Reaching New Heights Using Old School Ideas?

In 2010, what is your strategy to improve retention, strengthen student engagement, and stay within shrinking budgets? Sounds like it’s time to get creative!  We suggest three pieces of advice. These old adages are holding true in 2010, and could hold the key to your school’s success!

1.       A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

2.       Put your limited money where your mouth is.

3.       Remember there is strength in numbers.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush should remind us how much easier it is to keep a registered student than to find a new one.  Students who are already enrolled in classes, have made a decision to get an education on some level.  Whether it is to increase their job skills, earn a promotion, or just explore what they want to do with the rest of their life, some driving factor brought them to your door.  These students should be treated as priority customers, given attention and support.

Put your money where your mouth is.  If you do believe that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, it’s time to use the funds you have to back up your claims.  Investing in resources to help our current students be successful is crucial in keeping them.  Keeping them enrolled, engaged, and encouraged. All students have different levels of readiness, ideas of necessary skills, and life situations.  These components should be considered when delegating funds to pay for student services.  Decide what the major players are and make sure your budget dollars back-up each initiative.  If necessary spend time putting together a ROI plan to help sell your plan to school officials who sign the checks.

Lastly remember, there is strength in numbers.  With increasing budget constraints, pooling resources is becoming more important now than ever.  Communities, Networks, and Support systems are growing in response to the open technology and accessibility.  Schools are stepping up their “human resources” and inviting talented folks to get in on redesigning the way students learn and are taught.  Buying power is something that many states and organizations are using in their favor.  School officials see a window of hope in consortiums.  Consortiums have been around for a long time and seem to be increasingly popular.  It only makes sense.  When everyone chips in knowledge, resources, and money great things can happen.

As companies provide deep discounts for consortiums or group purchasing, it becomes a win-win-win situation.  Schools find their students having access to a multitude of necessary resources, while paying much less than if they purchased it on their own.  Companies benefit from having many schools to add to their client list, along with exposing a larger audience to the product or service.

eLearningToolBox has recently noticed an influx of interest from consortiums about our distance learning solutions.  Currently we are working with VCT, University System of Georgia Board of Regents, MCCVLC, ETOM, WTCS, NILRC, GVTC, MOL, Texas NetNet, MSVCC, and TXVSN.  Other organizations that represent multiple schools or school districts have also recently voiced an interest in using READI including k12, Insight Schools, and TRECA.

Not only are schools recognizing the need to retain students and help them succeed, but they are playing it smart financially and getting on board with the masses to make the most of their limited budgets. In 2010, make a commitment to evaluate your priorities and make things happen that will take your distance learning program into the new decade!