“That’s it. I’m outta here” – a focus on student retention
by Shaun Swartz, CEO Strive Software International
Have you ever had students that seem to just disappear as the semester moves on or wonder what happened to a particular student? Do you care what your students think about your course or ever have students come back to visit?
Training organisations spend so much time and money recruiting students that they often lose sight of what’s most important – ensuring that their students successfully complete their studies. It is far cheaper to retain a current student than to market and recruit a new one.
Student retention is becoming one of the most important issues facing skills development and training today. This growing need to focus on retention is as a result of increasing competition between providers, reduced training resources and a reduction in marketing budgets. Student retention is about giving students the support they need to earn the qualification that will improve and change their lives. It is about student success and graduation rates.
Students drop-out or leave a course for many reasons. While a training institution does not have much control over external forces, such as family, work and transportation, the internal forces such as lack of self-confidence, classroom and learning experience can be controlled.
To help training organisations monitor and improve their student retention and graduation rates, Strive Software International offers a unique student retention system. MaaS, Mentoring as a Service, is designed to improve student retention and graduation rates through a pro-active and supportive platform that guides a student through their studies and onto graduation. Best suited to online training through a learning management system (LMS), MaaS supports full qualifications, learnerships, short courses and CPD training across all levels. With its flexible design, it can be integrated with most LMS’ and used on any device with an internet connection.
Using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), MaaS is distinctive in its ability to reliably predict a student’s future academic performance and behaviour and therefore provide a platform to modify the student’s behaviour. The Artificial Intelligence engine uses a predictive modelling process that is constantly being refined and validated as more data becomes available and existing in-house data can be added. It daily updates each student’s risk profile, highlighting which students require additional mentoring and support. In addition, the system generates pre-determined alerts for tutors based on a student’s level of activity and performance. This then enables the tutor to communicate with the student in real-time, with all activity and communication being recorded. The daily, weekly and monthly progress reports of all student and tutor activity assist with overall management reporting.
MaaS continues to prove its success with all levels of students. This includes previously low achieving students who achieved an 84% pass rate for a year-long qualification. With online training having the highest drop-out rate, the supportive nature of the system provides the one-on-one support that many training approaches lack. Results have shown that higher student retention rates are directly related to a student’s overall engagement and satisfaction with the qualification and support received from the training provider.
For training providers serious about their student retention rate, Shaun Swartz, CEO of Strive Software International, recommends that educators focus on providing positive reinforcement whenever possible, placing emphasis on a positive “you can handle it” attitude.