When was the last time that you bought something without checking for reviews online, or asking around? Especially if it had a high price tag attached to it? The reviews section is a mainstay of any e-commerce site, and it has set our expectations for purchases made elsewhere on the web—including in the online learning industry.
Social proof such as reviews, testimonials, and five-star ratings are a key part of convincing someone to join your course. Here are 5 ways to collect and use testimonials from your online learners:
1. Include reflection activities in your course and use the responses as testimonials.
Online courses are made up of learning activities which help learners to achieve the course outcomes. Activities can range from icebreaker games, to instructional videos and self research.
💡 Did you know? You can quickly and easily create effective online learning activities using free page templates on OpenLearning.
Reflection activities are particularly helpful for collecting testimonials. You can ask learners to reflect on the concepts, challenges, ideas, and results that they have achieved from your course—then choose the best ones to use as testimonials. The best part is: their responses also act as artefacts to showcase in their portfolio! Read the OpenLearning Blog: How to Prepare Your Online Portfolio for Interviews.
Case studies and use cases follow a similar formula—ie. the challenge, the solution, and the results—and they are often used in marketing to illustrate how a product or service can solve a buyer’s problem. By including reflection activities throughout your course, you can use your learners’ responses (with their permission!) to market your course.
2. Identify engaged learners and ask for permission to share some of their work
In online courses, engagement varies between learners, as well as over time or across different activities. Recognising this, many online course platforms provide built-in tools to help you track engagement and provide encouragement where needed, or to pinpoint activities which can be improved. Watch our YouTube video: Monitoring Learner Progress on OpenLearning.
What’s great about these tools is that you can also use them to identify your most engaged learners and reach out to them when marketing your course. Ask for their permission to feature some of their coursework on your landing page or social media channels, along with their profile picture and name.
Quick tip: Use the Course Gallery to search for the best coursework such as the most ‘liked’ post in your course, or a post made by a specific user. Showcase these posts in your course marketing (with permission from the author) to attract more learners.
3. Send an announcement email to request feedback
Learners may enjoy your course and feel transformed by your content—but they won’t necessarily tell you about it unless you ask them to. One of the easiest ways to request feedback on OpenLearning is to send an announcement email to everyone in the course. For example:
It’s great to see how everyone has progressed in this course so far. We are always trying to improve your experience and to support as many learners as possible. As such, we welcome your feedback—good or bad. Let us know how you feel about the course by posting a comment below, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!
Your Course Facilitator.”
Send announcements to your learners at various points in the learning journey to nudge them to provide feedback for your course. Find a cadence that works for you, and use the feedback to improve the course while boosting your marketing efforts.
4. Include a testimonial survey at the end of your course
Surveys are an efficient way to gather the social proof you need for your course landing page, and they’re easy to set up.
Create a survey using the built-in OpenLearning survey widget or embed a tool that is compatible with your other workflows such as Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or TypeForm. For guidance on how to do this, read the OpenLearning Help Article: How do I embed a Google form into my course?
5. Encourage learners to share their certificate on social media
Celebrate your learners’ achievements by encouraging them to share their certificate of completion or digital badges on their social media pages. Not only will this validate and give exposure to their awesome achievements within their peer network, this will also provide you another opportunity to showcase the credibility and promote your courses too – that’s a win-win situation!
💡 Did you know? OpenLearning has joined forces with Accredible to bring secure, verifiable and shareable digital certificates and badges — so your learners can share their achievements online, hassle-free!
Collecting learner testimonials for your online course can be a reaffirming exercise for you to constantly iterate and improve your content. If you experiment with the steps above, you should start seeing great results in no time at all!
We’ve found that most educators who teach courses on the OpenLearning platform really value the opportunity to have meaningful touch-points with their learners. All of the recommendations in this article are geared towards boosting interaction in the course while also providing stellar reviews for marketing purposes—a win-win for educators and learners alike.
OpenLearning is an online learning platform with a focus on community and connectedness through active learning. For more tips on how to create, market, and sell online courses, download the OpenLearning Creators’ Handbook.