Any training program needs extra effort to encourage enrollment, especially new ones. Here are 10 tips you can use to increase enrollment in your program.
Form partnerships with other programs and organizations
Team up with similar or complimentary programs or neighboring organizations, and ask them to co-promote the online course with you. You can often learn from them and share your strengths so learners get the best of both.
Remind early and often
The average person must be reminded of something 18 times before they act on it. This means you should notify participants of your new course sooner than you think and more often than you think. Look for ways to promote that include your staff’s e-mail signature and newsletters. Just keep putting the message out there.
Make sign-up easy
Broken enrollment forms, difficult enrollment forms, multi-step enrollment forms–they’re all bad news when it comes to encouraging registration. Make it brief and easy for people to sign up. It’s also a good idea to provide a phone number in case someone needs technical assistance when signing up.
Introduce participants in person
Mingling in person before the course begins is a great way to introduce learners and begin forming relationships. Once they’ve made a positive connection, they’re more likely to participate in an online course. This happens naturally in a blended learning environment, but you can offer an orientation (see below) or a meet-and-greet where people can shake hands.
Hold an orientation
If this is the first time you’ve offered an online course, some of your potential participants might feel unsure about the format or technology. Make it easier by introducing them slowly. Hold a no-obligation orientation, either online via a webinar or in person, depending on your audience. Once people see how easy it is to take a course online, they often feel more confident about enrolling.
Some staff members will feel more passionately about online learning than others, and these are the ones you want to enlist. Those who have experience with e-learning see the benefits and will help evangelize for you. They’ll help push your promotional efforts so you and your immediate staff aren’t the only ones.
Inviting groups is more efficient than inviting individuals. Emphasize your training is for groups of three or more, or push it to managers rather than learners. This technique also gives the groups a way to learn together and find ways to apply their knowledge to the workplace.
Dangling carrots are a great motivator. Offer a benefit of some kind that is only available upon successful completion. This might be a certificate of completion, compliance with a job, a workbook or forms, or even physical tools.
Get them involved beforehand
Find ways to get participants invested in the training before it even begins. You might invite people to submit questions to the instructor before enrollment. Another idea is to create polls or surveys whose results will feed into course content.
Go beyond reminder emails
Sending reminder emails is useful and relatively easy, but sometimes it’s not enough. Depending on the size of your group, you might try other ways to remind people to enroll, including phone calls, posted notices or postcards.
[Photo credit: “Registration” from Official GDC on Flickr.]