You wouldn't set out on a trip to an unknown land without a map or GPS, so why don't we do the same for our learners as we help them to embark on journeys of discovery.
Do you give your learners options in terms of the activities they do, the way they demonstrate mastery, or the order of the activities. These design choices are a few of the ways you can give your learners autonomy and increase their engagement.
How does it feel to participate in your course? What is the experience like? Is the learner at the center of the action or are they just bystanders with information being pushed toward them?
Have you ever tried to not think of an answer when you are asked a question? Bet you can't. Bet your learners can't either. Why not use more questions to spark curiosity and let your learners explore?
Templates can be great for establishing consistency and improving the efficiency of instructional design and can help learners know how things work, but just don't let those advantages work against you.