Online education is booming, whether the method is formal or informal. People like and want to take online courses. As a result, many schools, businesses, and individuals offer these learning opportunities. This type of courses gives students options they may not otherwise have but it also means there is more competition among course providers. The best courses enable students to engage with the course materials, from any device and at any time. Here are a few tips to encourage on-the-go course engagement.
Video and Audio Course Content
Studies show that approximately 70% of people are visual learners. Because of this high percentage, videos are essential to the success of your course. Consider using videos in your course material to explain complex ideas or provide visual examples. Include short, succinct, “snackable” videos that can be easily and quickly consumed, depending on their purpose.
Make it easy for short videos to be downloaded by the students, upon access, and stored for viewing later. This allows them to consume the information when in a waiting room, standing in line, or commuting on public transportation. You may want to offer a streaming option as well for those who have the ability to stream on the go but not enough storage space to download the videos.
While short videos are popular, this doesn’t mean that all of your audio-visual course content should be short. It does mean that you need to provide several options, based on your student’s needs. Some students may prefer short, 15-minute videos, while others want videos that are one-half hour to two-hours long. The same holds true for audio files.
Digital download audio files are an excellent element to include in your course. Anyone with an iPod, cell phone, tablet or other related devices, can listen to the content. Files can be short and to the point for students who need “smaller bites.” For students who prefer to listen during a long trip, consider offering the entire course on an audio CD or a full-length digital download “album.” Incorporating a variety of need-based content lengths enables you to offer items that appeal to a wider range of your target market.
Written Course Content – eBooks, Guides, and More
Most courses include some type of written content. Whether you call it a guide, report, manual, or something else, it comes down to reading material. To make your course’s reading material more valuable and user/device friendly, you need to know what your target market prefers. However, it is quite easy to create a variety of formats, once you have the basic information written in text.
To help your “on the go” students access and engage with your written course material, create the content in standard formats. Begin by creating a PDF format. This format can be read on many devices; but most importantly, it prints out nicely so students can have a “hard copy” to make notes on, if they choose. Other formats include EPUB, MOBI, AZW, and others. If time is a major factor for you when it comes to creating ebooks for your course, make sure you include EPUB, since most devices support this format.
Responsive Design and Accessibility
Responsive design is very important to students who are on the go. Choose software, programs, and websites that respond to the devices and screen sizes that your students use. This applies to your website, any linked sites, and areas where download material is stored.
If you use WordPress to sell your course or as a member site for students, consider storing and serving your multimedia content via the Amazon S3 service, which has free and paid levels. You may also want to use a plugin like S3 Media Maestro to make sure your content isn’t being shared with anyone who has not paid.
Course materials should be accessible and viewable on everything from small-screen cell phones to large-screen home computers and entertainment centers. Adapt your course elements to be consumed in a variety of ways and on multiple devices. By doing this, the perceived value of your course skyrockets for your students or customers.
Another way to create engagement with your students is to use push notifications. Push notifications are similar to text messages in that they are delivered to your student’s mobile device but they can also be sent to a desktop so all of your students can see them. They are generally managed by an app and 3rd party service. Push notifications allow you drop messages to your student’s mobile devices in real-time so they can instantly take action, even when they are on the go.
There are several ways you can use them such as notifying students when new lessons are ready or when information is updated. Tell them when you’ve added new supplements to the course. They can be used for cross-promoting related products and services; send them coupons or ‘insider’ deals. Use them to keep students up-to-date on schedule changes, important alerts and so forth. They are also good for directing students to other areas of your site. For example, if you’ve written a new article or created a new video that might be of interest to them even though it isn’t part of the course, you can send them the URL for further learning.
While responsive design is important to students who are on the go, it is only one of the strategies and tips to encourage on-the-go course engagement. Implement all of the suggestions provided here to make your course a huge success with your students/customers as well as very profitable for you.