Let's face it, starting an online course is easy. Finishing the course? Now, that is a different ball game altogether. In fact, according to many studies, course completion rates are so low, they make the odds of winning the lottery seem better. For example, NovoEd discovered that the average completion rate was a pitiful 13%. Look at this from this vantage point, it's lower than the percentage of people who believe in aliens.
And if you thought that was bad, wait until you see what Live your message, an online learning platform found out: their completion rates are between 5% and 13%. That means, up to 90% of people don’t make it to the finish line.
I’m sure you have been excited about learning a new skill or making some extra cash, so you signed up for a course on Udemy or Coursera. You started off with bright enthusiasm, determined to absorb all the knowledge like a sponge. But then life happened. Suddenly, your once-promising course progress became as stagnant as a mosquito's home.
Don't worry; we've all been at that point where our attention got sidetracked by life—another course, your work, your family, or simply the sound of Netflix calling your name. It's practically a rite of passage for anyone who has ever taken an online course.
The good news is that there are ways to break the cycle of procrastination, take action, and finally complete that course.
That’s why in this article, I will be exposing
- Why it is important to finish the courses you start, and
- 5 very effective strategies for finishing a course you start.
Why is it important to finish the courses you start?
Besides the obvious reason of getting certification, here are some reasons finishing a course you start is important:
1. You get a sense of accomplishment
Have you ever just finally finished something that had been pending for a while? How did you feel—both when you knew you were close to finishing and after you completed the task? Let me take a guess, you felt relieved; like a weight has been lifted off your very tired shoulders. Overall, you felt a sense of accomplishment and even pride because you got something done.
Now imagine that feeling but it comes after you finish a course that you have been struggling to finish. Feels great, doesn’t it?
2. You get value for your money
Imagine you paid for a course and then you abandoned it because of reasons like procrastination, lack of motivation, your other responsibilities, or plain laziness. Something would surely be gnawing at you, talking about how you outright wasted your money.
However, when the contrary is the case—you allocate time for it and end up finishing it and gaining the knowledge you set out to gain in the beginning—you feel like you have gotten the value for your money.
3. It keeps your motivation alive
When you recognize the fact that finishing a course you started actually boosts the way you feel about yourself which directly affects your motivation, you start to move differently, and actually finish the things you start. it does the most to keep that motivation alive for you to venture into other activities that aid your growth.
4. It leads to personal or professional growth, as the case may be
Say you picked up a course about learning public speaking, and you actually finish the said course, you would have gained a lot of knowledge to use in your daily personal life and excel as an individual.
If you picked up an SEO course and finished it, your completion will serve as proof of your hard work and will open you up to promotion opportunities, amongst many other opportunities.
5 ways to Finish that online course you started
1. Reestablish why you started the course in the first place
Reestablishing your why will rekindle your motivation, push you to take action, and increase your chances of finishing the course. This isn't a one-time deal; you need to revisit your reason for taking the course as frequently as necessary. So go ahead and remind yourself why you started and use that as the fuel to propel you to the finish line.
2. Organize your workspace
Sometimes, the reason you’re not motivated to finish that course is because your workspace is either disorganized or you don’t have one at all. Lying in bed spurs unproductivity—there’s a reason your bed is for rest and sleeping.
Intentionally investing in your workspace to make it conducive for what its use is, is a great idea. You can also look into finding a coworking space and see how that works for you.
3. Reward yourself for accomplishing small tasks
This small reward system you can set up helps a lot with preserving your motivation and pushing you to take action on pending tasks. For example, you can buy yourself a burger after you complete one chapter/episode of your online course.
Essentially, reward yourself with something you like every time you complete a small task like practicing something you just learned, finishing two chapters, or studying without getting too distracted.
4. Use a task management tool to prioritize and reduce the overwhelming feeling you get
Sometimes, the reason you can’t finish that public speaking course, SEO course, web development course, or script writing course, is because you are overwhelmed, and practically reeling from how much you have to get done. You’ve tried sticky notes, but it’s either those get lost or you tear them down in frustration because of how little they are actually helping.
This is where you should employ the use of task management tools or project management tools. They help streamline things better. The way you would break down what you have to do in relation to the course on a sticky note is the same way you would do on a project management tool. The difference is that you will now get reminders of what you’re supposed to do bit by bit so you don’t get overwhelmed, you will focus better, and let no stones go unturned in your learning.
In this article here, I dived into the benefits of using a project management tool for your personal goal setting and tracking.
5. Get an accountability partner or two
In a study conducted by the American Society of Training and Development, they found that people are 65% more likely to succeed when they commit to someone else. When you get an accountability partner that you report to at the end of the day, week, or month, the chances of finishing your course are doubled.
For example, if you didn't study and watch episodes 4 and 5 of your nodejs course online like you planned to, you would have to explain why to someone else, and because that person holds you to a standard, you wouldn’t want to disappoint.
Completing a course is not easy, and it takes a lot of effort and dedication. However, in addition to the tips mentioned earlier, there's one crucial thing to keep in mind: don't be afraid to abandon a course if it no longer interests you or isn't aligned with your learning style. Knowing when to let go can increase your chances of completing other courses you've started or will take up in the future.
Using a task management tool can also significantly increase your chances of finishing that course. Whether you're writing a book, writing or debugging code, developing an app, or working on another project, a project management tool can help you stay organized and on track. If you haven't already, give Drogo a shot and see how it can make your life easier.