[Guide] Improving Student Success With A Digital Coach

A digital coach helps vocational education students stay on track

[Guide] Improving Student Success With A Digital Coach

[Guide] Improving Student Success With A Digital Coach

Your students are 24/7. Many are working jobs, taking care of families, or have other responsibilities besides their education. They’re not always focused on school from 9-5 when student success coaches typically work, particularly if you offer online learning as part of your curriculum.

So when a student falls behind, it may be difficult for a coach to connect with them early and quickly to get them back on track.

Enter a digital coach.

A digital coach provides continuous support and guidance to students when a human coach is unavailable. While it cannot replace the human touch, it’s a valuable addition to the support system. This guide explores the concept of a digital coach, how it works, its benefits, and how to implement it at your school.

What is a digital coach?

A digital coach serves the same purpose as a real-life coach: Keeping students on track, encouraging them when they need support, and celebrating wins—big and small. It leverages digital channels to serve as a reminder system, encourage positive behaviors, and redirect undesirable behaviors.

Digital coaches are a common practice in technology today. Chances are, you’ve already engaged with one. Fitness trackers that remind you to get up and move around serve as digital health coaches. Duolingo, a language learning education app, uses an owl as a digital coach, encouraging users to complete daily lessons and setting a precedent for digital coaching in education technology.

In vocational education, where students are mobile and moving quickly through short programs, a digital coach can help keep students on track to achieve their graduation goals.

How do digital coaches work?

Digital coaches can work in a few different ways depending on your technology suite. Some LMS and SIS allow for automatic text and email notifications, but they often focus solely on activities completed within those systems. They’re more of a reminder system than a coach. 

CourseKey’s digital coach, Coach Key, pulls data from all your systems via CourseKey’s student success platform, providing a more comprehensive approach to student coaching.

Coach Key: 

  • Collects student activity data from the LMS
  • Collects student time and progress data from the CourseKey student app 
  • Aggregates the data for a full picture of student risk 
  • Automatically sends interventions based on customizable risk and progress factors 

What are the benefits of digital coaches?

1. Automatic intervention: Intervention happens the moment a student reaches a specific customizable risk or success threshold. There are no data or human delays. Instead, the student receives immediate positive reinforcement or encouragement

2. Mobile-friendly: Your students are mobile-first, and your intervention should be too. A digital coach can reach out to students via text, email, push notifications, or a combination of the three, allowing you to meet your students where they are. 

3. The carrot, not just the stick: Often, we tend to focus on putting out the most significant fire and spend less time on the things that don’t require immediate attention. Unfortunately, this means students are less likely to be regularly acknowledged for their little victories.

A digital coach provides regular celebrations for the little victories, like five days of perfect attendance, 100% on an assignment, or other things that might get immediately acknowledged by a busy human. 

4. Enhance face-to-face interaction: While a digital coach handles routine tasks and immediate reminders, the student success team has more time to engage in personalized, human interactions, allowing them to support students better. 

5. Messaging and outreach standardization: When setting up a digital student success coach, you set up standardized messaging, triggers, and outreach cadences to ensure that every student gets the same outreach at the same points, regardless of internal factors like staff changes. 

Implementing a digital coach with CourseKey

Integrating a digital coach into the student support system is a powerful step toward improving student success. By leveraging technology to provide timely and personalized interventions, schools can foster an environment where students feel supported, engaged, and celebrated on their educational journey.

Request a demo if you’re ready to add Coach Key to your roster.

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