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Let’s talk about what defines a successful online course. There’s a lot of talk about how you can be successful with online courses how you can create and market and sell your own online courses. But what does it really mean to have a successful online course?

I’ve seen so many metrics for measuring this and we have a ton of data across over 10 million students moving through online courses to look at all of these metrics and I see people tracking things like the student reviews they get the number of students, the amount of revenue they generate, the thank you’s they get from students, the results that they get from students. A big one is actually completion tracking, things like net promoter score or NPS.

I’ve seen all of these and so many more used to track the success of course and I’d actually suggest to you that none of those are really the right metrics to be tracking around the success of your online course. It’s helpful to look at them.

There’s something much more powerful and if you focus on this you’re going to have a much more successful course deliver WAY better results for your students. Before we get into the specific ways where you should be focusing on success and the goal you should be setting for your online courses. Let’s look at it what it looks like when this is not done well.

*VIDEO* What defines a successful online course? Student Success with Greg Smith CEO of @Thinkific. #onlinecourse #thinkific Click To Tweet

So I would argue that for a successful course your goals in creating the course and in running the course and helping your students should be very closely aligned with those of your students. And the closer aligned those goals are or that one big North Star goal is, the more likely for you to be successful, and your student to be successful in your online course. But if we have those goals diverge then things start to break down. So let’s take a look for an example and this can be a typical one where as a course creator our goal is in driving revenue we want sales we want to sell the course What we’re really driving to revenue and then we have a student where their goal is really something about learning or getting some results in that case the natural progression as you start to do things where you’re acting to drive revenue as your course creator so you’re focused your goal you’re on to getting the next student. That’s in the extreme case where you’re heavily focused on generating revenue only from your course as your primary goal. Meanwhile, your student is focused on learning, and if all your effort is going in here you may be neglecting them on the learning side not delivering as much results.

So instead of just focusing on completion rates what I would focus on is “What is the goal or objective that the students set for themselves when they signed up for engaged in your course?”

When a student or any of us go in to learn something or sign up for a program where they’re going to learn something we have some goal in mind some way we want our life to be different, some transformation we want to go through it. The more you can align your objectives and your goals with that specific objective of your students and drive everything you do to achieving that, the more successful you’re going to be as a course creator in terms of having a better course resulting in better results for your students, but that will also drive all of the other wonderful things that can come from online courses. Like revenue and engaging and helping more students. Plus it feels really good to have online courses that actually drive results for your students.

You’ll stick around for long term because you will actually drive more revenue and other wins for your business is of course creator, but you’re also going to feel a lot better and that you’re gonna make a difference in people’s lives. You’re actually going to achieve transformation for them they will achieve their objectives. You’ll feel great about what you’re doing.

They’ll feel great about working with you and they’ll come back and send all their friends to work with you again in the future. So as much as possible you want to be a successful course creator. You want to create and sell amazing online courses and have success and that? Align your goals with your students and specifically focus on what result, what transformation, what goal that they set for themselves, when they signed up for your course. If you’re using Thinkific, which I do for my online courses, you can actually turn on the ability automatically to be asking your students at the start and again checking in throughout and at the end how much progress they’re making towards their specific goal as opposed to progress just in the course. So check it out if you want to learn more about creating online courses, feel free to Create a Free Account today.