Help students practice strategies

Make Them Practice

In this post, I share ideas on how to motivate students to practice and apply the big strategies you are teaching – the ultimate goal of any course. This post is part of a series on creating personalized, online & offline learning that modern students crave – I call this method, Backyard Blended Learning.

Backyard blended learning series

It’s common knowledge that the reason people provide courses (outside of making income) is to teach someone to do something. But the question becomes, are they really able to perform what you expected?

Unless you have your learners submit a project or evidence of their learning, you don’t really know.

Considering that homework isn’t really checked, how can we help and motivate our students to apply the ideas with zest?

Model It

By providing your students with an excellent full example of what the work should look like when completed, you are modelling the outcome.

Modelling is the most powerful way to teach.

Think of the concept of apprenticeship. A novice worker watches an expert as she or he builds something, creates art or performs in a certain way. They learn by watching the pro craft their craft.

It’s a bit like, monkey see-monkey do, but it works. We grow up learning how to be human beings by watching those around us. Our brains are wired that way to learn.

Seem like a lot of work? Uhm, ya. But you can leverage this needed addition across all students and impact their ability to perform as you taught them.

Share It

A typical way to share with others in current online courses is to post something in a online forum or group setting, like Facebook.

But what about them sharing their work within the real context? For instance, within their own business, or corporate group or even with a valued client or boss?

Doesn’t this make more sense? The feedback will be much richer and realistic as the strategies being applied are within a setting where they need to be applied.

You can encourage learners to do this with some guidance, such as:

  • How to prepare the work to share
  • How to find a mentor(s) to share it with
  • How to present the work so others understand the purpose
  • How to ask for constructive feedback
  • How to amend their work
  • How to finalize and launch the work

Buddy Up

Another way to help your learners successfully apply their projects or new work is to get them to meet up (in person or online) with other keen people to support each other after the course is over.

A course is full of like-minded people who are on the same learning curve. It’s also an addition to one’s network, so why not leverage it?

How the people group or where they connect or how they apply their final piece of work is on them. It’s not for you to intervene or arrange it.

Let them take responsibility for it.


Those are few ideas on how you can implement more success into your course and feel good knowing that your students will apply the learning, and your hard work from teaching them. The goal is to make them practice and apply your big strategies.

Be the course that cares!