Virtual and online classes offer flexibility, which make them appealing to a wide range of consumers. They have become increasingly popular during COVID-19 and are a great way to connect while social distancing. Yet, as the pandemic recedes, the desire to participate in online classes shows no sign of slowing down.

Remote learning offers students flexibility

Participating in classes from the comfort of our homes can be a strong selling point for instructors. Virtual teaching platforms have created opportunities to learn new skills and enroll in classes that were once only offered in person. Online versions of classes can reach a much broader audience. In addition, recording a class that can be watched later on-demand, or monetizing it in other ways, has additional benefits.

Thanks to technology, individuals can attend classes from nearly anywhere with an internet connection. Teachers can be in the same town or halfway across the globe. Giving students the option to take part in a live class or watching a recording when it’s more convenient increases the chance of a class being successful.

Online classes deliver more options

Online classes can be watched more than once if they’ve been recorded. That allows for a more thorough understanding of the course material. Studies show that repetition helps with retention. Exercise and mindfulness classes such as yoga, Pilates and meditation that are watched repeatedly become part of an individual’s wellness routine.

Online classes for cooking, art, writing, photography and other creative pursuits can yield additional benefits when watched a second or third time. Students can gain new insights and achieve greater mastery when watching an instructor repeat the lesson.

There is also demand for educational classes where students can earn a college degree, complete business courses or take a class simply for the joy of learning something new. Online courses make it easy for students to be lifelong learners.

How virtual classes can better appeal to students of all ages

If you’re wondering how to increase student attendance in online classes or how to improve attendance in online classes, using teaching methods that make the material more engaging is a great place to start. It’s easy to be a passive participant and watch others interact, so invite students to ask questions and share their insights.

People sign up for classes because the course material interested them. If attendance starts to wane, try adding more interactive elements or mini breaks for longer classes.

If your meeting software offers breakout sessions with separate video rooms, divide students into smaller groups so they can discuss class topics that way before rejoining the larger class.

10 strategies to increase attendance in online classes

Below are 10 strategies for increasing attendance in online classes. Instructors can use these techniques to reach more people and maximize enrollment. Let’s get started!

#1 Make and upload a YouTube video

Over 5,000,000 YouTube videos are watched every day. That makes it a powerful platform to share your message. Create a short but engaging video that describes your class. In the description, provide a course outline and link to your website with class details and your contact information.

Keep these bullet points in mind:

  • Be succinct and offer value. People have short attention spans.
  • Express the key reasons students should take your class. Clearly state the “why.”
  • Use the video as just one of the steps in your promotional plan.

#2 Share on social media platforms

Social media sites can spread a message quickly. Whether you create free posts or use paid advertising, social media can help you reach a wider audience.

  • Create a page for each platform you’re on with class details, your bio, relevant images and messaging that will encourage students to sign up.
  • Quickly reply to comments and questions. Being attentive, respectful and responsive to inquiries shows visitors your page is well managed.
  • Use the platforms to send requests to friends and followers asking them to share posts about your class for added exposure.

#3 Build subscriber lists

As students visit your social media pages or your organization’s website, encourage them to join your subscriber lists. Gathering contact information allows you to reach out to them about current classes and other programs you may offer in the future.

  • Make it clear when they sign up that individuals are agreeing to receive email and/or text messages from you or your organization.
  • Immediately adhere to any email “unsubscribe” or text “opt-out” requests.
  • Only send messages relating to the class(es) they’ve expressed an interest in.

#4 Use “keywords” for a text marketing campaign

Another way to get subscribers is to create a “virtual poster” image for your website or social media sites asking people to text in a keyword to learn more. Once someone has texted you, they’ve provided consent and you can text them.

  • Create posts on social media sites inviting people to text a keyword (E.g., “Text INFO to 555-455-5555 for class details.”)
  • Print flyers with your keyword and text line to post on bulletin boards in community centers, libraries, coffee shops and wherever potential students might gather.
  • Add a Click-to-Text button to your website and invite people to ask questions.

#5 Create a countdown clock for enrollment

Generating enthusiasm ensures students show up excited for your online class. Create social media posts and send emails or texts (if students signed up for them) with a countdown alert. Use a digital countdown clock or create colorful static images.

  • Use a countdown clock showing the days and hours till class starts.
  • Create colorful static images to post online that read, “Class starts in X days!”
  • Display the countdown messages several weeks before the class start date.

#6 Create FAQs to address any issues or reservations people may have

Your online class could be exactly what someone is looking for, but they may hesitate to sign up for any number of reasons. Create a FAQ page and make it easy for people to get answers to questions they may have been afraid to ask. Post it wherever you have information about your class. Here are a few common questions to get you started:

  • What if I can’t attend all the classes live? Will that affect my grade?
  • Is there a payment plan option in case the enrollment fee is more than I can afford?
  • Will the classes be available for viewing online even after the course has ended?

#7 Host an online kick-off event to get sign-ups

This strategy works best for non-academic courses. Host a free event to provide more details and get participants excited. Explain the benefits of your class, answer questions and let people get a sense of the type of instructor you’ll be. This is your chance to shine so be enthusiastic and be prepared.

  • Promote the kick-off event via social media and through your subscription lists.
  • Offer a discount at the end of the event to motivate people to register.
  • Host the live event 6-8 weeks before your class is scheduled to begin.

#8 Send personalized inspiration to encourage live attendance

To ensure students show up for live classes, keep them motivated with personalized messages using Group texting. Send reminder texts to keep students inspired and focused on the subject matter. If your texts are meaningful and sincere, students will feel valued and their time respected.

  • Send positive feedback or an inspirational quote to keep students engaged.
  • Encourage students to stay connected between classes to share their progress.
  • Let each student know you appreciate their attendance and participation.

#9 Request online reviews and testimonials

After the class has concluded, send students a text or email thanking them for participating. Include a link to an online review site, request testimonials and/or send a survey so they can provide feedback.

  • Reviews help future students by providing first-hand knowledge about a class.
  • If requesting testimonials, make it clear that student names may be shared in marketing materials.
  • Surveys help teachers know which curriculum items resonated best with students.

#10 Create polls to gather information quickly

People love to share their opinions via polls. Several free tools are available. Keep the number of questions to 10 or fewer and provide clearly written multiple choice answers. Here are a few sample questions:

  • Which of the following subjects is most interesting to you?
  • Which day(s) of the week would you like to attend this online class?
  • Would you be interested in taking the next class in this series?

Texting makes teacher-student communication easier

Online learning sites and educational groups have discovered the benefits of texting. In conjunction with email and social media to create awareness about classes, texting can reach class participants quickly and easily.

Texting offers tools to connect with students and other staff members. Features include Scheduled Texts, Auto Replies, Templates and Dynamic Fields, which save instructors time while providing students with personalized attention. Texting is convenient, affordable and effective. See how Zipwhip works to learn more.  

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