Just Released: The 2024 State of the Arts Report - Your Blueprint for Arts Education Success

How To’s

  1. Choose the Best Registration Software – 5 Options Compared

    Education directors at nonprofits usually turn to class registration management software because they’re:

    • Ready to move away from manual payments and inefficient registration systems
    • Seeking time savings and want an efficient system to promote classes
    • Looking for a streamlined process for canceling classes and issuing refunds
    • Under pressure to provide better reporting and proof of impact

    Registration software saves time and reduces errors by allowing attendees or students to directly input their information. The best registration software systems also allow you to create reports and sync registrant data with other software including email, donor management, and event ticketing tools.

    How to Find the Best Registration Software for Your Organization

    We’ve compared 5 of the best registration software solutions. Our goal is to help you find the one that fits your needs. From adult education to kids camps and activities, we’ll walk you through the available options and show you where each one shines.

    If you’d rather skip the list and try a solution for yourself, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

    Options Compared:

    CourseStorm: Best Registration Software for Classes

    CourseStorm is the impossibly simple class registration software designed to help community education and arts and culture programs save time and enroll more students. CourseStorm’s cloud-based platform is the best class registration software for programs offering education to kids and adults.

    Key Feature 1 – Students register and pay seamlessly and securely online

    Some registration systems aren’t really systems at all. They cobble together multiple tools to gather information, share policies, and take payments. This results in lost information, frustrated students, and extra work for your team.

    CourseStorm streamlines the registration and payment process into a single mobile-friendly system with secure payment processing. Your students can register and pay quickly from wherever they happen to be. Meanwhile, your team can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time delivering the services and programs your patrons love.

    Key Feature 2 – Collect the exact information you need from students

    Some registration systems use the same form for every course. This leads to issues like adults having to answer questions about their age, when that’s really only relevant for kids classes. When you ask the right questions, you get the information you need and avoid frustrating registrants.

    CourseStorm’s custom registration forms make your process more efficient. You get the information you need and students get a quick and painless registration process. They type their information once and answer only the most pressing and relevant questions.

    For instance, if you’re running a kids’ class you will want to get emergency contact information for each student. You can easily customize the registration form in CourseStorm to collect this at the same time parents or caregivers register their child.

    Key Feature 3 – Easily cancel, change, or refund payments for classes

    Nobody likes canceling classes or issuing refunds, but it’s part of running an education program. People get sick, weather intervenes, and sometimes a class just doesn’t get the traction it deserves. When this happens, some software tools make you jump through hoops to cancel classes and issue refunds.

    Not CourseStorm. We made canceling, changing, and refunding payments for classes as simple as possible. You have full control and can make changes with the push of a button, no tech support required.

    Let’s say someone registers for a class held on a Tuesday. Their schedule changes, and they’d like to switch to the Saturday session instead. You can easily do this in CourseStorm, even if the classes are different prices.

    Key Feature 4 – Information about your program’s performance is at your fingertips and can be easily exported

    You should have complete access to your own data, yet some software solutions make it almost impossible to find what you’re looking for. They use proprietary systems, complex reports, or just don’t sort data in ways that make sense for you and your nonprofit.

    At CourseStorm, we recognize that reporting helps you make smart decisions and prove your program’s worth to your board or funders. That’s why we offer clear, intuitive reporting. Sort data in your CourseStorm dashboard, or export an Excel file for even more control.

    We’re always working to make reporting easier, more useful, and more streamlined. Right now, we’re working on AI-powered reporting to help you build custom reports. It will be available on our Pro plan soon. Stay tuned!

    We’re convinced that CourseStorm is the best registration software for nonprofits that need class registration and payment processing. But don’t take our word for it, start your free trial today and see for yourself.


    RegFox bills itself as event registration software. Classes come third on their list of priorities after conferences and camps. Marketed as easy to use, the system may be best suited to organizations looking for an alternative to Eventbrite and Cvent.

    They offer support for merchandise and product sales, social incentives, and editing and upgrading of existing orders. All of this is well-targeted to event management, but less relevant for class registration.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Synchronized reports
    • Host virtual events in platform
    • Multi-class registrations
    • Flexible forms


    Regpack was originally designed for billing automation. Unsurprisingly, they’re very focused on the billing aspect of registration. Theirs may be the best registration software for subscription-based programs. For example, a gym with a year-long contract might use it to collect monthly fees.

    They offer automatic course billing, discounts and variable pricing for learners, and a centralized registration database that features your branding. You can also share live-streamed or pre-recorded video content with registrants.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Mobile-ready
    • E-signature capabilities
    • Payment plans
    • Group registration


    Focused on kids classes, camps and events, Sawyer lists classes directly on their website. You can also embed listings on your own site. Because they’re kid-focused, they offer features like family profiles so parents can list authorized caregivers.

    Sawyer is a robust platform with many useful features, but the cost quickly adds up. Registrations made on their marketplace also incur a 30% “marketplace fee.” This fee shrinks as you upgrade your plan.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Kid-focused marketplace
    • Family profiles and group registration
    • Basic reporting
    • Online and in-person classes


    Jackrabbit helps gymnastics, dance, swim, cheer, and music programs register students. They focus specifically on schools or youth activity centers that offer these courses and their features are tailored to the needs of these types of schools.

    Jackrabbit includes a point-of-sale system for the front desk, skill-tracking so teachers can share student progress, and a time clock for tracking staff hours. All of these features make them the best class registration software for dance and gymnastics schools.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Built-in costume and recital management
    • Staff time clock
    • Skills tracking through parent portal
    • Made for dance and gymnastics classes

    Test and Find the Best Registration Software for You

    Hopefully this article has given you an idea of what registration software is available to you. Information is great, but we think the best way to choose registration software is by testing it out for yourself. Get your free trial of CourseStorm today and find out if our impossibly simple class registration software is right for you.

    All information current at the time of publication. Please verify prices before purchasing.

  2. How to Convince Your Nonprofit Board You Need Class Registration Software

    Your nonprofit arts education program has grown and your classes are in high demand. A small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers keeps things running, but they’re getting overwhelmed with administrative tasks. The process of registering students for classes using a cobbled-together system of free tools just isn’t efficient enough anymore. 

    Now, you want to convince the board of directors that your arts education program needs class registration software.

    Factors to Convince the Board You Need Class Registration Software

    When education directors at arts nonprofits start considering class registration software, many face the challenge of convincing the board of directors to make the investment. Our clients tell us there are four key factors they need to address to convince the board: 

    1. Budget and Return on Investment

    Nonprofit organizations often operate on tight budgets. At the same time, they have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by donors and funders. Your board will want any class registration solution to maximize return on investment. 

    2. Transition Management

    Adopting a new system means training staff, volunteers, and participants on how to use the software. Nonprofit organizations need software that is easy to learn and accessible from the devices stakeholders already use. A board may hesitate to make a change in case the transition is too much to handle. You need a solution that minimizes disruption and improves the user experience.

    3. Benefit to Participants

    Nonprofit boards are often especially concerned with how new technologies will support or benefit participants. They want to invest in tools that help them better serve their target population. Often, they choose investments based on whether they can improve the participant experience or boost satisfaction.

    4. Reporting for Impact Tracking and Decision Making

    Clear and accurate reporting is a special concern of nonprofit boards, because their impact and investment numbers help them secure funding and grants. An easy reporting system provides the right information at the right time. 

    Getting the Board on Board

    Building and administering an easy-to-use registration software for nonprofits has given us an inside look at what they need most. We created CourseStorm’s simple class registration software to be the solution boards could get excited about. Let’s take a closer look at what our system can do for your arts education program and how you can communicate the benefits to your board. 

    CourseStorm Class Registration Software

    Benefit #1: Return on Investment

    When budgets are tight, many organizations keep struggling with cobbled-together free solutions because they’re concerned about the investment of a yearly or monthly fee. CourseStorm ensures you only pay for the students you actually get. Our per-registration fee structure means that seasonal or periodic programs never pay for software they’re not using. 

    Benefit #2: Transitions Made Simple

    Many registration tools require in-depth training and lots of technical guidance. We believe a new solution doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, we’ve designed and refined CourseStorm to be as simple and intuitive as possible. As one of our customers recently said, “If you can use email, you can use CourseStorm.” 

    Adopting new software should be as simple and intuitive as possible. One of our customers said, “If you can use email, you can use CourseStorm.” 

    Even though our software is amazingly easy to use, we will still offer all the support you expect from a quality software solution. Email support and live group webinar onboarding guide you every step of the way. 

    Benefit #3: Ease of Use for Participants

    Participants get frustrated when they have to use multiple systems just to register for a class. Programs that ask students to bring cash or call to register during set business hours may drive them to look for other options. CourseStorm combines course registration and payment in one easy tool. Learners can register for classes, make payments, and even manage their account from their computer or smartphone at any time of the day or night. 

    They also get automated reminders about upcoming classes, an easy way to register multiple people in a single checkout, and the ability to join a waiting list if a class is full.

    Benefit #4: Reporting Made Simple

    Tracking registrants with manually built spreadsheets or multiple software systems invites errors into your reporting process. CourseStorm offers easy reporting at the push of a button. Whether you’re wondering how many students attended a particular class or looking for how this year’s registration numbers compare to last year’s, you’ll find that information easily. 

    We have a new AI-powered reporting feature in the works that even helps you build the exact report you’re looking for. You don’t have to be an Excel expert or use complicated form fields to find the data you need. 

    Google Forms: An Imperfect Solution

    Many nonprofits rely on Google Forms or similar solutions to help them collect information for course registration. While Google Forms is free to nonprofits, it’s also not built to handle the full course registration process. 

    Course registration is more than a form. It involves marketing, student communication, and payment processing. Class registration software does all of this, alleviating administrative burden.

    Course registration is more than a form. It involves elements of marketing, communication with registrants, and payment processing. Google Forms is great at collecting information, but it can’t process payments, doesn’t provide an accessible student portal, and can’t customize your reporting. 

    It may seem like a budget-conscious solution, but the added administrative burden creates added costs. Participants may also get frustrated when they can’t find, change, or pay for their registration without calling your office.

    An integrated registration and payment solution saves everyone time and reduces frustration all around. 

    Drop-in or Call-to-Register Inconveniences Students

    Speaking of ways to frustrate participants, asking students to call or drop in to register demands time and resources they may not have. It forces them to register when you’re open and have a staff member available. This may mean they delay registration or don’t bother to sign up at all. 

    Some programs try to solve this by asking registrants to pay on the day of the class. This puts the burden on instructors to collect and manage money. They have to track who has paid and potentially turn away students who forget or don’t have the right payment method available. This uses up valuable class time and may alienate students. 

    A fully online registration and payment system ensures that every learner is fully registered and paid before class begins. Instructors can focus on teaching so learners get the best possible experience. 

    Convince the Board to Streamline Class Registration with CourseStorm

    Cobbled-together systems built out of free tools make registration inefficient and frustrating for both learners and nonprofit organizations. To remove these challenges, you first have to convince the board that class registration software is worth the investment. 

    CourseStorm offers a streamlined solution with flexible payment options and accurate reporting. It’s user-friendly for staff, volunteers, and participants who can access essential information from their desktop or mobile devices.

    Show your board how easy class registration can be. Sign up for your free trial of CourseStorm today.

  3. Are You Confusing Your Customers? How to Craft Clearer Marketing Messages

    Jargon, buzzwords, industry speak — whatever you call it, most organizations have an internal language that doesn’t make sense to outsiders. That’s fine in a board meeting, but it can lead to confused customers when you’re marketing your classes. 

    Even the most down-to-earth organization can evolve its own language over time. What sounds like a perfectly clear offer to you can end up confusing your potential students. That’s a problem because people don’t buy what they can’t understand. 

    As part of our commitment to simplicity, we want to help you clarify your message. Let’s talk about how to notice when your message is confusing, and what you can do to fix it. 

    How to Tell if Customers Are Confused

    Most organizations could benefit from making their messaging clearer. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell that a message isn’t as clear as you thought. After all, you know what you mean. Keep an eye out for these four signals that you might have a messaging problem.

    1. People don’t seem to understand your offer. 
    2. You hear the same questions over and over.
    3. Registration is low overall (or for a specific class).
    4. You get no response from a normally engaged audience.

    Any of these four situations can point to a messaging problem. Stay alert for these signals, because most customers won’t reach out and say, “Hey, I didn’t understand your last email at all.” They’ll just ignore it. 

    Clearer messaging in your course marketing can lead to more engagement, fewer questions, and higher registration numbers.

    It’s up to you to notice that there’s a potential problem. Then you can test and see if clearer messaging leads to more engagement, fewer questions, and higher registration numbers. Before we get into how to do that, let’s consider some common sources of customer confusion. 

    Common Sources of Customer Confusion

    Any email, social media post, or class listing you publish has the potential to cause confusion. Everyone has their own perspective and context. So what’s perfectly clear to you might be as muddy as old paintbrush water to your students. Here are a few circumstances that often result in confused customers.

    Offering too many options in a single class listing or email. 
    You might think that offering lots of choices is the best way to meet student needs. In reality, too many choices can be overwhelming. If you’re offering multiple sessions or formats for the same class, set these up as unique course listings. 

    Assuming knowledge of your registration system or process. 
    You’ve been using the same system or process for a while, so you assume that everyone knows how to use it. Keep in mind that someone might have just discovered your program for the first time, and they won’t know anything about how it works. So you have to tell them. Include clear directions on where and how to register.

    Offering too many options, assuming people know how to register, and using unfamiliar jargon or language are all common sources of customer confusion.

    Sharing non-essential details in the class listing. 
    You don’t want to assume knowledge, but you also don’t want to bombard students with too much information. Think about which information they need to know up front, and what can wait until the first class. For example, the time and location of your class are essential, but you can wait until the first day to tell them that they’ll need to bring a photo of themselves to the third session.

    Using unconventional language in headings and descriptions.
    You may have strong opinions about how your industry should work. Sometimes that is reflected in the language you use. You might think that we should stop talking about “art” and start exploring creative play, but parents looking for an art class for their child may skip right past your listing for a creative play class because they don’t immediately understand what it means. 

    Besides, using common words and phrases helps people discover your classes. Try to use the words and phrases people are most likely to type into a search engine when looking for classes like yours.

    Using confusing language anywhere. 
    Jargon, acronyms, and overly formal language can confuse potential registrants. The word “dramaturgy” may be correct, but inviting students to a “playwriting” class is more straightforward. Unless you’re offering an advanced course, keep the language simple and accessible. 

    Are You Confusing Your Customers? Chart of 5 problems and solutions

    How to Fix Your Messaging Problem

    If you suspect you have a messaging problem, take action. The longer you delay, the more students are likely to miss out on your classes. Here’s a four-step process to help. 

    Step 1: Identify the source of the confusion using the list above.

    Step 2: Rewrite or redesign your message for clarity.

    Step 3: Talk to students and ask for feedback on the changes.

    Step 4: Monitor your results.

    The best way to tell if your changes worked is to track the number of questions and registrations you receive. If questions decrease and registrations increase, you’ve probably made your message clearer. 

    “We’ve increased enrollments and eliminated nearly all the phone calls we used to receive from confused parents.” – a CourseStorm customer

    By using CourseStorm, Princeton Academy of Art has reduced the time they previously spent managing enrollment by 80% and increased enrollments in their classes. In addition, “We’ve eliminated nearly all the phone calls we used to receive from confused parents,” they shared.

    One Last Tip to Eliminate Customer Confusion

    A convoluted registration process can confuse customers as quickly as poor messaging. CourseStorm’s integrated online registration and payment platform keeps registration simple. Registrants can easily fill out your registration form, pay for the class, and even get class meeting reminders all on one simple platform. 

    To see how easy it is, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

  4. How Much Should a Class Cost? A Simple Pricing Guide

    It can be difficult to put a price on a learning opportunity. You want your classes to be accessible to as many students as possible, but you also need to cover your costs. The price you set should acknowledge the value of the offering without giving students sticker shock. 

    Finding the balance can be tricky, which is why we’ve simplified things with this class pricing guide. While we can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer for what to charge, we can walk you through what to consider when setting class prices. 

    3-Step Class Pricing Guide

    To make class pricing simpler, we’ve broken the process down into three steps. These steps apply to every type of class or organization. At the end of this pricing guide, you’ll find recommendations for classes offered by nonprofits, different class formats, and special strategies.

    Step 1:  Calculate Your Overhead Plus Profit Margin

    Start by figuring out how much it will cost to offer the class. This includes some obvious things like the cost of materials, but also some less obvious things like the cost of marketing the class. 

    You may have to make some informed estimates here. The good news is that once you’ve done this, you can use similar figures for every class you offer. 

    Add up your:

    • Class materials
    • Instructor remuneration

    Then include a percentage of your:

    • Facilities and utilities
    • Marketing
    • Administration
    • Registration and student communication

    Add all this up and divide by the number of learners you expect to register for the class. This number represents the absolute minimum you can charge in most cases. (We’ll cover the exception in the Special Circumstance section below.) If your organization is for-profit, add in the profit margin you would like to make on the class. Most organizations aim for between 5% and 20% of the cost.

    For example: If a class costs you $20 per student and you want to make a 10% profit, you’ll add $20 + (20 x .10) = $22

    To make it easy, here’s our customizable Class Pricing Guide Calculator you can modify for your own use. 

    If you prefer to use Excel, you can download a copy of the calculator

    Screenshot of CourseStorm's Class Pricing Guide Calculator

    Step 2: Review the Market

    We don’t recommend copying another organization’s pricing structure. You don’t know enough about their business operations to guess if their strategy will work for you. However, it’s still smart to look around at what others are doing. 

    If your price is much higher than others in your area, learners may not register. If it’s too much lower, they may worry that your class isn’t valuable. Check with others offering similar classes to see what they charge. 

    A perfect match would be:

    • In the same subject
    • Offered in your city or area
    • Serving the same population
    • Offered in the same format
    • With the same class size

    The reality is that you may not be able to find a perfect match. That’s probably a good thing, because it means that the need is not already filled by that other class.

    If you can’t find a perfect match comparison, look for classes:

    • At your local college or extension center
    • In related subjects
    • Offered in a city of similar size to yours
    • Serving different populations
    • In different formats
    • With different class sizes

    Note how the class differs from yours and how that might affect the price. For example, classes offered by colleges are often more expensive than those offered by community nonprofits.

    Step 3: Consider the Value Your Class Offers Learners

    Remember that people tend to see price as an indicator of value. In some cases, lowering the price can actually make your class seem less attractive. It may signal to learners that the class isn’t all that valuable. 

    Value can be hard to pin down, but in general, you want to consider:

    • What skills students will learn
    • Whether the class saves them time or money
    • If the class makes them more employable by giving them a certificate or credential
    • How the class can change their daily life
    • What might happen if they don’t take the class
    • Other ways they could learn this skill or gain this knowledge

    A few other factors can affect value, including the number of students per class. Bigger class sizes generally equal lower value. Instructor reputation can also play a role. For example, students may be willing to pay more to take a writing class from an award-winning author. 

    Adjusting the Pricing Guide for Special Circumstances

    If you’ve followed the three steps above, you should have a ballpark idea of what your pricing should be. If your organization is a nonprofit, offering online classes, or wants to attract more students, read on for extra guidance.

    Pricing Guide Considerations for Nonprofit Organizations

    When setting pricing, nonprofits should consider the purpose of their classes. If classes are core to your mission, you may want to make some classes free or charge a nominal fee. Some nonprofits offer classes that are an extension of their mission and can help to fund more essential functions. In that case, you’ll want to do more than just cover the cost of the class.

    In-Person Versus Online Classes

    Whether a class is online or in-person can impact the perceived value. Online classes may face more competition, since students have access to sites like Coursera, EdX and even YouTube. You may need to match these prices, or make an extra effort to prove why yours are more valuable than these large-scale offerings. 

    One way to show value is by marketing to students in your local area. Lean in to the idea that they’re supporting a community nonprofit or small business. If you have an office where they can call or walk in for support, that’s even better.

    Special Pricing to Attract More Students

    In some cases, low cost or even free classes can pay off for your program. They can encourage people to try your classes. Many dance, fitness, and yoga studios do this as a way to get more people to try out their offerings.

    If you choose to offer a loss leader class, pick it carefully. It should be an introductory level course that accurately represents what your program offers. You might even create a special survey or intro course for this purpose.

    Don’t Forget a Yearly Pricing Review!

    Remember that class pricing isn’t like a rotisserie oven, you can’t just set it and forget it. Do a pricing review every year or so to make sure your classes are still well-priced for the market and matched to the class value. 

    Review your prices every year to make sure your classes are still well-priced for the market and matched to the value they offer.

    If you think it might be time to raise your prices, don’t worry. We have a guide for that too. Learn how you can raise prices without upsetting students.

  5. Staff Training Made Simple: How to Use CourseStorm to Empower Your Instructors

    Instructors are the lifeblood of your education program. These are the people who have the most direct connection with the learners who take your classes. Many of CourseStorm’s customers have told us that some of their instructors have cult-like followings of students who will take any class they teach. So training your instructors and teaching artists on the tools you use to run your organization makes sense. Here are some benefits of showing your teaching staff how to use CourseStorm. 

    Simple Access to Class Data

    Most teaching artists are creatives, not techies. That’s not to say they can’t use technology, but most artistic types would rather practice their art or dream up new projects for their students than figure out a complicated software platform.

    “Not only is CourseStorm easy for me to use, but it’s also really easy for me to train a teaching artist to use.” – A theatre customer

    Another thing we hear frequently from our customers is that learning CourseStorm’s class registration software takes so little time compared to others.

    Elana Kepner, education director at Marin Shakespeare Company said, “I’ve worked for other arts organizations, so I can speak from the perspective of various kinds of registration. I really appreciate that not only is CourseStorm easy for me to use, but it’s also really easy for me to teach a teaching artist to use without taking a huge chunk out of our training time so that they can access information as they need it.”

    In fact, CourseStorm training for instructors basically consists of setting them up with a staff login and giving them access to their class data. That’s it. Once instructors are logged in, they can:

    • View the class(es) they are scheduled to teach 
    • View class rosters of enrolled students
    • Print or export rosters into Excel
    • View individual student info
    • Email students 
    • View class waiting list, if any
    • View cancelled registrations, if any

    Here’s a short video that shows what your instructors see when they login to CourseStorm:

    CourseStorm | FYI: What Your Instructors See

    Don’t worry about instructors “messing up” anything in the system or on your course website. They can only access the information above. They can’t add, edit, or delete any data. They also can’t perform any financial transactions. 

    Empower Instructors By Training Them on How to Use CourseStorm

    One of the key benefits of CourseStorm is that it saves programs time. Nonprofits are notorious for having to do more with less, and our class registration software eases the administrative burden for office staff, volunteers, instructors, and teaching artists. Registrations are completed online, rather than over the phone or by email.

    Data integrates seamlessly with your donor management system, rather than requiring time-consuming and tedious data entry. 

    CourseStorm’s benefits extend to teaching artists as well. When they can access their class rosters and student data directly, it cuts out the middleman and empowers instructors to manage their class themselves. They can email their class to send them a supply list or remind them of an upcoming schedule change, for example. 

    Two of CourseStorm’s newest features are designed to make things even easier for instructors: mobile instructor admin and attendance tracking.

    CourseStorm is always adding new features, and two of our newest ones are designed to make things even easier for instructors. Our new mobile instructor admin area gives teaching artists the ability to access everything they need on the go, since we know not many of them are sitting behind a desk all day. This new version will replace our existing instructor admin area for all customers with access to that feature and is available in our Pro plan for new customers.

    Our new attendance tracking feature lets instructors take attendance and view attendance history right from their phones or tablets.

    Many community education instructors and teaching artists teach classes for several different organizations. If those programs use CourseStorm, it’s even easier since instructors can use the same login to access all of their classes that are offered through CourseStorm. 

    What CourseStorm Training Is Available? 

    If you’re curious about what CourseStorm can do but want to see for yourself, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial. This allows you to create a demo site on your own, with helpful guidance that walks you through the steps of how to build and use a CourseStorm site for your class registrations. 

    If you do decide to become a customer, we offer weekly live onboarding or on-demand videos, depending on your plan, that show you how to use CourseStorm right away. “Our software is very intuitive. It’s easy for someone to set up a site in an evening or a weekend,” said Hayli, CourseStorm’s customer onboarding lead. 

    If you are a teaching artist or work with them, read and share these other helpful articles: Educating Arts Educators: 6 Ideas for Professional Development and 5 Ways Art Teachers Can Balance Teaching and Creating Art. Be sure to subscribe to our blog below so you don’t miss a thing!

  6. How to Build an Email List for Effective Email Marketing

    How to build an email list is one of the great puzzles of marketing. You know you need one because everyone keeps talking about how effective email marketing is. Yet, you know from your own experience how crowded people’s inboxes have become. Under these conditions, convincing people to give you their email address seems like a big task. 

    Email is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to market your classes.

    Fortunately, building an email list can be easier than it looks. Your learners and prospective learners want to hear about upcoming classes and new programs, so you’re actually doing them a favor by giving them a chance to put themselves on the list. Let’s explore how to build an email list for effective email marketing.

    Why Learn How to Build an Email List

    Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to increase enrollment and build your program. Here’s why: 

    Email marketing is cost-effective

    Email newsletter programs, like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, let you send emails for a small monthly fee. CourseStorm Core plan customers get marketing emails built in. 

    Reach your audience directly. 

    People opt in to your email list because they’re interested in what you have to offer. You can reach them directly and without worrying whether an algorithm will choose to feature your content.

    Offer seamless class registration. 

    A link in your email can take recipients directly to your course catalog or registration page. They can take action right away. This creates a seamless process for registrants and helps you keep classes full. 

    You own your list. 

    Most importantly, your email list belongs to you, not to the platform. If your social media account is compromised or advertising costs suddenly increase, you may lose access to your audience. Not so with email. Your contact list belongs to you, and you can keep your contacts if you switch to another email service provider.

    Infographic: How to build an email list

    How to Build an Email List: 5 Strategies

    Of course, actually building the list is the hard part. You might be starting with just a couple of hundred contacts, or none at all. Here are 5 simple strategies that can help build your email list. 

    1. Ask for an email on every form. Whether they’re using an online form or a paper copy, include an email address field on every form you ask students to fill out. Most students will be happy to share this information so they can get updates about their class. 

    2. Put an opt-in on your website. People interested enough to visit your website may want to hear more from you in the future. Add a banner, pop-up, or embedded form to collect their email addresses so you can stay in touch.

    3. Offer a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a useful resource that you offer in exchange for someone’s email. It should be something closely related to what you teach. For example, we offer a downloadable pack of email templates to simplify course communication.

    4. Publish a blog or newsletter. Sharing useful content in the form of a blog or newsletter can encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. They may be willing to subscribe to make sure they never miss an update.

    5. Ask for emails during conversations. Get in the habit of asking for an email address whenever anyone calls or walks into your organization.

    You can automate some of this data collection with CourseStorm. Our online registration system automatically collects an email address from every registrant so you can send emails to people in a specific class, or your entire email list. 

    Email List Maintenance: The Care and Keeping of Contacts

    Having someone’s email address is a responsibility. Learners and community members have entrusted you with their personal information. If you protect it and use it wisely, you’ll build trust. But, if you abuse the privilege, people will stop opening your emails or even block you as spam. 

    Follow a few best practices to keep the contacts you have on your list. 

    1. Get permission to add someone to your list. Asking first makes your emails less likely to be marked as spam.

    2. Write useful and interesting emails. People are more likely to read, and share, quality content.

    3. Craft compelling subject lines. Interesting subject lines help your email stand out in a crowded inbox.

    4. Personalize campaigns with name and class information. Something as simple as adding the recipient’s name to the subject can make an email feel more personal.

    5. Match emails to learner interests. Use tags and groups to organize your email list so you can easily send relevant emails.

    6. Remove inactive subscribers. If people aren’t reading or opening your emails, remove them from the list. This saves you money on email service providers and helps you focus on active list members.

    7. Make it easy to unsubscribe. Include a simple button or link that lets people opt out so they don’t have to block your emails as spam. 

    8. Send special offers only for people on the list. Make contacts feel special by offering early bird registration, sharing discount codes, or sending news out by email before it hits social media.

    9. Invite feedback and two-way communication. Questions, surveys, and other invitations to share feedback can help email feel like a conversation your audience is happy to continue.

    What to Do After You Build an Email List

    Many organizations use email lists for marketing. That could include nurturing relationships with both potential and former students. Think about what these different audiences might be interested in and create content with them in mind. 

    CourseStorm customers at the Core features level and above have access to automated class recommendation emails that notify learners of upcoming classes they might find interesting. You can also set up automatic enrollment warning emails when a class is almost full or in danger of being canceled. 

    If you want to explore other ways to communicate with students through email, these 5 email templates will help you engage students and make the most of your email list.

  7. How to Collect and Use Student Feedback to Build Better Programs

    Requests for feedback show up on menus, in marketing emails, and even on the back of long-haul trucks. They pop up anywhere organizations interact with the general public. Your education program should be no exception. Collecting student feedback can help you improve your programs and better support your learners. 

    Most people recognize that feedback is important. What may be less clear is how to collect student feedback and what to do once you have it. Some people also worry about asking for feedback too often or how to handle negative feedback. Here is everything you need to know to create an effective feedback funnel for your education program. 

    Student Feedback: Your Most Valuable Resource

    Feedback can do three important things. First, it gives you information to make decisions about your program and class offerings. Feedback can help you measure progress toward student satisfaction goals. It can also show you where there’s room for improvement in your classes or registration process.

    Only about 4% of customers will tell you if they’re unhappy. Asking students for feedback helps you catch and fix issues early and increases loyalty.

    Second, asking for feedback helps you catch issues early. Many students won’t complain about small irritations, but they might decide to register somewhere else next time. In fact, only about 4% of dissatisfied customers will tell you they’re unhappy. Specifically requesting feedback can help increase that percentage so you can do something about it.

    Third, feedback helps strengthen relationships between programs and learners. A study by Harvard Business Review found that customers were more loyal after being asked for feedback. Just asking for their opinion shows students you care about them and what they have to say.

    Student Feedback Flowchart: 5 steps to collect & use feedback

    Setting Feedback Goals

    Clearly defining your reason to get feedback will help you craft an approach that will provide you with the best information. Get clear on what you want to know and why you want to know it. Here are some questions that feedback can help answer:

    • Why are we not getting the repeat students that we expect?
    • How can we increase student referrals?
    • Why do we have higher class registrations on specific days?
    • Why are students enrolling in our program vs. other programs?
    • How do our tuition and fees compare to our students’ expectations?
    • How do we compare to other competing activities in our area?
    • Are we meeting our students’ needs?
    • What’s the overall satisfaction level with our current program?
    • Should we stop offering this specific class, or are there things we can do to improve it?

    Being clear about what you want to know can help you avoid overwhelming students with too many unrelated questions. 

    Two Broad Types of Student Feedback

    You can gather two broad types of feedback: Solicited and unsolicited. Both are useful in different ways and combining them will often lead to the most accurate insights. 

    Unsolicited feedback is the thoughts or feelings your students share without being asked. You get this feedback by:

    • Watching how students behave
    • Monitoring social media and third-party review sites
    • Tracking customer engagement and retention
    • Listening to student comments 

    Relying exclusively on spontaneous feedback can mean you only hear the extremes. Students are more likely to speak up when they’re either delighted or angry. For a more nuanced look, create opportunities for intentional sharing.

    Solicited feedback is information you collect in a structured way by asking customers for their insights. You get this feedback by: 

    How to Collect Student Feedback

    Students invited to give feedback should be told why they should participate, how long the process will take, and how their feedback will be used. Follow these best practices for optimum results: 

    1. Ask a mix of focused and broad questions

    A survey or feedback form should offer a real opportunity for students to share their experience and opinions. Asking a mix of focused and broad questions helps you find answers to specific questions, but also creates an opening for students to share what’s on their minds.

    Focused question: On a scale of 1 to 5, how easy was our registration process? 

    Broad question: What could we do better? 

    Broad questions help you collect feedback you might otherwise miss. For example, you may wonder about whether you’re offering the right classes, but students are more concerned about the timing of those classes.

    2. Request consent to share

    Feedback forms and surveys can sometimes deliver useful gems that could become testimonials. If you hope to use feedback in marketing materials, ask for consent. 

    Consent to share: Do you give us permission to use your survey responses in print and online  marketing materials for the purposes of promoting our courses and programs?

    While we’re talking about consent, make sure that respondents know who will see the information and how it will be used. Let them know who will have direct access to the results.

    3. Gather demographic data

    Demographic data can reveal whether you’re reaching your target audience. It may also help you flag diversity and inclusion issues. Ask some basic questions about the person giving feedback so you have context for their opinions.

    Basic demographics: age, race, income level, gender, employment, level of education

    Targeted demographics: disabilities, veteran status, location, family and dependents, housing situation, primary language

    You don’t need to ask all of these questions on every survey. Pick and choose the ones that align with your goals and information needs.

    Tools for Collecting Feedback 

    Course evaluations – Used to collect feedback about a specific course or class. Course evaluation questions ask about the class content, instructor, teaching methods, and assignments. You can use online tools like Google Forms or printed evaluations handed out in class.

    Customer feedback form – Used to collect feedback about the customer experience. These forms might ask about ease of registration, pricing, service, or other elements related to the transaction. You can use Google Forms, or build these questions directly into your registration forms.

    Social media polls – Used to collect information from the general public. These are useful for deciding whether to offer a class or getting to know your audience. Various social media platforms allow you to create polls. Using the built-in tools is usually more effective than a DIY solution.

    Interviews – Used to gather more in-depth information from specific students. Interviews can be labor-intensive, but may also reveal more nuanced details. Prepare questions in advance and make sure to take notes or record the conversation.

    What to Do With All That Feedback Data

    Start by organizing your data. Enter all of the responses into a spreadsheet. Many of the online survey forms will do this for you automatically. Make sure to clean up any duplicate or missing data. Then rank or otherwise organize data into logical groupings. You might split positive and negative data or group it by customer demographics.

    Next, look for patterns. Do you see themes coming up repeatedly? Are there some questions that people tend to skip? Look for trends in demographics as well as responses. You might also want to highlight answers that are particularly strong. 

    Then, create visualizations. Make charts, graphs, or highlight sheets to make this data useful for your whole team. Some online survey tools have templates that can help with data visualizations.  

    How to Use Student Feedback to Improve Programs

    If you gather feedback, but don’t use it, students will stop answering your questions. Student feedback is only valuable if you apply it. 

    Identify which feedback you plan to act on. Some problems can be easily solved with a new tool or messaging, others require a bigger investment. Discuss what’s possible, then identify strategies and timelines.

    Don’t forget to tell your students what you’re up to. Showing them how their feedback is used can build trust and make them more likely to respond in the future. That kind of transparency creates loyalty, the greatest gift an enrollment-based program can have. Here’s an example of how PrimeLife Arts Learning created a promotional video from student feedback they collected.

    Now that you know how to collect and use student feedback, use our customizable course evaluation template to get started gathering feedback that can improve your classes.

  8. Why You Should Promote Experiences as Gifts and How to Do It for Christmas Shoppers

    With the holiday gift-giving season approaching fast, arts organizations are looking for ways to promote their classes to Christmas shoppers and those celebrating other winter holidays. The good news is that many people are already on board with the idea of giving experiences as gifts. What holds them back is often the logistics. It’s easy to stick a video game under the tree, but how do you package violin lessons? 

    Help holiday shoppers give the gift of an experience like classes or tickets to a performance by highlighting all the reasons these make great gifts.

    Arts organizations can help holiday shoppers give the gift of an experience like classes or tickets to a performance by highlighting all the reasons these make great gifts.

    If you want Christmas shoppers and other gift-givers to consider purchasing classes for friends and family, you first need to highlight all the reasons your classes make great gifts. Then you have to support the gift-giving experience by helping them package their gift in a way that feels meaningful. We’ll address this one step at a time. 

    Reasons to Give Experiences as Gifts Rather Than Stuff

    Consumer Reports found that, among all age groups, people derive more happiness from experiences than from material goods. The desire for quality time with friends and family has increased more than ever since the pandemic. Even so, Christmas shoppers may not think of your classes or performances as possible gifts unless you explicitly make the connection for them. 

    Giving experiences as gifts gives the recipient skills or memories that last a lifetime. It’s also more eco-friendly and a great last-minute gift option!

    Here are some ways you can frame your marketing messages to reach Christmas shoppers and other gift-givers: 

    A gift for a lifetime. As children grow up, they may fall out of love with this year’s trending toy, but they’ll always have the skills they learned in pottery class. Creating something with your own hands is exciting no matter what your age. Young children can get a kick out of making art to hang on the family fridge, while teens may be excited to learn how to knit a scarf themselves. Creative aging programs are built upon the idea that older people want to continue to build skills as they age, as well.

    Give the gift of connection. Our world is suffering from a loneliness epidemic. A new poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults feel lonely, with the rates highest among young adults ages 19 to 29. Participating in art classes and activities helps provide a sense of community and connectedness. This is especially important for certain populations like veterans

    It’s more eco-friendly. A recent study by NielsenIQ found that 78% of U.S. consumers say that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them. If you know your community is environmentally conscious, play up that angle in your class marketing efforts. An educational experience beats unwanted material goods ending up in the trash. 

    Experiential gifts are a smart last-minute option. Let’s face it: the holidays are a busy time of year. It can be tough to shop, wrap, and ship gifts in time. If you have rolling admissions for your classes, open seats at an upcoming performance, or other opportunities available that would make good gifts, let your customers and community know. Then all they have to do on the actual holiday is give the recipient a card or email notifying them of their gift.  

    Experience Gifts for Couples: Classes They’ll Love

    Offering couples classes is a great way to attract customers who want to give experiences as gifts. Cooking classes, ballroom dancing, and jewelry making are all good gift experiences for couples, but those are just the beginning. Mixology classes, a terrarium workshop, or anything else couples can do together make great gifts. 

    From cooking classes to jewelry making to mixology, offering couples classes is a great way to attract customers who want to give the gift of quality time and connection.

    CourseStorm’s head of marketing, Nic, and her husband attended a restorative foraging class in their community. Guided by a sustainability expert from a local university, they walked around outdoors and identified lots of native and non-native plants and learned about how to process acorns for acorn flour. “It was fascinating to learn about foraging through this lens and to try something new,” she said. 

    Pro tip: Offering couples classes is also a great way to boost your website’s SEO and help people find your classes online. “Couples classes near me” is a very popular search term, so if you offer couples classes, be sure to state this clearly on your website, in your online course catalog and course descriptions, and on your social media platforms. 

    For more specifics, read our article on how to promote couples classes for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays throughout the year.

    Christmas Shoppers Want Something to Wrap

    Even Christmas shoppers who are already convinced that giving experiences as gifts is a good idea may hesitate because they want the recipient to have something to unwrap. Many people find joy in watching someone unwrap a gift. This is especially true for people giving gifts to kids. Help shoppers overcome this obstacle by offering something tangible to go with the experiential gift. 

    • Branded merch – If you already have branded merchandise, offer a magnet, mug, tote bag or tee-shirt to anyone purchasing classes as gifts during the holiday season.

    • Gift shop merchandising – If your organization has a gift shop, set up a small section with inexpensive gifts relevant to different classes. This could include pencils and a sketchbook for an art class, an adult and child apron set for a cooking class, or Shakespear magnets and stickers for a theater class.

    • Printed certificates – Printed certificates can be placed in an envelope or even wrapped in a box with some tissue paper. Print some fillable certificates on high-quality paper and give them away with gift orders. 

    Many people find joy in unwrapping and watching others unwrap a gift. Help holiday shoppers by offering something tangible to go along with the experience they’re gifting.

    Even if your organization doesn’t offer these things, with a bit of imagination, you can help your customers come up with a tangible item to gift alongside the experience. Here are just a few ideas: 

    • Paintbrushes, pencils, or pastels along with a sketchbook for someone you’re gifting a session of art classes

    • Funny Shakespeare magnets or stickers for a teen you’ve signed up for theater camp

    • An adult and child apron set to go along with a grandparent-and-grandchild cooking class

    • A basket of colorful yarn for someone enrolled in a knitting or crochet class

    • A monogrammed journal for a person you’re giving a writing class or poetry workshop

    • Safety glasses or work gloves to go along with a wood or metalworking workshop at a makerspace

    For more creative and unique ideas to go with your experiential gifts, check out UnCommon Goods and MoMA Design Store. Visitors can search by interest, price range, recipient, and even eco-friendly products.

    Making it easy for people to give your classes as gifts, such as by offering group registrations and promo codes, is a smart marketing strategy all year round.

    Making it easy for people to give your classes as gifts is a smart marketing strategy all year round. Consider offering discounts or promo codes to encourage gift-giving, and allow group registrations to simplify the process for students who want to give and take a class with a loved one. CourseStorm has all of these features and more.  

  9. Smart Student Retention Strategies to Keep Learners Coming Back to Your Classes

    Keeping the customers you have is easier than attracting new ones. People who have previously enrolled in your classes already know and trust you. Offering high-quality courses is a good start, but this alone is not enough to create student loyalty. You also need smart student retention strategies to keep learners — and their friends and families — coming back for more. 

    It all comes down to each person’s experience with your organization. The right student retention strategies can keep them engaged from registration through follow-up. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to enroll in your program. Then, offer support and a sense of community to keep them coming back.

    We’re sharing some useful student retention strategies we’ve discovered over years of helping learning experience providers like you. 

    Through our years helping learning experience providers register and retain students, we’ve discovered some useful student retention strategies. Now we’re sharing them with you. 

    But first, we need to make an important point: every program needs to think about student loyalty, even if you offer courses learners are unlikely to repeat.

    Student Retention Strategies Matter, Even If You Offer One-Off Courses

    When you provide learning experiences, it’s not always obvious why student loyalty is important. You might be teaching professional development courses that students take only once in their career. Maybe you offer a retirement planning class, and people only plan for retirement once. This can make it feel like student retention strategies aren’t necessary for you. 

    Retention is about more than repeat business. It’s also about creating a community of people who will happily recommend you to others.

    However, even programs that offer one-off classes can benefit from thinking about student loyalty. Retention is about more than repeat business, it’s also about building a community of people who will happily recommend you to friends, family, and coworkers. 

    If you have done the work of creating a high-quality experience, students are more likely to recommend your program. Increase the odds even more by putting smart student retention strategies in place.

    Smart Student Retention Strategies: 6 Tips for Education Programs

    6 Student Retention Strategies to Apply Today

    1. Set Clear Expectations

    Some surprises are good. Others, not so much. Offering a better learning experience than students expected is a good surprise. In general, though, students should know what to expect when they enroll in your classes. 

    Tell them upfront about any prerequisites, the expected time commitment, and what tools or materials they’ll need. If you don’t clearly communicate these details, some students might drop out part way through a class. Others might power through, but choose not to register for another class or recommend your program. 

    Well-designed course catalogs and registration forms can help you avoid unpleasant surprises. Make sure you include all the details that students need to succeed.

    2. Make Registration Easy

    People tend to avoid unpleasant tasks. The more time-consuming and difficult something is, the more likely you are to put it off until tomorrow. Even if you offer an exceptional class experience, students may not re-enroll if they know the registration process will be difficult. 

    Make class registration as easy as possible by simplifying registration forms, offering online registration, and integrating secure payment options. When you make registration simple, students are more likely to enroll again and again. 

    Features like mobile registration, online payments, and friends and family registration are more than conveniences, they’re student retention strategies. 

    3. Create Feelings of Belonging to Keep Student Retention High

    Your third grade teacher was right: People won’t remember what you say, only how you made them feel. Everyone wants to feel like they belong. You can improve student retention by building a learning community. This is especially important for online classes where students may not get the chance to socialize. 

    You can use social media or email to: 

    • Post instructor profiles
    • Share snapshots of classes in session
    • Show off the results of a session (artworks from an art class, food from a cooking class, shelters built during a survival class)
    • Ask students to share photos of themselves using their new skills in their community
    • Host Q&As or free information sessions
    • Publicly congratulate students on their successes

    Even online students tend to enroll in courses that are close to home. By claiming your place in the community, you invite students to engage more deeply with your programs. 

    4. Show Students What to Do Next

    Adult ed and enrichment classes are often designed to stand alone. A student could take just one course and learn the basics about cooking, accounting, or wilderness survival. But if you want to keep students coming back you need to show them how your classes fit together. 

    Highlight connections between courses by: 

    • Grouping classes together in your course catalog 
    • Emailing current students a list of related classes based on their interests
    • Asking students in feedback surveys if they’d like information about related classes
    • Asking instructors to mention upcoming classes to their current students

    To improve student retention, you need to let students know what other classes you offer.

    5. Keep the Conversation Going

    Asking someone for their feedback helps build trust, especially if you demonstrate a real willingness to change. At or near the end of each class, invite students to fill out an evaluation form. Not only does this show students that you care about their opinion, it also makes you aware of opportunities to improve your courses. 

    When the class is over, your student retention strategies kick into high gear. Ask students to opt-in to email marketing about upcoming courses. That way you can email them when your new course catalog comes out or when registration opens for classes that might interest them.

    More programs are also starting to interact with students via text message. They’re a powerful student retention strategy because they give you a direct line to your learners. 

    And remember that social media is more than a way to remind people about upcoming classes. You can use it to stay connected with learners and build community. 

    6. Remove Barriers to Student Retention

    Think about what might actively prevent learners from registering. An amazing learning experience might as well not exist if students can’t access it. So think about what might prevent them from finishing a course or re-enrolling. 

    Pro Tip: Money can be a barrier for many students. Help minimize this worry by offering payment plans for big-ticket courses. You might also show your appreciation to returning students by offering special discounts. Also, consider group discounts or family discounts to encourage referrals. 

    The Most Powerful Student Retention Strategy

    Ultimately, the most powerful way to improve student retention is to offer high-quality classes worth coming back for. Build an engaged community of learners, keep them informed about your other course offerings, and make it easy for students to register — and re-register, so they keep coming back class after class.

    Among CourseStorm customers, 33% of registrations come from returning students. Learn more insights like this in our free report. 

    Don’t let a focus on new students keep you from nurturing relationships with former and current students. Among CourseStorm customer programs, 33% of registrations come from returning students. Balance your marketing efforts between existing and prospective students. Read more surprising insights like this in our free State of Informal Learning Report.

  10. How to Offer Course Scheduling That Works Best for Your Learners

    People who register for your courses may be excited about your classes and eager to learn. Yet they also have lives full of other demands and responsibilities. If your course scheduling doesn’t fit learner needs, registrations may stay lower than you hoped. An inconvenient class time can keep even the most interested student from enrolling. 

    Unfortunately, most of the advice on course scheduling is written for colleges and universities. It assumes that students have to take certain classes and are enrolled either full- or part-time. But learners in enrichment, arts and culture, and adult education programs have different needs.

    Course scheduling for college students is different from scheduling courses adult learners take for fun or personal development. Most people won’t rearrange their life to take a class that’s inconvenient. 

    Most of these learners take classes for fun or personal development. In most cases, they won’t rearrange their life just to take a class that’s inconvenient or hard to access. The upshot is that programs need to offer classes on days and times that work for learners. Doing that takes some research, here’s how to get started.

    Course Scheduling Tips for Education Programs from CourseStorm

    How to Tell if Your Course Schedule Needs an Overhaul

    Keep in mind that some problems can’t be solved with course scheduling. If you’re not getting visitors to your website or course catalog, focus on promoting courses. If potential students drop out part way through your registration process, you might need a simpler student registration system. But if all of that looks good and registration is still low, class times might be the issue.

    Keep an eye out for warning signs that your course scheduling isn’t working. You might have an issue if: 

    • People seem excited about your classes but don’t enroll. 
    • Learners complain about the class meeting times.
    • Students often show up late, leave early, or skip classes due to schedule conflicts. 

    These are the clearest signs of a problem with your course scheduling. You can also look at data to spot trends that might be less readily apparent.

    Look for Trends in Course Scheduling Data

    Direct feedback from learners is a clear indicator that something needs to change, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the people who aren’t signing up at all. Registration data can help you recognize course scheduling issues that might keep people from registering.

    Review your registration data and ask:

    • Do classes offered in certain time-slots attract fewer students? 
    • Do classes at certain times get clicks or inquiries that don’t convert?
    • Are registrations low for multiple course offerings at a specific time or on a specific day?

    Have you had to cancel a class due to low enrollment? If so, your course scheduling may be to blame. Consider offering the class on a different day or time.

    CourseStorm users can export registration data directly to Excel from CourseStorm. When you review your data, look for classes that got canceled or have low enrollment. Are they clustered around particular times of day? Also, look at classes that have a waitlist. Are there any commonalities in the timing of those high-performing classes?

    Ask Students for Their Course Scheduling Preferences

    Some programs hesitate to ask current, former and potential students about their course scheduling preferences. They believe that gathering feedback is difficult or that students won’t answer anyway. However, a direct ask really is the best way to get the information you’re looking for, and it can be easy with the right tools. 

    3 ways to survey students about course scheduling preferences: 

    1. Email your survey to learners and prospects.
    2. Send out an SMS text message to your contact list.
    3. Widen your sample pool by posting a poll on social media.

    Make sure your survey question is focused enough that learners want to answer it. A question like “When would you attend classes?” is too vague. Try something like, “What time of day would you prefer to attend a theater arts class?” Then offer a few options they can choose from.

    An open-ended question might feel most inclusive, but it’s also less likely to yield useful answers. Format your question as a multiple-choice to keep people from overthinking their response. For extra insight, invite people to leave comments that explain their answers.

    Course Scheduling Survey Template

    We’ve developed a customizable Google form that you can use to survey your students about their course scheduling preferences. Simply click on the link below to copy the form, modify it to meet your needs, and send it to students to gather feedback:

    Course Scheduling Survey Template

    CourseStorm's Student Survey_Course Scheduling

    Consider Possible Scheduling Conflicts 

    Are there certain times of day or days of the week when traffic is high or other events are happening? Consider how you might schedule around these.

    Even if your classes are online, most of your learners will come from your town and the surrounding area. So check the town calendar for possible conflicts. Obviously, you can’t avoid every conflict, but if concerts regularly play in your town on Thursdays, you may find enrollment dips for Thursday classes. Adjust your course scheduling accordingly. 

    If your learners are parents or K-12 students, you’ll need to schedule classes around school calendars. We recommend offering classes immediately after school and increasing your options in the summer.

    Older learners could be retired and able to attend classes during the daytime, but some may prefer not to drive at night. We recommend early morning and midafternoon classes to reach this audience.

    Learners who work full-time might prefer mid-to-late evening classes that give them time to grab dinner after work. We recommend starting classes for these learners around 6 in the evening. You can also schedule classes on the weekend.

    Offer Alternative Class Formats

    You may not be able to schedule the perfect class times for every student, but you can offer them more choices. On-demand and online classes can help you reach students with unusual schedules. 

    For maximum flexibility, consider asynchronous online classes. The on-demand nature of these classes removes all course scheduling concerns.  Students can access the course material when and where they want to. 

    Although there are drawbacks to these kinds of courses, alternative formats can make your classes more accessible to more students.

    Simple Registration for Every Course Schedule

    Offering the right course at the right time is a good start. Next, you need to register students. That’s where CourseStorm comes in.

    Having the right registration software in place is important to help your program run more efficiently and register more students. Choosing the right option for your education program can be a challenge so we researched how to compare registration software options to help you find the perfect fit for your program.

Older posts