Unless you're new to the EdTech world it should be no surprise that drop-out rates for online programs are high. Numbers vary from 35% churn to 54% for online courses and higher than 90% for MOOCs. Time to Know's South American partner, reported a staggering 60% drop-out rate from their flagship vocational training programs.
Moreover, completion of online programs doesn't necessarily mean success, as described in this report: in some cases, the completion rate is higher than 60%.
So, what are some of the factors that increase student retention rates?
- Sense of belonging to a learning community
- Peer support
- Communication with instructor and level of interaction
If we combine all the above factors to one keyword we get "engagement".
How to increase the level of a learner’s engagement?
The challenge corporate and vocational education are facing is how to increase the level of engagement in a digital learning setting.
At Time To Know (T2K) we have mastered the formula for creating great learner engagement.
In a series of researches conducted in New York, Texas and Israel it was found that T2K learners are strongly engaged while learning math with the T2K system (see figure 1 below).
Another research analyzed the engagement of mature distance learners in New Zealand. These learners are aged 25 and over, and many of them choose to study at a distance in order to more easily combine their studies with their family and work commitments. Higher attrition rates and lower course completion rates for this group were the reason for a research on learner engagement.
To explore whether age and mode of study impact on student engagement, satisfaction, learning and departure intention, data from the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement from 1,116 first-year undergraduate students from a single New Zealand university were collected and analyzed. Results prove the influence of student engagement on both student satisfaction and learning, in particular, the importance of a supportive learning environment.
In other words, the higher the engagement level of the distance learner the lower the dropout rate.
The Pillars of Effective Learning
Based on the social constructivism theory, a leading learning theory of the past 20 years, effective learning is achieved by combining three elements:
- The learner should be active in constructing their own knowledge
- The learner should interact with peers and the instructor
- The instructor should be an active facilitator and function as a “Guide on the side and not sage on the stage."
Based on the above three elements the T2K solution that is called Echo was designed to increase the level of engagement of the distance learner.
Echo comprises a set of tools that can plug into any learning environment. Its underlying principles combine the pillars of effective learning with best practices for scalable software platforms.
If you're looking for an effective distance learning solution you should look for ways to increase the level of learner engagement such as Echo. For more information or to get started schedule an Echo demo today! The Pillars of effective learning that are implemented in Echo are:
1) Social impact – Sense of Belonging
Echo creates a community of learners that share the same experience and function as "classmates" in a large-scale program:
- Discussion in Context – learners can ask their colleagues for assistance from within the content. No need to go elsewhere (LMS etc.) Comments are shared and can be rated, serving as a priority mechanism for instructional supervisors.
- Social Benchmark – each learner sees how they compared with the group average, at each single point.
- One-click interaction – chat and video tools to interact immediately with a peer for prompt support.
2) Insights and Coaching
Echo provides data-driven insights for supervisors, trainers, and instructors for immediate and effective intervention.
Echo is designed for a ratio of one supervisor to hundreds of learners, keeping the operation very lean.
- Drop-out risk and low-performance alerts – push notifications to notify about reduced usage, content incompletion, and performance that is trending down.
- Learners dashboard and watch list - quick performance analysis of at-risk students.
- Active intervention – cost-effective tools for supervisors to assist students, including quick hint, request to redo pages or chapters, a personalized quiz to guarantee comprehension.
3) Active learning
- Echo immerses learners in interactive experiences that keep them focused.
- It includes simple content editing tools for enriching existing documents with interactive questions or generating new content from scratch. These interactive questions provide immediate feedback and guidance to the learner.
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