Instructional Design

How Quality Instructional Design Helps Increase Engagement, Retention and Revenue

Your approach to instructional design can influence your students’ experience. This influence is direct. It can impact students’ engagement level with your content. It can even determine whether they continue the course. Students who quit their courses negatively impact your revenue. So it’s easy to see why quality instructional design is important in your online learning strategy.

Interactive Design Increases Engagement

Research shows that quality instructional design improves engagement. Using effective techniques to reach students can impact students’ success. A 2015 study showed that students’ critical thinking skills improved when they were presented with real-world examples. Using real-world examples is a strategy that increases both interaction and engagement.

Engagement also increases with the use of interactive tools. Some of these tools include emoticons, whiteboards and virtual handshaking. Video is another vital tool for improving course design and increasing engagement. A 2014 study showed that informal videos are more engaging than taped lecture videos. The informal videos included multiple people or “talking heads.” Not surprisingly, shorter videos garnered more engagement than longer ones. Students also interacted with tutorials in a more positive way than lectures. These findings show quality instructional design’s vital impact.

Improved Retention With Increased Funding

An ACE study finds that higher funding leads to better student retention. Increased funding leads to more training for teachers. That training results in better online course development. As expected, the enhanced courses help improve student retention and engagement.

Reduced Recruiting Costs Improve Revenue

When students finish courses and stay at their colleges, they continue to pay fees and tuition. Schools with poor student retention must spend more money on recruitment to keep their revenue steady. When schools improve their retention rates by designing courses that keep students engaged, they save those costs. Recruiting new students can cost three times as much as retaining students. So it’s key for colleges to highlight quality instructional design.

This strategy helps students save money as well. The ACE study showed that students at the University of Central Florida saved quite a bit of money. The school’s e-learning solutions made this possible. One reason is that e-learning and hybrid courses helped students reduce the time it takes to complete school. Students were able to take more classes, helping them finish school faster. This encouraged them to remain in their courses and complete the classes. UCF saw higher enrollment as a result. This strategy helped UCF realize a 20.5 percent return on its investment.

The study also included Cal State LA. The teachers received expert course development training, and 20 classes received support for redesigned courses. The effect was increased enrollment. In fact, enrollment rose from 20,619 in 2009 to an estimated 28,000 students in 2016.

Final Thoughts

You cannot increase revenue if students are not taking your classes. Your instructors need support to know how to use online learning tools. Students need enhanced instructional design. This helps encourage engagement and retention. Consider your approach. Aim to improve instructional design. Make quality your goal. Quality can help improve the experience for students. It can enhance engagement. Finally, it’s quality that also improves student retention and your school’s bottom line.