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Student retention in Distance Learning: Optimization and dynamics

Gustavo Goncalves
Gustavo Goncalves

Aug 10, 2023

Student retention has become a frequent concern for educational institutions: according to data from a projection made by Semesp, about 3.42 million of students dropped out of private universities across the country, representing a dropout rate of 36.6%.

To help colleges keep their students enrolled until graduation, we prepared this post to show some indices that help to monitor the student retention rate, as well as tips to make classes more dynamic and attractive for these students.

What are we going to see in the post:

Good reading!

What is student retention?

First, it is necessary to understand what student retention is. It is a process formed by a grouping of measures that encourage the student to remain in that educational institution until graduation.

Retaining students is not such a simple process, since it is necessary to monitor the performance and development of students during their academic period and then identify possible causes for future dropouts.

Is it possible to understand the causes of school dropout?

The EaD teaching imposed by the pandemic meant that many colleges had to adapt to this new teaching model in the modalities that were previously face-to-face, and the same happened with the students. However, it was notable how difficult it was for many to study at home and not in a classroom, as they were used to.

Given this, many institutions are investing in ways to make these students who are learning remotely able to complete their courses at the same college. For this, KPIs can be great allies.

What are KPIs?

In case you still don't know what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are, here's a quick explanation: also known as key performance indicators, they are a way of assessing whether strategies or actions previously established by a company are managing to achieve its objectives. stipulated.

For example: you have an organization and you want to measure customer satisfaction with the purchase of a product offered by it. A KPI that could be used in this situation is the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

Are KPIs and metrics the same thing?

Well, the truth is that metrics serve as a foundation for KPIs. Performance indicators manage to go beyond the information provided by metrics, which is why they are important for structuring the business strategy.

Thinking about the previous example, one type of metric would be the level of customer satisfaction in services or products, while the KPIs to measure this same objective would be CSAT, abandonment rate, average service time, among others.

What are the KPIs needed for student retention in distance learning institutions?

Now that you already know what KPIs, it's time to delve a little deeper into this subject and explain which are the indicators that helped you in the mission of student retention: Student

Retention rate (RFE)

Also known as the student retention rate school flow retention, is a KPI that measures how many students at your educational institution do not complete their training within the expected period.

To calculate it, divide the number of retained students (students who remain in courses after enrolling) by the number of enrolled students (students who attended at least one class during the evaluated period) and multiply the result by 100.

At your educational institution there are many students taking longer than the expected period to graduate, this may mean that they are experiencing some kind of difficulty and that, at some point, they may drop out of the course.

Average student grades

It is also important to evaluate the average grades of students, either by class or individually. A student with declining averages indicates that he is having difficulties keeping up with the pace of studies and, therefore, tends to drop out or drop out of college.

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Attendance rate

This indicator assesses whether students are fulfilling the workload stipulated by the educational institution. In this way, it is possible to identify those students who are missing classes the most (which may already indicate course abandonment) or which subjects are being more difficult for students of that particular training.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Refers to the ability of a student to indicate their educational institution to other people. Having this positive KPI means that your students are so satisfied with the services they receive that they want others to enjoy them too.

In addition, this indicator can also give a view related to the safety and image that your college is transmitting, as well as how engaged your students are with their training.

To find the NPS value, students must answer a questionnaire, in which they must mark, from 0 to 10, the possibility of recommending their college to other people.

How can classes influence student retention?

However, just analyzing the KPIs we indicated above is not enough to make your students stay in the course until the formation of the points; it is also necessary to invest in strategies that make them want to finish their graduations.

For this, it is interesting to analyze the reasons that are leading to school dropout and how the educational institution can help students in each of these issues. For example: if students are finding the contents too difficult or discouraging, it is interesting to invest in ways to make classes dynamic.

How to optimize classes and make them more dynamic?

But what can educational institutions do to make classes more dynamic in order to overcome the barrier of distance that EAD presents? Check out some options below:

Invest in different media formats

The truth is that EaD is not a limiting education system, but an expansive one: it is possible to use different media formats such as audio, video and image to transmit content in a differentiated and interesting way .

Use tools

Kahoot!, for example, is a tool that allows you to apply gamification elements to online classes. Students can answer questions live and the tool can rank those who get the most questions right.

Ask for feedback

It is also worth asking students for feedback on their preferred ways and strategies for the learning process. Thus, the entire academic community of the institution can work together in favor of education.

What does my educational institution gain from student retention?

A mistake that many managers make is to invest only in attracting students, forgetting about the retention of those already enrolled. See below some benefits of ensuring your students graduate from your institution:

Improves educational marketing

Everyone would like to study at a college whose students don't want to leave, wouldn't they? Therefore, ensuring a high student retention rate can be a positive point to work on in educational marketing.

Allows better development of students

Changing colleges is not an easy task, since students need to readapt to the structure of classes, professors and the dynamics of the institution itself. In this way, those who remain throughout the course in the same place are able to develop better.

Brings professors closer to students

The very quality of education is improved through student retention, as university professors are able to teach their classes in a more personalized way, as they are intimate with the class and know it.

It guarantees the financial balance of the institution

Retaining students is also a great way to guarantee the financial health of your organization, after all, it is cheaper to keep a student who is already enrolled until the conclusion of his course than to attract new students.

Now that you know how to analyze and invest in student retention, it is worth enlisting the help of an agency specializing in educational marketing to help you bring more and more students to your institution.

Visit our website and find out how we can help you attract and retain more distance learning students through digital marketing strategies!

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The world changes all the time and technology is no different! Here at Mkt4Edu, technology is in our DNA, we work with many different softwares to make the whole process of automation and artificial intelligence work more efficiently and achieve more results.

Here, new softwares are tested all the time. Modern tools and new functionalities are tested all the time, there were already more than 200 tests so you can have the best result in your institution.

From customer acquisition to retention: Mkt4edu can make the difference in your marketing operation.


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