Online courses are pretty forgettable.
If you think about all the courses that you have taken online then you might be able to remember one or two of them, but likely not much of the content. There is so much information out there to compete with that without proper reinforcement online course material is simply forgotten.
So how do you compete with all of the daily noise in your learners’ lives? Is there some kind of trick to be “top of mind”? Fortunately today’s technology does make it possible for you to reinforce your course’s key objectives.
Continue content engagement after the course has been taken.
It is very rare that someone retakes an online course. A learner may return to the content for a reminder but they won’t retake it from front to back. If you have a community in place then the students might continue learning from one another there, but not all courses have (or need) a community.
Many course creators are missing out on using simple post-training reinforcement. The concept is simple: after the course is complete (and the final quiz passed), keep interacting with the learner for a couple of weeks. Sending them mini-quizzes that are only one or two questions, giving them helpful tips relating to the content, infographics, and micro-videos (one to two minutes in length).
Your goal is to capture their attention for a minute or two, pulling your course objectives back to the front of their mind.
Here is an example post-training engagement strategy.
The plan below is meant to be basic. Your goal is not to be annoying (or you will be ignored). The post-training engagement period is intentionally finite and relatively short. Here is how it could look:
+1 Day After Course Completion – Introduction
A message is sent to the learner congratulating them again on completing the course. This is where you tell them about the post-training engagement series so they come to expect the coming messages. They also learn that this will be for only a finite amount of time, increasing the chances that they pay attention and don’t opt-out. You should also make a point to explain the incentive for completing the post-training series.
+3 Days After Course Completion – Mini-Quiz
Figure out your most important takeaway of your course and send a one or two question quiz. If they get it incorrect, simply provide the answer and the link to the place in the course where it is explained in more detail.
+5 Days After Course Completion – Fun Fact
Short fun-fact relating to your content. That’s it. For example, it could be an outcome someone achieved by following the content.
+8 Days After Course Completion – Infographic or micro-video
It has now been a week since the course was completed. Send the learner an infographic that demonstrates a key point or takeaway from your course. Alternatively, send them a very short video to watch. Make a point to tell them they are half-way through the post-training series!
+10 Days After Course Completion – Mini-Quiz
Ask them one or two questions about the Infographic (or video) that you sent a couple days earlier. This is the last quiz so make it count!
+11 Days After course Completion – Quick Tip
Short and sweet. Give another useful tip related to implementing your content. Tell them that they have only one more post-training message coming, but that it’s the most important one yet!
+14 Days After Course Completion – Case Study & Thank You (or Call to Action)
Here you don’t have to keep it short. You can provide a short summary but the point is to include a real case study of someone applying the teachings of your course. It should demonstrate an outcome that your learners are trying to achieve. If desired you can also include a “call to action” (upsell or cross-promote another course for example).
Don’t overthink the configuration.
The post-training engagement plan is meant to be bare-bones basic. Don’t overthink the technology or methodology behind it. The quickest way is to use scheduled emails for all of the above. If you use LearnDash then that could be done with our Notifications add-on, or you can use Zapier to connect this process to ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, or some other email service.
If you use Zapier then you can get a little fancy by connecting the LearnDash course completion to a SMS service so that your learners receive text messages as well. I wouldn’t recommend only using texts, but instead coupling a short text message with your emails. For example, the Fun Fact message could just be in a short text rather than an email.
The entire point of this post-training interaction is to solidify the content for your learners. If you provide some sort of incentive then engagement will be high and this means you get to reinforce the key points of your course. It also makes your course experience quite memorable because hardly anyone is using this strategy, which is great for building your brand and reputation.