Instructor Ben Tristem on Making Meaningful Course Updates

Ben Tristem

Ben Tristem is a best-selling Instructor, game developer, and online entrepreneur who is an expert in the field of technology. With a background and education in physics and computing, he teaches courses on website creation, game development, and social media to help businesses succeed.



Ben Tristem didn’t always know what it takes to create great Udemy courses that students will love. But through trial and error, he has learned how to develop engaging, valuable content, as well as how to update his courses with additional meaningful content. Now that he has four successful courses on everything from making games, to social media and web design, he can confidently share his tips with fellow Udemy instructors who want to be sure they can get it right the first time.

Take Your Time Developing Your Content

Before launching your Udemy course, Ben strongly recommends creating a substantial amount of content. But you also can’t be afraid of changing your content later on, if necessary. How can you tell if and when your content needs to be changed? According to Ben, If someone’s asking a question, they have doubts [that were] created by your content.” Ask yourself how you could change the content so those questions don’t arise again, and then tailor your content as needed.

“Sometimes it’s not easy to make big updates. For example, when we add a whole new section, we make sure we treat it like a road diversion. The moment they get to the start of the change, we put in a temporary talking head to explain what’s going on. When we add a new video, we announce in Discussions and then summarize in Announcements once or twice a month. Once everyone’s through the old content, we remove it or move it out to a free mini course.”

Get Students to View Your Entire Course

If you develop and launch a course but you find that many students aren’t bothering to complete it, Ben offers some tips to get better student retention:

  1. Challenge students to apply what they’re learning every few minutes, even if you have many hours of content. For example, you can use a variety of small in-lesson exercises.
  2. Craft the learning journey and experience so you won’t lose students along the way. Do so by listening to the feedback you receive, as well as by checking Student Satisfaction Analytics to find out where you’re losing students.
  3. Keep the content interesting. Avoid being monotone.
  4. Ask your students to share what they make. According to Ben, “If they’re not sharing from a particular section, they’re not making; hence, they’re lost. So we insert a whole new section to bridge the gap.”

Content That Evolves with Students’ Needs

While Udemy is a great place to connect with students and share your expertise with them, it isn’t always easy to develop a course that will keep students engaged and coming back for more, and this can hurt your future as an instructor. By really thinking about the content you’ll put into your course, asking for feedback, and implementing changes along the way to continually improve the content, you’ll become a successful and respected instructor with the ability to impact lives around the globe.

We’ve asked a variety of bestselling and innovative Udemy instructors to host one hour Q&A sessions in the Udemy Studio or Faculty Lounge. These “Ask Me Anythings” are a chance for the instructor community to get their questions answered in real time by instructors we consider to be true mentors. To view the Ask Me Anything session hosted by Ben Tristem, go here  (Note that you will need to be a Lounge member to access the link). 

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