Boosting student retention through improved curricular management

Nicolás Elton Assessment
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Higher education departments are experiencing the advantages of the digital transformation. Departments that had been working in a disjointed manner can now work together for a more comprehensive educational undertaking. What are the advantages?

Improved curricular management results in greater student commitment, which is a key variable in supporting student retention. We go into detail in this article.

Student backgrounds and motivations are strongly linked to the choice to stay in school. According to a study done by Griffith University, the following reasons are the primary reasons for dropping out.  

  • Personal difficulties - the most common ones are related to health, finances, family, work or problems fitting in and making friends.
  • Academic challenges - a lack of academic preparation, a low level of academic understanding, or a shortage of specific study skills needed for keeping up with program demands.
  • Full versus part time - part-time students are significantly less likely to continue their studies in the second year compared to full-time students.
  • Dropping out is connected to uncertain decisions or poor choices regarding the course/program/university. In some cases, this is due to insufficient information obtained prior to enrolling or a failure to consider one’s educational or professional goals properly.

This last point is very relevant. How do students come to the realization that they made a poor choice? What information do students look for before applying to an institution of higher education?

These questions become more concerning when we consider the current regional context. In Latin America average student dropout rates border on 30%, according to The Huffington Post.

The curricular map and graduate profile are the first references used by students in choosing a degree program at a given institution. The website Universia advises that in making this decision students must understand the educational focus of an institution, the opportunities it may provide, and how adapted it is to the demands of the job market.

 

 

Fulfilling student expectations

Times Higher Education underscores this issue as a key challenge for universities in the United Kingdom. This concern is shared by many other countries in which students are demanding more services from their institutions.

Students today are paying more for their studies and expect a more lucrative return on their investment, be it in education quality, employability or facilities offered.

Times Higher Education suggest, “The strategies must be more flexible in order to draw more students into a highly competitive marketplace, meaning they should assess their market position and map out the most important customers. Institutions will have to make difficult decisions about how to approach the markets and launch processes for route optimization. They need to ensure that they have the experience and innovation that are necessary while also working to move beyond the embedded cultural conservatism.”

In light of these needs, technological solutions offer tools for evidence generation to improve education. University Business states that artifical intelligence can go beyond classroom and education management to supporting peer collaboration. Today there are applications available for both administrators and educators that provide tools for collaborative work to improve curricula through feedback from the job market, graduates and students alike.

Improving retention rates not only requires better program design and the use of cutting-edge technology, but also getting to know students on a deeper level. That is the first step toward effective retention strategies design and choosing technologies that are adequate to manage the student journey.

The perfect equation would be to provide an excellent learning experience at a reasonable price. Universities have been implementing a wide variety of technological solutions precisely for improving campus management, learning experiences and student retention strategies.

The best part about these tools is they can be customized in keeping with the needs of each institution, including the various characteristics of each department and campus.

The School of Information at the University of Berkeley explains that student behavior can be monitoried by analyzing patterns within an institution and thus…

  • Personalizing the learning process
  • Reducing the amount of administrative work for each class
  • Helping schools refine the contents to maintain quality
  • Facilitating the creation of local and global communities
  • Measuring student performance beyond testing

 

 

Conclusion

The student dropout problem must be dealt with head on in every way possible.   Curricular management helps in two very important ways. It is the first step in attracting the right students. Then once the education journey is complete, good management makes all the difference in what kind of professionals are joining the working world.

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