‘Ninja’ Trick for Improving Your Online Course Completion Rates

One of the biggest issues with online courses is that completion rates are terrible.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have some of the worst completion rates around, but the problem permeates online courses of any size and topic.

If you are selling an online course then getting your customers to complete the content is in your best interest. Assuming the content is good, having students complete it means that they will be more likely to tell others, resulting in more sales for you from word of mouth.

Also, a lot of course merchants cross-sell and up-sell at the end of a course. If customers aren’t getting to the end then they are never going to be presented with these offerings and you won’t make as many sales.

Achieving a higher precentage of completions is not going to be a “one and done” process. You will need to experiment with different strategies. However, as a starting place consider this one (very simple) strategy: break-up your one course into two or three courses.

The concept is pretty basic but I have seen this approach work to improve completion.

When you split-up one long course into two courses it has an impact on how your learners perceive the course content. It suddenly looks more manageable from a time perspective and there is a logical “break” between the courses that people will work towards. It is a clear half-way point.

If you are selling courses this gives you time to cross-sell in the middle of the entire course rather than just at the end. So even if learners just get through “Part A” of the course you increase the number of people who see your message.

Again, this is just one small thing you can do to help improve the completion rate of your courses. You should explore other strategies like proactive communication, gamification, community building, and more.

Looking for more ‘ninja tricks’? Here are six others!


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

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