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Building Trust with Your Students

There are many different drivers of student success on Udemy. One constant driver of student success, however, is trust. If a student trusts an instructor, chances are that they’ll be successful in the course and go on to purchase more courses from the same instructor. We surveyed our instructor community to find out the different ways that they are building trust with their students. See the main takeaways below, and use this guide to help direct your own efforts to build trust in your courses.

How are Instructors Building Trust Today?

Open up through the bio: Instructors focused on building trust try to share more information about themselves to students. They do this through their bio, by sharing their academic information or career information, and by sharing more of their personal stories with students.

  • Phil Ebiner says: “I just share my personal story with them. I’m honest. I try to connect with them via social media / YouTube. I also prove to them that I am an expert in whatever course I’m teaching with real examples of what I’m doing.”

Show up in video: Successful instructors use talking head videos in at least a few of their lectures, so students can see who they are and relate to them more. They also use this format to share their personal stories with students.

  • Jeremy Aschenbrenner says: “I like to have one talking head “”my story”” video that tells them about me. My telling them my background, my loves, my hates, they can hopefully relate and trust me. I also then like to have talking heads in the corner of most of my videos to take some of the dullness out of learning. In addition I give real world examples based on my experience in almost every other lecture as well.”

Practice what they preach: To show that they know what they’re talking about, they participate in forums and groups related to the topic of their course. They also publish articles and videos that underscore the points they make in the course, and that show how they use this knowledge and apply it in the real world (like with a personal travel blog if they teach travel photography). They also send these resources regularly to students.

  • Samantha Alvarez says: “I send out a newsletter every couple of weeks, and I keep a personal travel blog to show that I practice what I preach.”
  • Jan Suchotzki says: “I provide lots of material (source code, tasks, …) on GitHub without any cost, so students can see what I’m doing. I also publish articles and videos on my blog to further underline the points made in my course.”

Reach out, be there and follow through for students: Instructors contact students personally and thank them for taking the course, answer their questions, and ask for feedback. When they ask for feedback, they also follow-through and improve their course based on the feedback, which helps students trust them more since there is follow-through.

  • Laurence Svekis says: “I try to reach out to students as much as possible to let them know I am here to help. I’ve helped several with projects they work on related to material taught in the course. I talk about my experience and what I’ve learned.”
  • Peter Dalmaris says: “I respond to every question as quickly as I can. I spend time trying to understand what they ask (that is not always clear). And be polite even when the student sounds agitated. Finish a conversation only when a question has been fully answered.”

Showcase their social profiles: They beef up their Linkedin details and make sure to include a link to their Linkedin profile and Facebook pages. Highlighting information in social media profiles linked to the topic of the course is an effective way to build trust and credibility with your student base.

  • Adriaan Brits says: “I include transparent Linkedin details via my instructor bio and reference to other student feedback I’ve received.”