High Student Dropouts? Unmotivated Learners? Try Gamification Of Your MOOC

One of the key features of a MOOC(Massive Online Open Course) is the self-study format that online students need to follow.  This requires a lot of self-motivation and self-discipline from the learner in order to successfully complete and achieve good scores in the online course. Unfortunately, a major downside of a MOOC is that often students are unable to stay motivated and the course is likely to suffer from high dropout rates. Various online studies indicate that more than 20% of online learners do not complete the courses that they sign up for.

While there may be numerous ways to deal with high dropout rates in a course, an important hook that has worked successfully to keep learners motivated is the Gamification of online learning courses.

What is Gamification?

Gamification in a MOOC can be described as a method to bring in fun and engagement to conventional learning situations. It involves using game elements and game design techniques in online classroom situations.

Gamification, when used well is a powerful tool organizations and educational institutions can use to increase motivation and engagement in their online training programs.  Through the use of specific gamification elements trainers and course creators can introduce goals, interactions, feedback, problem solving scenarios, competitions, narratives and other fun elements that can increase learner engagement and sustain motivation.

Let’s look at some of the basic Gamification elements can be applied in a MOOC context.

Leader Boards

Leaderboards showcase player rankings that are determined on the basis of the number of points earned by the players. Leaderboards give participants feedback on where they stand in relation to everyone else. In a MOOC scenario, leaderboards can be used to compare the progress of individuals as compared to others in the same course. You can build a leaderboard that ranks each member by the number of their comments, replies, queries etc.

Badges

Badges are another gamification tool that represent larger achievements and serve as publicly visible status symbol. In a MOOC course, badges can be issued for reaching specific milestones such as completing a module, submitting assignments on time, completing teamwork assignments etc.

Challenges

Challenges motivate online learners to test themselves, it pushes them to grow and progress.You could suggest challenges for your learners at the end of every module or at the end of every chapter with scenarios, tasks, and experiments to see how they would apply the newly learned concepts. Most students will be compelled to take you up on a challenge, and you are likely to see a significant increase in engagement.

Unlocking Levels and Progress Bars

Similar to a game, consider locking levels or chapters in the online training program so that levels only open up when the learner has successfully reached a certain point in his progress bar.

By experimenting with various gamification techniques, you should be able to keep your students motivated and help them to engage more frequently and on a deeper level.

Have you ever used gamification in your online course? Do share your results in the comments section on this article?

The Art And Science Of Selecting The Perfect Visuals For Your Open Online Courses

In 1913, a newspaper in Ohio carried an advertisement for the Piqua Auto Supply House of Piqua using only words, not images, to invite prospective customers to see its products in their store. The caption to the ad said “One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words,”, thus inspiring the idiom – A picture is worth a thousand words. While this story may or may not be true, one cannot deny the truth in the adage.

Today, we have come to accept “a picture is worth a thousand words” as an undeniable truth because of the ability of a picture to convey so much meaning with minimum explanation. Clipsarts, gifs, charts, graphs,  vectors and other forms of image and video are considered extremely effective to convey ideas where words run the risk of falling short. Long paragraphs can be condensed, difficult concepts can be reshaped and new ideas can be visually communicated with the help of simple images and visuals. Visuals allow you to make the complex simple, thus easier to follow.

So what must one keep in mind when selecting visuals for your open online course?

1) Your Pictures Should Not Be The Focus But Should Guide Learner Focus

Your graphics are not meant to be the star of the show. They should not distract learners from what is really important – the topic of your learning materials.

The perfect image should help the students feel more immersed or motivated without drawing attention to itself.

2) Determine The Purpose Of Your Graphic.

Each visual included in an open online courses should have a purpose. It could be an educational graphic or simply an aesthetic accessory for your screen, but identifying this purpose for every graphic you use is essential. Many experts believe that visuals such as a decorative background, clever cliparts add to the aesthetic appeal and are important but the real purpose behind your graphics selection should be to help your learners with their learning experience. According to this school of thought, one should focus on the learning value of the visuals. Hence the visual elements should be limited to flowcharts, infographics, or other detailed images that illustrate a process and keep strictly decorative elements to a minimum.

3) Consistency Of Images

Credible open online courses should have a uniform look and feel. This essentially means that your selected visuals need to conform to the style of your course and need to be consistent. Using mixed visuals such as clip arts, photos and gifs together can make the page look random, confusing the learner and obstructing the learning process.

4) Always Opt For Quality Over Quantity

A common mistake made by course designers is to use an excessive amount of graphics to make up for a lack of text or to boost the visual aspect of the modules. However, experts suggest opting for quality and quantity. Using fewer relevant images can be more impactful rather than cluttering your page with images.

The use of graphics and images are a great way to create course content. Using the right visual can engage and motivate your learners to broaden their horizons as they dive into the intellectually stimulating world of online learning.

Online courses marketing blog

5 Tips to Market Your Open Online Course

Free Tips To Help You Market Your Open Online Course

So you have created a world-class open online course using the best subject matter experts. You have worked tirelessly to design the most engaging student experience. You have painstakingly perfected every multimedia element in your online course! But you are still struggling to get students on board. All of your effort seems to be futile.  Don’t worry! We got you covered. Here are a few tips on marketing your course online. 

 Leverage Your Existing Audience

The first place that you can start marketing your content is your existing audience. You can announce your course to friends, family and professional associates, asking them to sign up if they are interested. Share your course in their networks. If you have a website, then you could leverage your website audience by offering a special discounted price for the launch of your course.

Use Search Engine Optimization

If you are trying to promote your online course, Search Engine Optimization should also be at the top of your strategy list. Ensure that your open online course description incorporates keyword-rich, updated, and relevant content. By increasing the ‘searchability’ of your course, you will be able to improve its ranking on google search thus pushing it to the top pages when your target audience researches courses online.

Participate in Social Media Groups

Engaging with prospective learners through a niche related  on Facebook or LinkedIn groups is a great way to reach out to. Instead of spamming members of these group with your sales pitch, you can build your profile by providing insightful and valuable suggestion in various conversations. Thereby cementing your impression as a knowledgeable subject matter expert. When you do announce your course over these groups, you are more likely to attract signups from interested students.

Offer a Sneak Peek Of Your  Online Course

Often prospective students are sitting on the fence about a course. They need an extra push to be convinced before they click on the ‘enroll’ button. One easy way to capture their attention is by offering a free preview of your online course. This can include access to the first few modules of the course or access to an intriguing introduction to the course. Think of it like a movie trailer/teaser, once the audience gets a taste of what’s to come they are more than willing to make a purchase.

Ask Satisfied Learners To Endorse Your Course.

One of the biggest endorsements for your online course comes from learners who have completed and are satisfied with your course. You can encourage your students to leave you reviews or online on your social media page. Additionally, you can also conduct surveys with the help of feedback forms. Use the positive feedback as a marketing element for other upcoming courses and the critical ones to improve on your content. 

These tips will help your reach out to a wider audience and increase your course sales. Time and effort spent in developing your course shouldn’t go to waste so, start reaching out to your audience by following these tips today or better yet, get on Uzity!