You’ve created and launched your first course, and now you see the enrolments coming in. However as you’re seeing the numbers of your online completion rates clearly, you’re realising that only a few students are finishing your course, thus your low completion rate.

Don’t be dismayed as you are not alone in this situation. Self-paced learning, which is most of our online courses, has a normally low completion rate. And even those of us who have experience in the classroom know that not all students pay attention.

A study on course completion rates

In 2018. Columbia University’s Teachers College did a study on Coursera and online courses, and they showed that the minimum completion rate was about 15% or less.

The situation changed in 2020 when we had lockdowns and we had more people wanting to learn courses, so they were able to engage with online content a little bit more, but the industry standards still sit at about 20% to 25% completion rate.

There are a couple of factors that add to this:

  • One is the distraction of everything else going on in their lives.
  • And two is that online learners naturally come to us with a pain point. They come to us with a need and your course might be the answer to that. When the answer that they need gets answered in the earlier parts of your course, their intrinsic motivation to continue with the course is gone.

Now, we can increase that motivation in a number of ways. A little boost of engagement in our course creation journey plays a significant role in encouraging our students to keep on with the course, thus increasing our completion rates.

Here are some ways you can boost your course engagement and increase the completion rate for your course:

Break down your course into smaller pieces of content

Are you putting too much into your course? You need to structure your course in a way that does not overwhelm your students and will help avoid learning paralysis. Make sure that your content is being delivered in bite-sized chunks that deliver small wins to your students.

You can use our course planning sheets to help you plan out your course.

Create a solid nurture sequence of emails for your course

This is your welcome email that gives your student an introduction and helpful links. Followed by a couple of emails asking them what they’ve learned so far and encouraging them to keep going.

If you’re doing a drip-based course, then the nurture sequence is essential to remind people that they have new content, new information, and new things to learn.

Make your course more interactive

Now, I’m a big fan of video content because it targets the different learning styles. Videos include visuals, audio, and a connection with you as a teacher.

The next tool that I love is interactive workbooks. Now, I’m a big fan of Wobo workbooks. Wobo allows you to use slides, polls, and downloadable workbooks. It also allows your students to submit their workbooks to you for the feedback thus increasing that engagement with them.

The third tool that I love to increase engagement in my courses is gamification. Not the high-tech gamification but the simple gamification-type apps like plaYEAH! that Rob Galvin has created. It gives confetti at different moments like when people log in or when they complete a section or module. We also use another one with Rob’s apps called Sidenav, which allows us to teach our students how to use the course.

Give students more time to complete the course

The biggest thing when it comes to our courses is making sure that we give our students the opportunity to learn what they need to learn when they want to. So if you have a short completion rate and you end your course at maybe the 60 or 90-day mark, look at extending your course to give our students enough time to access their course content.

Try running your course live and do a Q&A session

The other thing that we can do if our completion rate is low is to try running a session live. Run it with people but deliver the same content. Get a little bit of student feedback about where they’re getting stuck.

The other component is running the course with some Q&A support or membership options for people to be able to access you. Now, I have my Marketing Circle and Course Creators Circle Membership, where people come and ask me questions about marketing and course creation. These Q&A sessions give me a bit of an idea of what I need to teach next, what is missing from the courses, and how I can improve it.

Final takeaway

I hope these tips will help you increase your course completion rate. Try one strategy at a time. You don’t need to try everything at once, but make sure that you are guiding your students, you’re supporting them along that journey to learn with you.

And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back if you are sitting within the industry of having a 15-25% course completion rate. Remember, wins come in different forms for different students, just the same as they have for you and your course creation journey.


[0:00] Introduction
[0:40] Ways you can boost your online completion rate
[1:07] Factors that affect completion rate
Statistics around course completion rates
[3:05] Activities to help boost course engagement
[3:10] Break down your course into smaller pieces of content
[3:20] Create a solid nurture sequence of emails for your course
[3:50] Make your course more interactive
[4:05] Use
Wobo to build interactive workbooks
[5:10] Give students more time to complete the course
[5:30] Try running your course live and do a Q&A session
[7:10] Final takeaway
[7:40] Please subscribe to
The Course Creators Circle Podcast

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Course Planning Sheets

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