The 3 Indicators of Student Retention and Success

April 6, 2022

One of the top reasons many of us join the field of education is to see our students succeed. We want to see them successfully complete coursework, skillfully apply the knowledge they’ve gained, and then go out into the world and make an impact. 

That’s why learning programs dedicate so much time and energy to making sure their learners are on track and stay committed to their learning program of choice. 

But student retention and overall success can be tricky, especially for online learning programs. Students often have multiple priorities pulling them in opposite directions, making it especially challenging to juggle everything and stay focused. 

That said, wouldn’t it be great if you knew with a high likelihood that a student was going to drop out of your online learning program before it happened? Imagine how you could intervene to support them and get them back on track! 

Turns out you can.

There are three surefire signals that you can track to determine whether students are struggling or if they’re on track. 

It’s as easy as ABC:

  • Attendance - How frequently are they showing up to live online learning sessions? Are they missing multiple sessions in a row? 
  • Behavior - How active are they on your community platforms? Are they participating in conversations, responding to conversation prompts, commenting on peer questions? 
  • Coursework - Are they submitting assignments, quizzes, and exams on time? 

When you track these three metrics, it becomes pretty obvious when a student is struggling. If, for example, they’ve missed 3 live sessions in a row, haven’t posted on you community platform for a week, and are missing the last 2 assignments - you know something must be off. 

That’s when it’s exceptionally important to intervene. You’d be surprised how effective a check-in email or an offer for a 1:1 chat can be to motivate a student to stay on track. 

Of course, tracking these metrics can be pretty time consuming. Not to mention the resources required to analyze this data and take action on it. 

Learn more about the importance of tracking data for your live online learning program here.


If you’re struggling to track your ABCs, a Virtual Engagement Tracker (VET) can help. 

A good VET has three major components:

  1. Data Collection - i.e. attendance, feedback, community platform activity, etc.
  2. Data Triggers - flag a student when they’ve met a certain criteria - missed 3 classes, missed 2 assignments, no posts on your community platform for 1 week, etc.
  3. Intervention - automate outreach when learners are flagged to check in and prevent churn

Virtually’s engagement tracker does all this and more. Click here to sign up for our waitlist. 

Read Next: What LMS Should I Use for my Live Online Learning Program? 

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually