The following post is a brief summary of the Q&A webinar, ‘A data-driven approach to improve retention’ delivered on 25th February, 2016. You can watch the full recording on the Play Again page.
Retention is a complex issue, with ongoing success influenced by many internal and external factors. A recent study in University Programs Australia delivered interesting and potentially game-changing outcomes that are being used to build towards a Navitas retention “playbook”. So what have we learnt and how can we all work towards improving retention at Navitas?
Perhaps the most significant learning from this project is that retention success relies on the investment of every single staff member. If students are to connect with and remain engaged in their study it requires ongoing commitment from all college employees they come into contact with – and even those they never see. Of course, success is a responsibility shared with the student. Their actions during the course of their study have more of an impact on their success than any risk factors for churn they may have started their course with. We have the resources to analyse factors that can contribute to churn and identify students most at risk of not completing their studies. However, it’s important to understand that how the college supports students is central to maximising their potential for success.
Making assumptions about the likelihood of success based on risk factors isn’t always useful, but understanding the specific needs of some groups of students does give us a chance to reduce their risk of disengagement. International students, for instance, can be at high risk of their study being affected by external issues such as homesickness and high expectations of success from their family. Giving them ongoing opportunities to connect with key staff members and their peers helps them build a community and network of support. In fact, according to the research, this building of a community is critically linked to success for most students. By providing continuing chances to build and strengthen these relationships and increase students’ confidence in their own skills, we can provide the best foundation for success.
Following the Q&A session, Margot also summarised some of the key findings from the analytics study in the short video below: