Automation can help you get learners the support they need before they know they need it.

One of the biggest struggles facing online instructors is that of helping their learners complete their courses. Many online learners will sign up for a course that they never finish, and this can be disheartening for the instructor who was hoping to gain a loyal new follower.

Fortunately, as an instructor, there are ways you can help—and the LearnDash Notifications Add-On is here to assist you. The Notifications Add-On is free, and can be downloaded and installed just like you installed LearnDash itself. From there, you can use it to send emails based on specific triggers, such as a learner completing a lesson or enrolling in a course.

If you have any questions about how it the add-on works, you can read through the Notifications documentation. In the meantime, here are some examples for notification triggers you can set to help support a struggling learner.

1. Send new registrants a welcome email with all the information they need to start their course.

Trigger: User enrolls into a course or group.

It happens more often than you might think: A learner enrolls in a course, but they never show up for the first lesson. What happened?

Sometimes, the learner just doesn’t know where to start. Maybe they signed up on the spur of the moment but now they don’t know what to do. A welcome email can help orient them in your course and encourage them to start participating in your group.

2. Remind learners of an upcoming exam.

Trigger: A scheduled lesson is available to user.

The last thing you want is for a learner to miss an exam because they forgot about a deadline. By setting a reminder for the exam as soon as it becomes available, you can nudge that learner to sign in and complete it.

Notifications can also be sent out on a delay, so you can schedule several reminders if necessary, each spaced a certain time period after your chosen trigger.

3. Send a learner review materials if they fail an exam.

Trigger: User fails an exam.

A user failing an exam is one of the most important times for you to step in and offer help. While students sometimes don’t complete a course because they lose interest or become to busy, they’re also most likely to drop out after a big discouragement, like failing an exam.

You can create a review package for each of your exams and set them to trigger any time a learner fails. You can also include other options for support, so they know where to turn if they need additional help.

4. Send a learner a mini quiz to re-engage them with your course.

Trigger: User hasn’t logged in for “X” days.

As we said, learners sometimes stop logging in because they lose interest or become busy. When this happens, it’s best to remind them of why they signed up in the first place.

A short mini-quiz can spark their interest again, and give them some confidence when they see how well they remember what they learned previously. Again, using the time delay function can give you some creative options for writing different re-engagement emails.

5. Remind a learner of their support options.

Trigger: User hasn’t logged in for “X” days.

If a user doesn’t log in for a week, a re-engagement email might help. But sometimes the problem runs deeper, and in that case, you may need to offer more direct support.

Make sure your learner knows what resources are available. Is there a discussion forum they could join to find help from their peers? Do you offer virtual office hours, and could they schedule an appointment? Are there review modules or practice quizzes they can take? Putting these into an email can help your learner know where to go.

6. Offer a learner a 15-minute video meeting to discuss their essay.

Trigger: An essay question has been graded.

If a learner puts a long time into working on an essay, they may want some extra time with you to discuss it once it’s complete. While personal one-on-one time with your learners is a premium offering, it’s also highly valuable, and one learners will appreciate more than many other things you could do for them. The promise of a short personal review session with you can even help you raise the cost of your course significantly, increasing your course sign-ups and making the time you put into it more than worth your while.

Course completion is essential for growing a successful e-learning business.

When learners don’t complete a course, it’s bad for business in several ways. First, the learner might be dissatisfied and ask for a refund. Second, a learner who doesn’t complete a course is unlikely to sign up for a new one. And finally, that learner is unlikely to recommend your course to others if they weren’t able to complete it themself.

But, when you do help learners finish, the opposite is true: They’re more likely to be satisfied because of the attention you paid them, they’re more likely to sign up for another course, and they’re more likely to give glowing reviews of you course to their friends.

Learner support takes time, thoughtfulness, and patience. But automation can help relieve some of those burdens while going a long way toward improving learner experience. That’s a double win in our books.


4 responses

Leave a Comment

Hi! Is there a way to set up a reminder to complete their lesson?

Avatar Cynthia Rivera

Hi Cynthia,

We don’t have a trigger for an uncompleted lesson, but we do have one for if a user hasn’t logged in for X number of days, and also one to remind learners to take a lesson a certain number of days after it’s been made available. You can read our full list of triggers here:

Avatar Laura Lynch


with regard to the “user hasn’t logged in after X days trigger”: when does this fire exactly?

I guess the user needs to be enrolled in the course specified in the notification, x days need to have passed since the last login, and the course hasn’t been finished yet.

Is that it?

Thanks for clarification.

Avatar Tobias

Hi Laura, great article.

If our cookie policy generally leaves users logged in to our LMS for large stretches of time, then I am concerned that the “Hasn’t logged in after X days” wouldn’t trigger.

Regardless, how would a mini-quiz work in this instance? Would the email contain a link to a quiz? If so how would the email be aware of which course they haven’t completed to know which mini-quiz page to link to within the email?

Or perhaps I am missing something super simple here.

Thanks again!

Avatar Wayne

Comments are closed.

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