How to Increase E-Learning Retention Rates By 85%

How to Increase E-Learning Retention Rates By 85%

As we’ve written about several times in our newsletters and blog posts, incorporating interactive elements and techniques within an e-learning course can drastically improve the overall learning experience.

Some studies indicate that e-learning courses which provide interactivity can boost the overall knowledge retention rate to anywhere from 50% to 90%.

Compare this to the average knowledge retention rate for passive courses of anywhere from 5% to 30% and you suddenly understand how significantly interactivity can improve a learner’s experience.

And with all of the available resources, information, and tools we have to choose from, especially from within the deep pool of WordPress extensions, it doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming process to add interactivity to your online courses.

Keep in mind, however, that the level of interactivity which is appropriate for your online course depends on the nature of your content. 

An example of the varying degrees of interactivity can be found in how an instructor might structure quiz questions. Simple learning concepts may only necessitate the inclusion of basic question and answer style quizzes. However, a more complex learning concept might require watching a video and then identifying key points through answers or expanding upon the content through essays.

So what are some examples of interactivity in e-learning courses?

Multimedia content: Embedding video or audio content into your course units.

Animations: Including animated illustrations of concepts through video.

Simulations and scenario-based cases: Providing real-life examples which allow students to problem solve.

Quiz scores and feedback: Providing immediate quiz scoring and explanations of correct answers.

Links to external content or resources: Creating a library of additional material to explore concepts outside of your course.

Surveys: Allowing students to give feedback on their learning experience.

Graphics and images: Including graphical content in course units to provide more depth to your content.

Achievements and awards: Awarding students for reaching certain milestones within a course.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it gives an idea of some simple ways to begin incorporating an appropriate degree of interactivity into your online course.

Fortunately, if you’re using WP Courseware to deliver your e-learning content, any of these elements can be achieved relatively easily.

WP Courseware course units were designed as simply a custom post type within WordPress, so any content which can be added to posts or pages can be published within a course unit. We’ve also recently released a free add-on which allows for adding achievements and badges for your students.

Now it’s your turn! What strategies are you using to include interactivity in your courses? Let us know in the comments section of this blog post!


  1. Rene on October 16, 2013 at 6:02 am

    This is what I do. At the beginning of an online training course participants can download a workbook. The workbook contains assignments. At the end of the course they upload their workbook. This is the basis upon which a workshop or an offline training course is based. So participants study theory online and practise skills offline.

  2. Jenny on October 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Wow to increase retention that much means a lot, it should be so useful.

  3. Paul Kuiper on January 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I have been using Moodle to house all my courses and it is very cumbersome. I use WP Feedback, Survey & Quiz Manager – Pro for all my interactive Bible University courses. Now with WP Courseware I can keep everything right in my WordPress site and easily control everything “100%” inhouse and best of all it is so simple a child can use it.

  4. Bayo Akinola-Odusola on January 30, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve got to say that I’ve been a long time user of LMS and WP Courseware has taken away a lot of the unnecessarily complex steps for creating a robust program and products.

    It’s a sign of the times as much as the genius of Ben and Nate, and even though I paid for this product, I still thank them for creating this resource.

    In 2014 we aim to create and produce at least 12 separate programs across a number of niches we’re involved in, and this certainly will make it possible.

    Thanks guys!


    • Ben on February 14, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Thank you for your kind words Bayo 🙂

  5. Jason on July 31, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I am new to WP Courseware. I am currently converting my old website ( to a new version that incorporates your plugin. I am loving everything so far. My current site was all custom coded, and it’s a nightmare to update, add, and reorder course material. Your system has made that a breeze. It’s also given me great insight toward the gaps in some of my courses and what to develop next. One feature I would like to see added in the future is a widget that allows the student to mark units as ‘favorites’ and have those favorites displayed on the right sidebar under the ‘WPCW Course Progress’ widget. Is that something you guys might have in store?

    • Ben Arellano on August 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Hi Jason,
      I love this idea. I am going to add this to our feature request list. I think the idea of bookmarking units is really cool so that students can easily reference them.

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