Student Retention: 3 Things That Helps Adult Educators Take Control

Student Retention: 3 Things That Helps Adult Educators Take Control

Let’s admit it. Losing learners week after week is demoralizing both for you and the rest of your class. This is scary, right? But things can get even worse. How…?

The more learners you lose the higher the risk you will lose more. Why? That’s the domino effect. That’s why you’ve got to stop the trend.

Keeping adult learners interested in your class requires more than teaching content— it takes a holistic approach. I personally find it difficult. But I never give up… because over the years I’ve created a list of ways to help adult educators maximize their student retention rate. Read on… 

My last post on student retention presented 3 techniques (strategies or whatever you want to call them). This one is about 3 things you must do to get control over your retention rate. Without further ado, let’s look at each one closely.

1- Teach Time Management

Regardless of the focus of your class, teach or review good time management tips. It is necessary. How?

  • Have a conversation about the benefits of keeping a schedule or an agenda
  • Share time management tools (templates, smart phones tips) that enable students to plan their daily and weekly schedules
  • Help students develop a schedule for the whole class term
  • Show learners how to prioritize life events and/or tasks
  • Encourage learners to block time to study, read, and/or practice

You may encourage learners to study or work with friends, classmates, and/or family members that might hold them accountable. Doing so may motivate them to stay on track. 

2- Keep an Open Line of Communication

Establish your communication system. Keep it simple, consistent, and easy for your learners. How?

  • Discuss communication expectations with learners 
  • Let students contribute to a notification policy for absences and tardiness
  • Set up and send out group reminders as necessary (texts, Google voice, or emails )
  • Set clear and realistic attendance goal with your class (minimum hours required for post-testing)
  • Provide learners with tools to help them their attendance
  • Use texts, calls (Google voice), emails and other relevant media
  • Call or text learners who skip classes during class time (why? perfect timing to let them know their absence is noticeable)
  • Reach out to learners and use personal connection as leverage (don’t be judgmental)

Use communication to foster good rapport. Listen to your learners. Understand them. Treat them with utmost respect. That will show you genuinely care.

3- Have a Clear Classroom Structure

 It will help your learners if they know what to expect, do, and how to find resources. Take guessing out of your classroom. Be predictable. Use a clear framework.  How?

  • Set clear goals for the class
  • Have a clear syllabus for the class term
  • Start your class on time
  • Be intentional when starting and closing your lesson
  • Have an agenda and refer to it from time to time during lesson implementation
  • Show clear transitions from one unit to the next
  • Teach learners to organize their work and handouts (use physical,  online binders, or folders)
  • Give homework (do it consistently)
  • Have a clear strategy to bring absentees up to speed (otherwise…)

A clear structure helps learners develop productive study and work habits. However, be mindful that some learners may need extra support. My next post will address how to better capture learners’ interest. Subscribe to the blog to receive free proven teaching best practices

That’s it for now… But before I end this piece, let me ask you: why should learners stay in your class? How do you maximize retention? 

Write you answer in the comment below.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing this post in your network.

The coach

Teddy Edouard is a Learning Consultant & an Instructional Coach with a passion for Teaching, Learning, and Cognitive Science. He is on a mission to help institutions, teachers, and training professionals maximize the effectiveness of their instructional and non-instructional interventions. Teddy translates adult learning theories and other research into ready-to-use classroom teaching tips and strategies for the benefits of adult learners and instructors.

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