Students succeed in your course when they feel that they have achieved their own goals. Defining your course’s ideal student, and structuring your course along the value propositions that you laid out in your course’s objectives are some of the most crucial parts of course creation.
This article will cover how to correctly set, and meet, the expectations of your Udemy students. We’ll cover how to self-diagnose how your course is doing now, and we’ll also go over some strategies for updating how you’re dealing with your students’ expectations -- we’ve broken down that section into The Quick Win and The Full Treatment. Quick Wins are just that -- quick ways to dramatically increase the quality of the student experience in your course. For those dedicated instructors who want to go all-in and take their course to the top tier we’ll go over larger updates in The Full Treatment.
Meeting Your Student's Expectations
|What Students Appreciate (actual student quotes)||What Students Recommend (actual student quotes)|
|The distinct outline of how the course will be taught and what I can expect to learn is great.||While this is informative for someone starting out, I was hopeful to see more technical information that I could use beyond the basics.|
|Good examples, lots of content, interesting detailed approach of the topic.||Too short videos. Too basic and not-in-depth enough.|
|The explanations and volume of info offered are great.||I thought that the author would have better support with questions.|
|The course followed a structured and logical sequence which helped me a lot.||The accuracy and depth of the technical details you provide was different than I thought it would be.|
Successful Instructors Do This
Here are some best practices that instructors have used to set student expectations and then meet, or exceed them. Think about these throughout your course, but make sure that your introduction lecture includes all of these points.
Set student expectations in your introductory lecture:
- Walk through the curriculum. Students want to see what they’re going to learn. Offer a brief overview of the curriculum and any projects or activities that students will have an opportunity to do.
- Articulate the reasoning behind curricular choices. Students need to know that you’ve been deliberate in your planning of the course. Show them that you’ve got their back and have thought through the value of each section of your course.
- Summarize the learning activities. Show your students that they will be able to apply what they are learning in your course with practical, relevant exercises.
- Tell students when they should NOT take your course. One of the biggest pain points for students is when they believe a course was sold to them as a beginner, intro-level course, but actually requires more than a beginner’s background. Avoid this by being clear about what a student needs to know to succeed in your course, and what type of student for whom your course would not be appropriate.
- Describe what properly prepared students can get out of the course. Highlight why your course is valuable for students who are adequately prepared to take it. Students love to hear how a course will help them get better at something or transform their skillset.
- Demonstrate empathy for target students. Students who believe their instructor understands their concerns and knows how to address them are far more likely to trust that instructor. Show that you know your students well and that you’re the right person to help them meet their goals.
If you’re already doing these, great job! If you’d like to try them out or make improvements to your course in this area, here are a couple options for you.
The Quick Win (2 Hours or Less)
Create a new introductory lecture video where you:
- Appear on camera
- Demonstrate you understand your target student’s goals and concerns
- Articulate how your curriculum addresses those goals and concerns
- Describe why your students should trust you as their instructor and this course as a means for achieving their personal or professional goals
- Take a look at this article for tips on how to plan and create your course
The Full Treatment (Address the Majority of Student Concerns)
Step 1: Discovery
Go through your course and determine where the goals of the course need additional supporting content.
- Is your Course Summary accurately describing your ideal student? Is it specific?
- Are your Course Goals properly structured for explaining what needs your course will fill for your ideal student?
- Do students need more practical exercises?
- Do students need a broader understanding of certain topics?
- Is there anything missing that your target students (especially if they are beginners or new to your topic) would need to be successful?
Step 2: Course Updates
- Using the list you assembled above, revamp your course copy to better understand and meet your students’ expectations (including your course summary, course goals, text lectures, exercises, handouts, etc).
- Using the list you assembled above, script out and record new videos to make your course complete
- Additionally, record a video describing the updates you've made so that students know the hard work you’ve been doing to invest in their success!
- Publish any new content and make an announcement describing what you’re adding and why for current and future students.
Want to make it easier on yourself to organize and deliver clear content in your next course? Take a look at this article to help you craft an effective introductory lecture, which sets students on the right path for your course.