7 Strategies To Help Your Students Succeed in 2022
In 2022, career education programs must implement new strategies to help modern students succeed, including leveraging data and prioritizing mental health.
2021 made it clear that we’re not returning to “business as usual” anytime soon. The pandemic continues to reshape education and employment, and career education programs must continue evolving to meet modern students’ needs. Here are seven ways that career colleges can adapt to an ever-changing world and ensure student success in 2022.
1. Leverage Your Data
Grades, attendance, and tardiness can all signal that a student is not succeeding in their program and could be at risk. But you can’t tell unless you have this data easily accessible in one clear place. In the short term, a better insight into student data can help you support your students on a case-by-case basis. In the long term, you can identify common trends and risk factors for students and put measures in place to eliminate them. For example, Monroe College found that something as small as a student getting a C in psychology is a heavy indicator that they may not make it to graduation. You can establish guardrails and resources to prevent students from falling off track when you spot these trends.
2. Improve Engagement By Fostering Learning Communities
Students involved in learning communities are more likely to complete their programs. Instructors can foster peer-level learning communities by encouraging study groups, class discussions, and other engagement opportunities. As a result, students become motivated to stay on track and graduate on time with their peers. It becomes more difficult to foster learning communities in online courses, but it’s not impossible. Online engagement tools allow students to have live chats about the coursework, giving students who may not feel comfortable speaking up in front of people a chance to shine and feel included.
3. Increase Facetime with Instructors and Advisors
Instructors and administrators also foster community by making one-on-one time for students. Unfortunately for many advisors and instructors, there are simply never enough hours in the day to be as hands-on with students as they would like. Student success and support is the main reason why many instructors and administrators started their jobs, but they’re bogged down with attendance management and other administrative processes. Implementing a software system that automates attendance and other back-office tasks empowers advisors and instructors to spend more time with students. Every minute of one-on-one connection in online learning programs helps students feel more involved in their learning community.
4. Foster Agency
Agency helps students take ownership and develop an active role in their learning, thereby becoming more invested in their education and motivated to continue. Students without agency take a passive role in their education and may feel dependent on their instructors or institutions to reach their goals. If they encounter a barrier in completing their education, they may be reliant on someone else to break that barrier down—which isn’t always possible. Students with agency take a proactive role in their education and are more likely to confront and overcome barriers to achieving their degree.
Fostering student agency requires that you provide students with the tools they need to take control over their education. For example, if a student has to rely on administrators for progress updates, they are more likely to use a lack of progress visibility as an excuse for falling behind. Giving students visibility into their progress empowers them to feel in control and make decisions that support their graduation.
5. Incorporate Soft Skills To Teach Job Readiness
Businesses aren’t managed via pen and paper, so your school shouldn’t be either. Now, there’s software for everything, and employers want tech-savvy workers who can do their job while also using the systems in place. In addition to fostering agency, a mobile-student app that allows students to record attendance, track skill progress, and view grades in one place helps students understand how to use basic software outside of games and social media apps.
According to Damon Fuggett, Director of DeHart Technical School, anytime a student asks him a question about their progress or an inconsistency, he asks them to pull it up in CourseKey instead of finding it for them because that’s what will be expected of them as working professionals.
Mobile apps also help build good habits. For example, in CourseKey, anytime instructors dock time from a student, they have to leave an explanatory note. Students can see in their mobile app that if they come back from lunch 5 minutes late every day, they’re losing time and can adjust their behavior accordingly. If students have to wait for a progress report to see that they’re being docked time, they’re already falling behind.
6. Focus On Mental Health
The last two years have been stressful. Many students lost loved ones or continue to experience the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even people who have not been personally impacted by the pandemic are reporting increased brain fog and difficulty focusing. High schools across the country prioritize mental health and provide students with extra resources to help them stay on track with their education. Schools must ensure that students have continued access to similar resources. Mental health directly impacts attendance and retention, with many students citing mental health issues as a reason for missing classes or not completing assignments. When missed coursework starts to pile up, it can be incredibly difficult for students to catch up. Investing in mental health resources and keeping more students on track pays off.
7. Promote Positivity
Even in shorter programs, sometimes achieving a degree or certificate and getting placed in a job can feel far away from students in the middle of their programs. Fortunately, career education students are in a good place. The demand for skilled labor is at record highs, and with the upcoming infrastructure bill, that demand will only increase. Students fresh out of their program can start well above minimum wage in the trades.
Help Your Students Thrive in 2022
Leveraging your data, investing in mental health, and establishing a positive, community-oriented learning environment will help your students stay on track through their educational journey. As you prepare for the new year, consider how you can further support your students.
Request a demo to learn more about how CourseKey helps your school leverage its data to improve student outcomes.