Since 1870, when advising was introduced in higher education, it has provided a reactive and ineffective means of promoting retention, persistence and graduation. The time has come to move away from the antiquated advising approach to a system of deliberate, strategic and coordinated coaching. According to the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), defines academic advising “when an institutional representative gives insight or direction to a college student about an academic, social, or personal matter.”
If colleges and universities want to improve retention and completion rates, the unequivocal best practice is to provide academic coaching which not only yields the greatest return on investment but also packs the greatest punch in terms of improving student success. Aside from the quantitative statistics associated with coaching, there are additional qualifiers like the impact of students “being seen” and “mattering” to the school. Building supportive relationships with students creates a connection that empowers learning and ensures success in school and beyond.
How do we know that students are getting everything they need to be successful? What evidence are we using to authentically measure student growth and progress beyond the grades in a gradebook or on the transcript? How can we ensure a proactive, rather than reactive approach to student support.
To meet students where they are when they come into our programs and as they traverse their learning journey, we must not treat coaching as a separate entity, but enable a clearer, 360 degree view of student learning to all stakeholders that touch the lifecycle of a student. It shouldn’t be something that you add onto the learning experience, it needs to be tightly tied to the learning ecosystem to inform data-driven decisions and personalized pathways to success.
Student success is dependent on our ability to understand where students are in their learning journey. Like the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates on a map, students’ engagement data and related growth and progress towards learning, empowers every stakeholder that touches the learner, including the learner him/herself. Through holistic understanding of the learner, we are able to meet them where they are and ensure they receive customized support to the destination articulated through professional goals necessary for personal and workforce success.
Beyond books and papers, we know that students are successful when we foster relationships conducive to engagement and learning. Coaching models are not only scientifically proven to empower students, improve engagement and retention, but they also strengthen both the academic skill set, the student’s life-skills as well as keeps the learner connected with the greater learning community.
Renowned Sociologist, Greg Elliott from Brown University, knows the key to student success, “If they feel they matter to school, or even to one teacher in the school, they’re going to be in a lot better shape than if they think they are basically there alone.” Coaching models ensure that students are not alone and that the advice and support provided is data-driven and specific to each learner’s unique needs.
Mentoring and coaching drive student success and satisfaction. Why would you lock these folks out of your LMS?
Everyone is a coach; instructors, advisors, administrators, parents — learners are successful when their supporters are armed with the information necessary to understand where the student is on their learning journey and what unique supports are required to help them find success in school and beyond. When we understand the learning needs of a student completely, we’re able to deliver a deeply personalized learning path that is entirely data-driven.
As we gather insight into the learner’s journey, coaching embedded in within the learner experience enables a proactive, true 360 degree view of the learner’s progress. This ensures success across the entire lifecycle of the student. Siloing the information away leaves holes in the learner’s connection with key supports and ultimately jeopardizes the learner’s persistence and completion of the program.
Stand alone coaching software that is added or integrated as an afterthought doesn’t provide the depth of insight and understanding necessary to proactively ensure student learning.
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