Top 7 Reasons Why Online Courses Fail: Check & Not Do These

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Article by Nelli Gevorgyan

Content writer

Published 10 May 2022
11 min read
Top 7 Reasons Why Online Courses Fail: Check & Not Do These

It is not a secret that the e-learning industry will remain at the top of its success. Every day, more and more students discover the advantages of self-paced e-learning and prefer online courses over traditional ones.  

However, this industry is very dynamic and evolving. Therefore, if you want to compete and have clients, you have to avoid inevitable mistakes that can lead to failure.   

So, if you are ready to know more, let’s start!


Let's take a look at some statistics. According to statistics, even though more students now prefer online learning, they still drop out of most courses (40-60%). Another thing is that not every class will be purchased, and some will fail without even getting visibility. Why is that happening? After completing some research and reading various forum posts about why students stopped taking the course, here are the two most common reasons. 

Well, if you create not engaging content, of course, students won't be motivated to continue the course and complete it. Secondly, if you fail to explain the material well enough or provide additional resources, syllabi, learning outcomes & or objectives, that also will contribute to the failure rates. Make sure to make your course engaging, use the correct voice intonation, body language, warm-up games, quizzes, and other motivational factors, including personal feedback. 

Besides students failing or not wishing to continue the course, online courses may fail due to the wrong marketing strategy or not having one at all. Sharing it on social media with paid advertisements is not a strategy. Your marketing strategy should be based on research, and you should know your niche, audience, needs & wants alongside the overall demand of the course in the market. Also, it will be good to know what software and equipment to use.   

Now let’s look at other common reasons for course failure and find solutions to help you succeed.

Check 25 ways to promote your online courses


#1 Not validating course idea enough

Course idea validation is a long process. You cannot do one poll on Instagram and with few people voting for you to create a course, think that it is a good idea. Whenever you want to start something, check out the overall demand on the market. Also, asking a few friends about your idea isn't enough. To succeed, you must employ several methods; let's look at some.    

What you can do: 

  • Do market research. How to do quick market research? Email marketing, surveys, forums, and focus groups are here to help you.
  • Analyze. Check out the comprehensive reports and analytics of your and your competitors' websites, the courses they offer, and which are currently the most popular. Also, this will help you to understand the changing marketing and sales tendencies.
  • Ask your existing audience. If you already do have a customer base, then great. Do a survey, send them through email, and analyze the overall results. 
  • Pre-sell your course. Start sales and marketing before your system is even ready, and establish a date when it will be. This way will not only check out the demand, but you will also not invest any vast effort and time into creating the course that won't be purchased. This method will help you understand the strong and weak suits of your course and marketing strategy, giving first-hand insights into further improvements you have to make.    

Read 7 Easy Ways To Validate Your Online Course Idea.

#2 Low focus on the work

Another reason that can lead to a potential failure of the final course is the soft focus and high levels of distraction. What is your actual work, and what are you trying to achieve? It is easy to get distracted while working on something and leave everything at the last moment. And guess what? That is not OK. In this competitive market, you must ensure you offer high-quality materials; every element should be worked out, and each detail is vital.   

For example, if you start shooting a video with no ready script or cheat sheet, you will get distracted, forget about the critical study to mention, etc.  

What you can do: 

  • Set goals. It is pretty simple when a person does something without knowing a specific reason why they do it; at some point, they lose interest and motivation. To avoid low focus and demotivation, just set clear objectives.
  • Set deadlines. You can work on the same task forever, which is no secret. Why is that so? Is the job tough? No, in most cases, those are the most straightforward tasks; we tend to procrastinate to avoid procrastination and set deadlines. Also, a little tip, you can share the deadlines with your audience to feel more responsible for following them.
  • Work in the right environment. Of course, you will be distracted if the room is full of people, especially if those are your friends or relatives. Find a pretty nice place with a chair, a desk, and a full empty room where the mind can fly and grab creative ideas. By the way, quite helpful can be to put on some lo-fi music  
Low focusing

#3 Offering standard solution

You can provide high-quality courses as much as you want, but unless you offer something different, it will be tough to promote. One of the most common reasons approaches fail is USP's absence. Each product needs its USP; in the case of studies, it can be a teaching method, a new game that has never been employed before, etc.    

What you can do: 

  • Find your unique selling point or create one. 
  • Your unique selling point can be your voice intonation and body language, which makes people want to listen to you.
  • USP can be a teaching method, engagement techniques 
  • Check out what your competitors offer to analyze the effectiveness and grab some inspiration.  

There are many ways to be different; brainstorm ideas and find out what it is for you. 

#4 Ignoring digital marketing & branding

Let’s say you have created a great product but don’t have sales. Why is that so? Well, let me ask you another question. What marketing strategy did you use? Oh, here is the problem. Not paying enough attention to digital marketing and branding results in the failure of a course. So, let’s consider what you can do about these all.   

What you can do: 

  • Focus on branding. Choose the right color palette and logo, and build a website that communicates your brand's message.
  • Share everywhere. Please share it on every social media platform when you create an e-learning business website or launch a course. Also, ask your friends to help you with that.
  • Paid ads. After identifying your niche and target audience, set up paid social media and Google ads to promote your website and course. 
  • Listen to feedback. Customers are your most valuable assets because they can help you succeed or fail. Make sure to build good customer relationships, ask for their opinions, and create good experiences so they will share a reasonable idea about your services. Thus, this will create a positive public image and increase brand awareness. 

#5 Setting non-relevant price

Setting prices too high or too low is an equally failing strategy. It would be best if you analyzed all the aspects of your course, including the time you spent, the money you invested in it, overall goals and expectations, and additional materials and resources you provide to establish the correct price.   

The wrong price is the reason many courses fail. For example, if a customer sees a system that is too cheap, they tend to think that you do not offer enough quality or that your course is not “serious.” Suppose the price is too high, especially if you are a beginner; they do not find any good reason to purchase the course. So, how to set the correct pricing for your system?   

What you can do: 

  • Know your market’s pain points. This is important in every aspect of course promotion. You can better meet your customer's pain points when you know them. Therefore, you can offer a compelling solution that will let you sell the course above the average price and still get a good amount of sales, meeting the equilibrium point. 
  • Know your client. To set the correct price and have high sales, you must consider demographics, income level, location, overall GDP, etc. 
  • Your time and experience. If you are a new coach without many testimonials from previous clients, you must realize that your first task is gaining trust and building a reputation rather than profits. So you have to offer courses primarily for 15 to 30$ (which can be higher depending on the industry) to gain first clients, testimonials, and build brand awareness. On the other hand, if you are an expert and already trusted, your prices can be higher. 
  • Materials. Another thing that can help you to set the correct price is the additional materials you offer with the course. If you provide an e-book, extra resources, or syllabi, all of those affect the final pricing. 

Check 5 Tips To Price Your Online Courses and Make Money.

Setting pricing

#6 Choosing many unnecessary and wrong tools

Let's sit back for a moment and think. Do you need that editing app for videos, the other for presentations, zoom for video conferencing, and a virtual classroom in an entirely different space? Will it make you more organized? Or will it just be time-consuming? The correct answer is the second one.   

All the extra apps that promise to make your life easier make it harder and scattered instead of organized. And this inefficiency of using too many tools affects the quality of the course and the student's learning experience, which can fail the system. 

What you can do: 

  • Choose a platform such as Uteach that offers everything from one place. Thus, it makes your life easier, time saved, and students' experience better. With Uteach, you can hold live lessons with integrations such as Zoom, InSpace, etc., control email marketing, set automation for routine tasks, save time, and have a blog. Also, you can publish as many courses as you want and have unlimited purchases from a total number of students. You gain control over every area, including course marketing, from one single easy-to-use dashboard.   

#7 Not waiting for the results

You tried it for a week and gave up? What else did you expect all this considerable work to pay off in one week? Sorry, but in our competing reality, it will not happen, and as soon as you understand it, it will be better. Because when you get it, you will be able to stick to the long-term strategy of achieving success. Remember, success isn't a one-time thing. It is constant.   

What you can do: 

  • Try different methods. One promotional strategy did not work? OK, try another one. Was the goal not achieved? Focus on the identification and improvements of the weak spots. 
  • Work on your patience. You need patience if you genuinely want to be a successful first-hand skill. It will work out for you; try once more and keep being focused, organized and flexible. 
  • Flexibility. If you try the same thing repeatedly, it is like making the same mistake and complaining that the outcome is the same. Stop doing it, and change your plan or strategy. What worked for someone else may not work for you, but you will find something to market and sell your course just as successfully as other demanded courses on the market.
Waiting for the results

Failure isn’t the end.

No matter what happens, remember the importance of keeping trying. Of course, there is no need to hit the same wall again, be more competent, and find a way out by following the tips we provided.   

Also, remember, if a baby falls 50 times, they will stand up and walk again until they can do that perfectly. None of them will give up on walking till they can, so you follow your dreams and try as many times as needed to succeed.

Most importantly, choose the right course creation platform to help you with further promotion. For example, one of the best platforms is Uteach. With Uteach, you can create a full-featured website in under 2 minutes. It offers:  

  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Blog section with all the necessary fields for SEO optimization in order to rank higher 
  • Live lesson automation 
  • Email marketing tools 

With Uteach, you get everything for successfully managing your online course business from one place.

Get Started NOW

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