Overcoming Student Retention Issues in Online Education

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Student drop outs in online courses account for millions of dollars in unrecognized income for institutions each year. While enrollment is down at many schools, more pressure exists to retain the students you do enroll. Online educational programs have the potential to significantly increase enrollment. The question then becomes “How do we keep these students”. Experts suggested that student self-discipline, instructor engagement and response time in courses, and the need for institutions to offer online students an array of support services contribute to student retention in fully online programs. Here are a few tips to ensure success.

Dedicated Support Team

Set up a dedicated student support team that recognizes the unique barriers to success in online education and helps students complete their coursework by any means necessary. They email, text, and call students to remind them of assignments and connect them with tutors and counselors for support.

Have a plan

We have one client who take a very agressive approach to planning. Once classes start, faculty members who can't reach a student, or have other concerns, report the student to academic advisers, who also get weekly reports of students who have missed assignments or are performing poorly. The advisers act as coaches and cheerleaders for online students, calling and E-mailing with updates on academic deadlines, advice on how to connect with tutors or counselors, and simple encouragement. The efforts have paid off as their retention has increased to 92%.

Pay Attention to Content

Make sure the courses are set up that it is easy to navigate and is accessible across all platforms (Phones, Tablets and PC’s). Remember, technology will allow you deliver the content in many different ways, its up to you to make sure you are using is correctly. We call it the “20 Second Rule”. If a student can’t find what they need to access in under 20 seconds, frustration sets in and more support services are needed to retain that student. Nothing is more important than the end user (student) experience.

Good Luck and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments


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