Student Retention: What Works
It’s that time of year again, when stunning summer weather hits the UK, and students knuckle down in a bid to finalise assignments and pass their exams. Most of us would agree that assessments are one of the less enjoyable aspects of university life, and that for many students, missing assignment deadlines and failure of exams can bring their academic career to a premature end. That is just one of the outcomes that we at Planzai are working to eliminate.
Over the past year, we’ve been getting under the skin of the university student, to find out what makes them consider dropping out, and what they need to help them stay the course. Our aim? To maximise Planzai’s student retention capabilities, by providing student users with the right type of timely help and support.
Exams and assignments are of course the tip of the iceberg when it comes to student drop out. Going to university for the first time is in itself a sizeable step into the unknown. And it probably comes as no surprise that a substantial number of students drop out in their first year. Financial problems, personal issues, loneliness, feelings of not fitting in, struggles with courses, or just difficulties in coping with this new way of life, can all impact upon a student’s decision to drop out.
Dropping out is bad for students and universities alike. No one goes to university hoping that they’ll find it difficult, isolating, and eventually pack it in. And no university wants to foster a cold, unsupportive atmosphere that drives students away. Nor does any educational institution wish to forfeit the fees that students pay, especially given the new fees arrangements in the UK.
So how does Planzai fit into all that? Essentially, Planzai eliminates the time management and task planning problems that lead to student drop-out, by letting students know exactly what they need to do for each of their courses. Planzai also enables a step-by-step induction plan, guiding students through necessary and recommended activities that ensure the best possible start.
Planzai is already being used in universities across the UK. Andrew Dubber, Reader in Music Industries Innovation, Birmingham City University, has been using Planzai in his Music Industries MA over the past year. “I’ve found that Planzai is a great tool for improving the student experience, reinforcing the learning outcomes and ultimately for student retention. We’re looking forward to rolling out Planzai more broadly in the coming year.”
We may not be able to predict what spanners life will throw in the works of your students, but at least we can add stability and guidance to the academic aspects of university life. And, as research has shown, when students feel comfortable and happy in their courses, they’re more likely to stay in university, regardless of what life is throwing at them.
As fee payers, students now inhabit the role of customer much more easily, with all the demands and expectations that come with it. The onus is now on universities to add value to their courses and to the student experience. And while they may do that by offering Planzai as part of their courses, or by other means, it is simply no longer an option to do nothing.
You can trial Planzai with a module for free. Simply sign up here.