3 Easy Ways to Get a Clear Pulse on Student Engagement

June 15, 2022

One of the great things about running an online learning program is that there is so much potential data you can track to determine whether a student is engaged and successfully progressing in your program. 

Students in online learning programs leave their digital footprint in every action they take - whether logging into your LMS, submitting an assignment, or interacting with their peers on your community platform. 

While this data can provide incredible insights into student progress - who is struggling, at what point do students most often start to fall behind, etc. - it often gets collected across multiple different online tools. 

When your data is dispersed across lots of different platforms, pulling it all together into one place can be extremely difficult, not to mention time consuming. 

What’s more, getting all that data onto a single platform is just the first step. From there, someone typically needs to review the data to try to make sense of it all so your team can get a clear picture of your student progress. 

That big picture data interpretation generally requires a data specialist to identify important trends. This can create a bottleneck for your student success team, since they may need to wait on your data team in order to take any meaningful action to support struggling students.

Luckily, there are a few ways to get a pulse on your students without having to go to these great lengths. Below we share 3 super easy ways to do just that.  

Don’t mind putting in that extra work? Learn how to build a holistic view of student progress here

Take Preventive Measures

One extremely easy way to get a pulse on student engagement is to structure your program to ensure engagement. Making learners formally apply and get accepted into your program is a great example of this. It requires students to be serious enough about your program to take that extra step, and it gives your team a chance to qualify incoming students and filter out anyone with glaring red flags.  

By taking this kind of preventive measure, you tip the odds in your favor right from the get-go by selecting students who are predisposed to be more engaged. While this isn’t nearly as complete as tracking and interpreting multiple data points, it’s a quick and easy way to nip potential engagement issues in the bud before your students even get started. 

Leverage a North Star Metric

If tracking lots of different data points across multiple tools seems like a ton of work, an alternative is to select a single north star metric that gives a clear sense of your student engagement. 

For example, instead of tracking attendance, LMS logins, assignment submission, and community engagement, you can introduce a task that makes it clear that students are reviewing all of the content, such as posting a weekly reflection video answering questions or giving their impressions on the content from that week. 

In order to submit a convincing video with the required details, students need to be on track with all of the other components of your learning program. And, since this is a single metric to track, your team won’t need to pull together data from a variety of sources. They can track this one metric to know everything they need about their students each week.

Use Automations

Automating data aggregation and interpretation is a surefire way to simplify your student engagement tracking and give you a clear pulse on your learners. 

Virtually’s Student Relationship Manager (SRM) is built to help online learning programs track and aggregate key insights across your tools, even taking the extra step of automating personalized outreach to help course correct high-risk students before they drop-off. 

With the Virtually SRM, you can import custom data from any of your tools - i.e. your LMS, Slack, assignment data, attendance data - and flag at-risk students based on custom triggers you create according to your program’s known warning signs. These triggers function as the data aggregation and interpretation step you would often need your data team to complete, thus putting power back in the hands of your student success team and removing that bottleneck. 

What’s more, organizations that also use Virtually’s Virtual Event Manager (VEM), can apply attendance and feedback data generated from using the VEM to the custom triggers they create with the SRM. More data, less work, better outcomes for your learners. It’s a win-win. 

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Read Next: Case Study: How the Best Online Schools use Active Intervention to Reduce Drop-out Rates and Boost Student Engagement

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually