Designing Engaging Courses

Create Engaging Courses with WP Courseware: 8 Pro Tips

One question we often get is how do you create engaging courses? Engaging courses are crucial for capturing learners’ attention, maximizing their retention, and driving successful outcomes. With the help of WP Courseware, a powerful learning management system (LMS), you have the tools and features at your disposal to create courses that not only educate but also inspire and motivate your learners. In this article, we’ll explore ten tips to help you design courses that keep your students engaged from start to finish. Let’s dive in!

1. Set Clear Learning Objectives:

Before designing your course, clearly define your learning objectives. What do you want your learners to accomplish? By setting specific and measurable goals, you not only focus your course content but also help learners understand the purpose and outcomes of their learning journey.

Maybe you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals help you create clear objectives that are not only attainable but also motivating.

Here’s what each letter of the acronym means:

S – Specific:
Your goal should be specific and clearly defined. Rather than setting a general goal like “learn to play the guitar,” make it more specific like “learn 3 new scales” or “learn 2 new songs.” The more specific the goal, the easier it is to track progress and measure success.

M – Measurable:
Your goal should be measurable so that you can track your progress. This means defining what success looks like and setting measurable targets along the way. For example, if your goal is to “learn 2 new songs,” you could set a target to learn 1 song per week or every other week.

A – Achievable:
Your goal should be challenging but also achievable. It’s important to set goals that stretch you but are not impossible to attain. Consider your current resources, skills, and support system and set goals that are a realistic stretch.

R – Relevant:
Your goal should be relevant to your overall objectives and purpose. It should align with your values and fit into the bigger picture of your course. Setting goals that are relevant helps you stay motivated and focused on what matters most.

T – Time-bound:
Your goal should be time-bound, meaning it has a clear start and end date. Having a specific timeline helps keep you accountable and motivated. Set a deadline and then break down your goal into smaller, achievable milestones along the way.

By setting SMART goals, you can help you create engaging courses which can lead to student success.

2. Break Content into Digestible Modules:

According to an article on adult attention span, adults have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. That’s a pretty short attention span! We have been bombarded by online media, specifically short form media that has conditioned us to consume content at a faster pace causing us to change our learning behavior. In order to combat this behavior, educators have found that microlearning can be a powerful method to deliver course content so that your students will consume and retain the learning objectives.

What is microlearning? It’s all about delivering bite-sized, concise learning content to optimize engagement and knowledge retention. By condensing large amounts of information into easily digestible training, learners stay more engaged and absorb key concepts better. Here are a few tips to help you.

Short: Each learning segment should be concise and straight to the point, lasting between 5 and 15 minutes.

Simple: Keeping each session simple and easy to digest reduces fatigue and improves engagement.

Of Singular Focus: It’s also essential to remember that microlearning is designed for singular, focused learning objectives rather than broad subject matter.

Video Elements are a Plus: While it’s important to maintain your learners’ attention, incorporating video elements can help reinforce content in a fun, engaging way. Video is a popular medium among modern learners due to apps like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Test Comprehension: Finally, including interactive assessments helps you gauge the effectiveness of your content and whether or not your audience is comprehending the material.

How does this apply to your course? If you want to create engaging courses, you must ensure your course is easy to consume by breaking it into smaller, manageable modules and units. Each unit should tackle a specific topic or concept, making it easier for learners to absorb the information and stay engaged throughout the course. Sprinkle in some quizzes and you have a formula for student success. WP Courseware allows you to organize these modules, units and quizzes effortlessly, improving the overall learning experience. Keep in mind, if you are using video type content, try to keep videos between 5 and 15 minutes. If a video will be longer than 15 minutes consider making it a two-part video. We have found that 8-10 minutes is the sweet spot.

3. Create Engaging Courses with a Variety of Multimedia:

In order to create engaging courses you may consider engaging learners with a mix of multimedia elements such as:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Audio clips
  • Interactive quizzes

A diverse range of media keeps the course content dynamic and addresses different learning preferences. WP Courseware’s makes it easy to incorporate these various multimedia elements into your courses. Video is among the most popular content type and we have also written about creating video content for your online course in another post.

You may want to consider delivering your course using multiple delivery methods known as blended learning. Imaging creating a video course that incorporates onscreen examples and demonstrations. Taking those same videos and converting them into an audio format would create flexibility for your learners that can perhaps listen to the audio while commuting or running on a treadmill at the gym. Obviously it’s impossible to see the demonstrations using the audio, however, students can then revert to the video when convenient or any other resources that you may have available in your course.

Incorporating downloadable study guides, or visual aides like infographics can help students to retain and reinforce their learning as they journey through your course. These types of media can complement the audio/video elements of your course and will certainly put your students on a path to success!

4. Create Engaging Courses with Active Learning:

Promote active learning by incorporating opportunities for learners to participate and engage with the course material. Include interactive activities, discussions, and assignments that require learners to apply their knowledge. Forums are great because they foster a sense of community among learners and the forum can, in some sense, act as a knowledge base since each forum thread is retained and archived for the life of the forum. Perhaps having a Slack channel would be another way to engage your learners in a real time fashion and allow your learners to interact with one another. Facebook groups could be another method to hosting a group of learners, however, it could become a distraction as it only takes one or two taps before your learners are mindlessly sifting through reels.

Perhaps having a weekly coaching call or Q & A would also help to create community and open learning. Hosting a call on Zoom or even YouTube Live with chat could be a way to engage your students in order to foster a positive learning environment.

5. Ensure Course Navigation is Intuitive:

To create engaging courses, you must use a user-friendly course design. Make sure the course navigation is intuitive and easy to navigate. WP Courseware provides options like course outlines, and an account page, allowing you to create a logical and seamless learning journey for your students.

WP Courseware has seamless onboarding or enrollment as well. When offering a free course, the learner simply needs to click the enroll button, enter a few personal details and upon registering, they are automatically enrolled and logged in to the account page where they can easily navigate to the course and begin consuming course content. For a paid course, the process is very similar. After payment for the course is processed they are automatically logged in and ready to begin taking the course.

6. Regular Assessments:

Did you know that taking quizzes can actually enhance your memory and improve your ability to recall information? It’s true! When you actively retrieve knowledge from your memory during a quiz, you’re giving your brain a workout and reinforcing those neural connections. As a result, the information becomes stronger and easier to access in the future. This is especially beneficial for students who regularly engage in quizzes because they tend to retain more knowledge about the subjects they’re studying. So, if you’re looking to boost your retention and solidify your understanding, incorporating quizzes into your learning routine is a smart move. Here are a few benefits to online quizzing:

Memory Retrieval: It turns out that the act of retrieving information from memory during quizzes can greatly enhance your ability to retain that information. In fact, research suggests that retrieval practice through quizzes leads to even higher levels of retention compared to restudying or rereading course material.

Identify Gaps: Quizzes offer a valuable opportunity for students to identify any gaps in their knowledge and focus their study efforts on difficult areas. By pinpointing areas of weakness, students can allocate their time and energy more effectively, ensuring they grasp the content thoroughly.

Better Study Habits: Interestingly, frequent quizzing has been found to have an indirect effect on students’ study habits. When students are quizzed regularly, they tend to study more frequently and with greater consistency. This increased engagement with the material can significantly improve their learning outcomes.

Self Evaluation: Beyond just improving retention and study habits, quizzes also promote better metacognitive monitoring for both students and teachers. By providing feedback on how well learning is progressing, quizzes enable students to monitor their own understanding and identify areas that may require further attention. Quizzes become a beneficial self-learning check, empowering students to take ownership of their learning journey.

Memory Building: Moreover, each time a student retrieves knowledge from memory through quizzes, their memory of that information solidifies, becoming more stable and accessible. This means that every quiz session contributes to strengthening their memory and making the information easier to recall in the future.

By incorporating quizzes into your learning experience with WP Courseware, you can take advantage of these benefits, improving your retention, study habits, and metacognitive skills. Quizzing becomes a powerful tool in your learning arsenal, helping you achieve better outcomes and deeper understanding.

7. Offer Timely Feedback:

Feedback is essential for learner growth and motivation. Provide timely and constructive feedback to help learners gauge their performance and make improvements. WP Courseware’s grading feedback features make it easy to provide individualized feedback efficiently, fostering a supportive and engaging learning environment. You can also email the classroom or individual student’s right from the classroom page making it easy for you to create engaging courses that communicate and provide feedback to your students.

8. Continuous Improvement and Iteration:

Course design is an ongoing process. Regularly evaluate and analyze course metrics, learner feedback, and outcomes to identify areas for improvement. WP Courseware’s gives your insights into learner progress, course completion, and overall satisfaction, allowing you to refine and enhance your courses over time. You can directly add a survey into your course to solicit feedback from your students allowing you to consider any potential changes to course content that might be necessary.

Creating engaging courses is a combination of planning, creativity, and a deep understanding of learner needs. WP Courseware equips you with the features and flexibility to deliver dynamic and captivating learning experiences. By following these eight tips, you can create courses that not only educate but also inspire and empower your learners. Embrace the power of WP Courseware and unlock the potential of your online courses today. Happy course designing!

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