course activities can be structured in such a way as to engage and connect with different types of students.

There are many types of activities that can be built into your course to encourage participation. For example, you can get the student to complete a research assignment or a project and submit it for review.

Once you get the students engaged in the material it's much easier to get them involved on a social level. And it's engaging them on a social level that's going to get you the good reviews.

So you have think about how you can interact with your students' right from the very beginning, when you're first starting out with the design of your online course.

Paula has also spent considerable time surveying online learners and her results on course completion are quite interesting. Paula found that many people taking online video courses have no intention of completing them. Their sole intention is to dig through and find the information they want.

As online instructors we shouldn't take it to heart when our students don't complete our courses.

The majority of online instructors while being topic experts have no training as teachers or trainer/assessors. It is important that if you are looking at creating a course that you take the time to learn about the various learning styles and how you can include activities to engage and entertain your students.

As instructors we also have to accept that some students will want to get involved with course activities and others will just skim through. There is so much information on line and students will take the information they want, in the format they want, when they want it.

It's also important to note that the Udemy platform is changing. Where initially they were a marketplace looking for students, student numbers is no longer a major factor when it comes to ranking a course. There are other forces at play now - like recent activity on the course from the instructor and the students. Engagement in the form of discussion board posts and reviews is becoming an important aspect in course rankings.

Udemy has its own free course on how to create a Udemy course. In a recent summer camp program they ran they had learners complete a series of activities and demonstrated how to use external resources such as Google Docs. It would be fair to say that Udemy is encouraging their instructors to include activities in their courses.

A couple of new concepts that Paula has introduced through her latest course is a peer review system and a pre-course survey.

It is also important to make use of the Udemy announcement feature. You can send out four announcements per month and these are a perfect vehicle to engage with and encourage new students.

Sending out a weekly newsletter welcoming new students, thanking students for their reviews and feedback and congratulating students on reaching milestones as well as sharing a little about yourself and what you've been up to during the week makes the learning experience more personalized for the student.

You should communicate with your student at every opportunity. Thank them for leaving a review, reply to them if they took the time to leave feedback. Show them that you're engaged with them and value their feedback.

To ensure a well structured, engaging course, student engagement should be encouraged at all stages of course development, even before you actually start the design of the course.

You can learn more about Paula by visiting her website at or her Udemy instructor profile at

Pick up a copy of Paula's course for only $19! Increase Engagement and Satisfaction on YOUR Udemy Course (coupon code timspodcast)

Other sites mentioned in this episode

MindMeister - Mind mapping and task management tool

If you have a question about any aspect of online course delivery, from concept to market, please feel free to send me an email at I'd love to hear from you and your question would very well feature in a future podcast.

I want to deliver relevant material so keep those emails rolling in.

If you enjoyed this episode please pop over to iTunes and leave me a rating and review. Please like, share and comment below, I really appreciate your feedback.

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