Newsflash: Your students determine your online course success.
They're the ones paying the money, doing the work, and leaving great reviews.
Today we’re sharing what happens when you're not invested in your students' success. (It's not pretty.)
As well as some times for how you can make your course better.
So if you’re a course creator, take a look, and take note.
Udemy Course Review #1: “This guy could complicate a peanut…”
How to prevent this in your course: This is a classic case of making things more complicated than they need to be.
If you feel your knowledge is at a more advanced level, and you just can’t dumb it down, make your course advanced.
Using beta testers will be really helpful here.
You'll be able to see if you’re using jargon or teaching methods that are too advanced.
It’s also a good idea to be clear about who your course is for in your sales copy.
If you need help creating your customer avatar, check out The Completed Course by Dr. Carrie Rose.
Lastly, try using the Hemingway App to simplify your content where possible. It’s an app that will highlight phrases that are too lengthy or words that are too complicated.
Udemy Course Review #2: “Lazy course…”
How to prevent this in your course: This is a case where it’s clear the student wants to be challenged. And all courses should be actionable.
We mentioned this a couple of weeks ago in our blog post on how to get rave online course reviews.
Make sure you’re giving students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in your course.
No one wants a knowledge dump – they have YouTube for that.
Get them to apply what you teach by having them relate what they're learning back to their own personal experience.
How can you make the action steps in the course real for them?
This is also another case of not meeting the student at their level.
In this case, the student feels like a first-timer in the course, and he/she doesn’t see examples that help.
And you will get course buyers who aren’t an exact fit for your course. That's why it's so important to explain things as simply as possible.
Anthony Trucks, CEO of Anthony Trucks Industries, said in The Completed Course:
“When you put something out you need to be super simple in terms of explanations to where it’s literally impossible to misunderstand what it is you have, what it is you created, and what the benefit to them is going to be.”
If you’ve dumbed it down to its simplest terms, I’d recommend still sharing resources for pre-requisite learning in your introductory video. Just in case.
Udemy Course Review #3: “…dry and unstimulating video.”
How to prevent this in your course: It’s clear that the student here was unhappy about how unengaged and dispassionate the instructor came off in video.
And people can always tell when you don't care.
The student does note that the instructor was passionate in their copy. But the video presence was apparently robotic, dry, and under-stimulating.
My best advice is to be you. Students need to feel the empathy in your voice and be able to recognize your passion, so it has to come from who you are.
Here are some resources to help you be more engaging in video:
- Use a teleprompter app
- Make eye contact and smile (at least occasionally)
- Join meetup groups or Toastmasters to get better at projecting and speaking live
- Put a picture of something funny, or someone you feel comfortable with, where the lens of your camera is
- Record in 10- to 15-second clips to make it easier to shoot
- The Easy Start Guide to Live Video by Amy Porterfield.
- Check out Mike Mandel’s Circle of Excellence video on YouTube for a great way to look and feel confident before giving a presentation or going on camera.
- For greater confidence when speaking or giving presentations, check out Steve Hudson’s Voicemaster Voiceover course on Udemy.
- To learn the concepts of vocal awareness, and how to speak powerfully and authentically, check out courses by Arthur Joseph on Udemy as well.
- Also highly recommended is the e-book How to Be a Video Interview Pro.
Udemy Course Review #4: “Want to get real frustrated and confused real fast?”
How to prevent this in your course: Frustration and confusion are the last things you want your students to feel. When you flip around from topic to topic, you risk distracting and losing them during important lessons.
To prevent confusing your students by bouncing around from topic to topic, structure your online course in a way that makes sense.
Make sure you’re taking them from point A to B to C.
Start from the transformation they’re going to get and work backward when you create your module structure. Leave nothing out.
And make sure you stick to the script of what you plan to discuss in each lesson.
Re-watch your lessons when you’re done to make sure you’re only talking about what you mentioned in each learning objective (which is what the student will learn in each lesson).
Udemy Course Review #5: “…more concerned with being a YouTube clown…”
How to prevent this in your course: It’s one thing to be who you are, and be your own brand.
It’s another to not back it up with tasks your students expect of you.
Being present, active, and engaging is a core expectation from any student, for any instructor.
Your students can’t get through the course without a little help from you.
They’re going to have questions when they start applying things, and answering them comes with the territory.
Depending on what platform you’re using, frequently check the comments section of each lesson, and make sure you’re answering any questions your students have.
If you’re too busy, hire a teaching assistant on Fiverr or Upwork to help you respond to everyone.
Or, see if previous students who’ve already proven themselves with your course can jump back in the community to help out. (Marie Forleo does this with B-School.)
It’s best to use something like a Facebook Group or Slack community, too. This way your students have one dedicated area where they can ask questions. You can also just have them email you, but that can get crowded real quick.
Either way, carve out some time each day to be present and helpful.
Teaching online may not be your full-time job, but running a popular course might feel like you have full-time students. Even a response within 24 hours is appreciated. Try to let no question go unanswered.
Udemy Course Review #6: “…this course alone is not enough.”
How to prevent this in your course: The two main issues in this review are:
1) the student feels like the course cannot be used as one standalone resource, and
2) the course is too outdated to learn from.
Naturally, you’re going to have courses that complement one another.
Especially if you have one course that's more of an easy buy, so you can upsell students on your larger course later on.
But make sure your course can also act as a standalone resource.
You want to give students a transformation within just the one course.
If you keep talking about how they can’t advance in your course without buying another course, your student is going to feel duped and think you’re just trying to get their money.
Make sure students can take actionable steps forward with your course, regardless of what you plan to sell them later.
Use beta testers to make sure the goal of your course is accomplished without the use of your other courses.
And lastly, update your course regularly.
Try to do this every six months, depending on your industry. Take careful note of everything that needs updating as trends change, and then schedule in a time to go in and update or add videos or worksheets.
Technology, especially, is changing all the time.
If the software you’re teaching about has changed, you need to update your training. Otherwise, they will spend more time trying to figure out how to learn your outdated training, than actually learning it.
Udemy Course Review #7: “Very disappointing.”
How to prevent this in your course: This one is kind of a no-brainer, but proofread your course.
If you proofread nothing else, proofread your quizzes and assessments.
You want to make sure people aren’t reading your assignments two different ways. If they can’t complete their projects, they’ll never learn.
And if they never learn, you're not making them happy and your course sales fall flat.
These Udemy course reviews were in no way meant to shame Udemy or to make any instructors look bad.
We love and use Udemy all of the time, and most of the courses we’ve taken have been super valuable.
But we wanted to point out how you can learn and grow from what students aren’t happy about in other courses. Mainly:
- Don’t overcomplicate things. Use beta testers if you want to make sure you’re understood.
- Make sure you’re giving students the ability to apply what they’ve learned in your course.
- Get better at video if you’re not good on camera. Smile, make eye contact, use a teleprompter, and paste a picture of someone who makes you happy on your camera if you have to.
- Make sure your course doesn’t flip around from subject to subject. Stick to your learning objectives for each lesson.
- Don’t leave your students’ questions hanging. Be present and engaged in their learning.
- Update your course every six months or so (this will vary on your industry). This will ensure the content is relevant for your students.
- Proofread your course for grammar errors. Use a tool like Grammarly and read your copy out loud so you can catch everything.
How'd you feel about these reviews? Are you making some of these mistakes in your courses? Let me know in the comments!