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Online Course Creation: 5 Tips for Student Engagement

When it comes to creating online courses a lot of topics come up…. How to choose what to teach, how to get students into your course, should you self host it on a platform like Teachable or sell your course on a marketplace like Skillshare or Udemy.

And these are all really great and very important points for any instructor to consider… but at the end of the day the only thing that REALLY matters, which funnily enough is the one thing people don’t talk about enough is how your students feel about your course. Are they loving your content and style and excited to learn more from you? Or are they checked out by the second lesson and ready to leave or refund their purchase.

Everything else in your course can be perfectly created but f you’re not providing an exceptional experience for your audience then nothing else matters.

So I will be giving you my 5 ingredients for creating EPIC content for your students that will keep them happy, engaged and ready to learn anything and everything you present to them. And now let’s dive into what I’ve learned from creating content for over 18,000 students in my online courses and how you can incorporate this knowledge into your own courses. 



1) Keep it Simple

The first ingredient to your online course content success is simplicity. Ah… simplicity… sounds so simple to achieve and yet it’s the hardest thing for beginners to tackle. Because when you’re a beginner in anything you feel like you need to overcompensate for your lack of experience by going above and beyond in other ways. This then leads to people taking screenshots and not paying attention… or taking screenshots to steal your content and sell it as their own.

So… if you ever feel like there’s too much stuff on your slides whether it’s text, graphics, colours or fonts… you’re probably right. Just remember that less is more and sometimes I seriously have a slide with just one word on it or one sentence and talk about it with my students… this means they have to pay attention and aren’t spending their time reading the slide text. Plus it’s less work for you so that’s always a bonus!


2) Keep it Entertaining

Now this has to be right for your audience… but if you can use memes or popular viral content to demonstrate your point this can be a super fun way for you to keep your audience engaged.

And even if memes are maybe a bit too playful for your audience… you can ALWAYS use GIFs in your content. So you can use GIFs to celebrate their accomplishments and keep them pumped to keep going, or like here on the right you can also use GIFs to demonstrate certain points that you’re making within your course.

And I can’t stress this enough but it should also be fun for you to present!!


3) Keep it Engaging

The easiest way you can do this is by using animated elements to enhance the point you’re making. Another way to keep your audience engaged is to use different creative elements like screenshots of examples of great websites, ads, recipes or whatever else you’re talking about during your lessons.


4) Keep Up a Good Pace

As a general rule of thumb is to just have more slides than minutes in your lessons. So for a 10 minute lesson that’s all slides – you want to have a minimum of 10-15 slides. If you have a longer idea to communicate, split it into two or three points and give each of them its own slide. People have a TikTok level of attention span these days so don’t expect them to stay engaged if you stay on one slide for a few minutes.


5) Stay On-Brand

So it’s natural that your slide designs will go through an evolution as you get more practice… You guys might just have one signature course in which case you don’t have to worry about this so much… but I have 7 courses live at the moment and all of them have to look on brand but unique at the same time. So these have gone through some evolutions with each new course I learned something new… so I dulled my colours a bit because my bright turquoise was way too much for people… I made my fonts a bit more on-brand and I started using images of myself in my slides so that even if I’m not on screen, my audience still feels like a personal touch.

The important thing is that while everything from your slides to your course merchandising, PDFs, Facebook ads and everything in between should ideally on-brand but don’t be afraid to try out a few unique things so that you can keep testing what works for your humans.

And at the end of the day while it’s important for your audience to feel good about it, it should also feel right for you and make you excited to present your ideas… and if you make it fun for yourself, I can guarantee that it will be fun for your audience as well!


When doing a final check of slides, ask yourself:

  • Are the slides inclusive and representative of your community?
  • Can someone look at your slides and tell EXACTLY what the whole lesson is about?
  • Is it engaging and entertaining?
  • Is it on-brand?
  • Do you have a slide for every 2 paragraphs of script?


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Hey there - I'm Maggie

I’m a silly-outfit enthusiast whose guilty pleasure is happy-crying while watching highlights of the golden buzzer moments from America’s Got Talent.

And my mission is to continuously create a better digital space for creators and consumers through my work.

Check out my best-selling online courses with over 150k happy marketing students here.


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