Episode 6

5 Ways to Increase Engagement In Your Course - Without Creating More Content

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About this episode:

As a course creator, you know how it feels pouring countless hours into creating your course - all of the lesson plans, assignments, videos, workbooks, handout slides you create to give your students to best learning experience. But your students seem disengaged or uninterested in your course and ask you questions that you know you have shared! In this episode, I'll share five ways to improve engagement in your course without having to create more content.


After listening to this episode, you will know:

  • Ideas and strategies to keep your students engaged in your course
  • How to save time on content creation, while improving the quality of your course
  • How to create opportunities to empower your students on their learning journey

Stay in touch:


Please note: This transcript may be automatically generated and may contain errors. I appreciate your understanding.


Hey course creators, it's time to level up and amplify your genius. Welcome to Course Creation Station, where we talk about creatively sharing your expertise and designing the most awesome learning experiences.

I'm Gwen Tanner, Career Course Creator, and I know how it feels pouring countless hours into creating lesson plans, assignments, videos, workbooks, handout slides, only to find our students seem disengaged or uninterested in our course. So today I will share with you five ways you can get your students thrilled about your course and you can do it without getting overwhelmed with creating an endless stream of content. So stay tuned for more.

When we create a course, we know that we're giving our students all of the information they need. It's all in there. It's all in the course. But you might be feeling that they're not really using the materials or watching the lessons. It ends up with them asking questions about the subject matter. But we know the answers are definitely embedded in a workbook or a video or some other course materials that we've created. All of the content is there, but they just aren't consuming it. At least not in the way we had planned for them to. We don't wanna make more content, right?

The struggle to strike that perfect balance between keeping their attention and ensuring they grasp the subject matter can be an ongoing challenge. So I'm gonna give you some ideas and practical strategies to help keep them engaged. Instead of having your students just read or watch or listen to videos, students need to actively engage with the course material. And here's the best part. These ideas, they won't add more content creation to your long list of things that you already have to do for your course.

So first up is other people's content or OPC. Integrating OPC can add richness and depth of your course, which can improve engagement and help your students learn and retain what you're teaching them better. By curating relevant articles, videos, podcasts, maybe some case studies from sources that you trust, you can offer diverse perspectives on your topic and supplement your own expertise without recreating the wheel or spending time creating more content because it already exists.

Using OPC not only provides your students with a broader understanding of the topic, but also exposes them to different voices and ideas, which is so valuable to their learning experience. In addition, weaving in OPC can make your course more dynamic and relatable. Students may find it easier to connect with real world examples, expert opinions, especially from people they're familiar with and current trends that you share with them through carefully curated content.

Choosing a variety of content formats like articles, podcasts, social media posts and videos help keep your course interesting and provides motivation for different learning styles because we all have preferences in how we take in information. It may be a good idea to seek out OPC that you both agree and disagree with.

For example, if you're teaching online marketing, you may find articles from other people that support your strategies that help you to strengthen what you're teaching. It gives you validity for what you're teaching. But on the other hand, you might find OPC that teaches strategies that you feel are outdated or just don't work. And in that case, sharing those with an explanation about why they no longer work and why your strategies as a contrast work better.

So when using OPC, you have the opportunity to show context and reinterpret the OPC from your own unique perspective on the topic. You can curate it, summarize it, add your own flavor to it and build conversations and engagement in your course around it all without creating more content of your own.

However, when using OPC, just make sure that you properly credit all borrowed content and use it in compliance with copyright laws and fair use guidelines by responsibly integrating OPC. You can create a more engaging and comprehensive learning experience for your students.

Your next option is to create personalized learning paths. Personalized learning paths empower students to take control of their experience in your course by having it tailored to their individual needs, interests, and the pace they're going in. Instead of following a one size fits all approach, your students can choose their own learning objectives, materials, or methods based on their unique learning preferences and goals.

With personalized learning paths, your students have the flexibility to explore topics that resonate with them deeply, focus more into their unique areas of need or interest, and bypass content they may already be familiar with. This customization gives them a sense of ownership and motivation as students feel more invested in their learning process.

Furthermore, personalized learning paths cater to the diverse needs of students accommodating different learning styles, strengths, and challenges. Whether you create learning paths that include in-person sessions, self-paced modules, or individual project assignments, your students can engage with course material in a way that best suits their learning preferences.

An example of using learning paths could be having specific lessons depending on the student's existing knowledge of the subject. Maybe a student would start at module one, which could be an introduction to the topic, but your more advanced students would start at lesson three, skipping the first few modules. Or another idea could be having specific focus areas, kind of like electives in college. Let's refer back to the online marketing course from earlier. Maybe some options for students could be social media marketing, email marketing, and video marketing. Students interested in social media marketing would have a specific set of topics that are different that focus on social media strategies while those interested in email marketing would have their own set of topics and could skip those on social media or only review them at a high level so you can provide the opportunity to go deeper on the topics that are more relevant for them.

Ultimately, personal learning paths support your students' needs by letting them choose what's important to them while also increasing their engagement with the material. And remember, you can curate OPC resources to help you build learning path content for your students or simply look at the topics you have in your course and determine where in your lessons students might be able to skip or jump topics depending on their individual needs.

Next up, guest speakers and interviews. Incorporating guest speakers and interviews into your course can really breathe fresh air into the learning experience and give your students valuable insights and perspectives from experts, thought leaders, or even former students from your course. Guest speakers and interviews provide students with a bridge between theory and practice, helping them understand how concepts you teach in the course apply in real life. This firsthand knowledge not only enriches their understanding, but also inspires them to see the practical implications of what they're learning. Including guest speakers and interviews in your course adds a layer of authenticity and relevance to the course content, making it more engaging and relatable to your students.

Having those diverse voices and perspectives allows you to create a dynamic learning experience that gives your students exposure to other opinions and it helps them foster a deeper appreciation for the subject matter. And again, you're not creating additional content upfront, but if you record the speakers and the interviews and add them to your course, it will be available as a valuable and informative resource for your students.

The next option is progress tracking. Using progress tracking tools and encouraging goal setting can significantly enhance the learning experience for your students. So picture this, your students log into their course dashboard and they see a visual representation of their progress complete with milestones and achievements. It's like they have a roadmap to success as a reminder every time they log in.

By tracking their progress, students can easily monitor their progress through the course material, identify areas where they excel and pinpoint areas that may need a little extra attention. This feedback loop empowers your students to take ownership of their learning journey and make informed decisions about how they'll consume and use the materials that you provide them. In addition, setting achievable goals provides your students with a sense of direction and purpose, motivating them to stay focused and committed to learning what you're teaching them.

Whether it's completing a certain number of modules by the end of the week or achieving a specific result on an assignment, having clear goals can give your students something tangible to strive for. Overall, progress tracking and goal setting fosters a sense of accountability and drive, helping your students stay on track and ultimately succeed in the course.

Most online course platforms have some sort of progress tracking. For example, students can see which modules they've completed and how much of the course is remaining. But if your particular course platform does not offer that feature, you can create a simple tracker for your students. You can find tracker templates online. You can use tools such as Trello or Asana for tracking. Or better yet, you can just encourage your students to create their own tracker based on their specific goals. Remember, we're adding engagement without creating more content. So try to take advantage of different options for encouraging students to keep on top of their progress.

And finally, we have online collaboration tools. Using collaboration tools and virtual whiteboards can significantly enhance student engagement in your courses. These platforms create interactive spaces where your students can collaborate, brainstorm, visualize concepts in real time, along with you and your other students. Through collaboration tools such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom breakout rooms, your students can work together, participate in discussions, and share resources. And this brings a sense of community and teamwork, even in a virtual environment that keeps your students motivated and feeling that they're involved in something larger.

Additionally, virtual whiteboards like Miro, Jamboard, or even Canva provide a canvas for students to sketch ideas and solve problems and work together to brainstorm. These visual tools help to stimulate their creativity and help you to facilitate active participation, making learning more interesting, interactive, and engaging. By incorporating collaboration tools and whiteboards into your course, you can create an immersive learning experience that encourages your students to work together, improving their engagement, and ultimately enhancing the overall quality of your course.

If you use these five strategies, you'll be able to create a more engaging and rewarding learning experience for your students. By leveraging existing content from other people, implementing interactive teaching techniques, and using technology in innovative ways, you can make the learning experience more dynamic, captivating, and fun for your students. Remember to keep it engaging, keep it interactive, and above all, keep it impactful.

Thank you for joining me today for this episode of Course Creation Station. Be sure to visit CourseCreationStation.com to view today's show notes and subscribe.

About the Podcast

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Course Creation Station
Course creators, level up and amplify your genius!

About your host

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Gwen Tanner

I'm a career course creator and I am passionate about designing amazing learning experiences! I love working with other course creators, coaches and experts to build their awesome student-focused courses and workshops.