Quality gates could be promising. This allows ppl to fall behind a little, but requires them to catch up at certain intervals, instead of only catching up long after the course is over. I’ve thought of the refund idea, but I think the framing is wrong. It’s a “saving” mindset, instead of an investment mindset. You know you’ve got the investment mindset when people WANT to invest more, because they know they’ll get more.
Your week-long course sounds amazing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of anything like that. It is a perfect example of the “learning experiences” I mentioned previously. Now the mountain biking will never be replaced, but I wonder what it would look like to leverage technology for the instructional parts. Maybe pre-work (watching short videos and doing online exercises to test or build foundational knowledge), or post-work (follow-up evaluations, check-ins, small group accountability, coaching and mentoring, give feedback on projects, etc).
Do you currently offer anything like this? Then you could either make the experience shorter and more intense, the same length but higher speed and quality, or even introduce other elements that must be done in person, knowing they’ll self-study the material.
I just realized something: the best way to structure the exercises is as collaborations, not homework. You will complete the work if you know that the effort and time of others is dependent on it. We’ll do for others (or to avoid letting others down) things that we won’t do for our own benefit. It would be almost like pair programming: what keeps you focused and motivated is that someone is right there with you.