Simple Ways to Identify Students at Risk


Online learning in Vocational Education is becoming a growing trend in the RTO Space. With the ever-growing demands being placed on RTO's to support quality student outcomes, we need to find betters ways to achieve this without being 100% reliant on the face to face training model. We need to innovate new ways to develop simple processes that help us identify when we feel a student is at risk of being disengaged and dropping out. 

This blog is designed to help get you thinking about what you can introduce at your institution to help inform your faculty and support your learners. Here are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling...

Introduce an Attempts Policy

One of the cool things about Quizzes, is that you can limit the number of attempts available to students. 'But competency based training means they have the ability to continue to attempt until they get it right' right? 

Well, think of it this way; by limiting the number of attempts to 2-3, you can identify if a learner is struggling to complete the quiz. Learner doesn't complete in three attempts? Than we need to ask an important question, why? 

This is a great opportunity for the trainer to engage the learner and determine what support structures can be put in place to support the learner through their learning and assessment pathways. 

Understanding Student Analytics

Sometimes those students who struggle are the quiet ones in the corner. It’s easy to forget they’re there, but it is so important that we keep an eye out for them. Let’s engage them before we lose them. 

Activity Compared to Class

First things first, let’s take a quick look at the Student Context Card. By comparing an overview of the students participation against the other students in their cohort who can at least indicate if they’re engaged. It is not meant to be an exact comparison but at least it’s an opportunity to encourage us to dig a little deeper. 

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Student Analytics

Want to know where a students strengths and weaknesses lie? Check out the Student Analytics (SA). SA show you how well the learner is doing in a particular course. The ability to:

View Activity by Date

The ability to see when a student is viewing and participating can help us to determine whether a student is actively engaged in their course. If they are continually viewing and never participating it is a great opportunity to reach out and confirm their understanding of the learning content. We shouldn’t assume it is due to a lack of confidence and it’s a great way to trigger a conversation with the learner. 

View Submissions

Students assignments always late or missing? The Submissions Graph shows the status of each submission for each learner be it On Time, Late, Missing or due in the Future. 

If you have due dates on your content, than this is a good opportunity to determine trends or discover outliers. Does the student normally submit on time? Yes, well why was their last two assignments late? Again, another great way to trigger a discussion with the learner as to why their performance may be slipping. Keeping in mind it could be that the quality of content begins to drop or issues with their personal lives. Remember, be sensitive!

View Grades 

This graph shows the median, high and low scores for each assignment. We talked about comparing the students activity against other learners, why not their grades? 

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There is always room for improvement. A student is sitting below the average continually on their submissions? Let’s reach out and see how we can help them reach the benchmark needed to be successful in their learning. 

Something else to consider, if a student is performing well, maybe consider a buddy system designed to encourage learners to support each other. 

Final thoughts..

Learning isn’t supposed to be easy, we are supposed to challenge our learners and help them build core competencies in their chosen industries. The best way to do this, is to make sure we are aware of those who may need additional support, or who are at risk of dropping out. 

By having a better understanding of the kinds of data available inside of Canvas and how it can interpreted, we can give our trainers and assessors the tools they need to be successful in their own role of helping learners attain success. 

Amelia Hayson