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5 Ways to Boost Your Completion Rates

August 10, 2018

Ah, completion rates.

No matter how much you try to keep them high, some things are just out of your control: student drop outs are just a natural part of being an RTO.

A recent NCVER study has found the reasons why students leave their qualifications unfinished. Analysing nearly two and a half million enrolment records of government-funded students, NCVER identified the top 20 factors which influence completion.

The Top 3 Offenders

1. Field

The most influential driver behind the likelihood of completing a VET qualification is the field of study. Students of the health, society, and culture sectors boasted completion rates around the 50% mark, whereas mixed field programs and the creative arts appear most prone to dropouts.

2. Unemployment

Employed students were 13% more likely to complete their studies than those who were unemployed.

3. Level of Qualification

Students studying a Cert I were most at risk of non-completion.

Going Broader

NCVER categorised the top 10 factors into five groups:

  1. Course attributes: field of education, qualification level, client apprenticeship flag, and training package flag.
  2. Provider attributes: training provider type and course enrolment size.
  3. Student attributes: labour force status, reason for undertaking training, school flag status, disability status, age, prior education, remoteness, Indigenous status, English-speaking ability, socioeconomic status, and gender.
  4. Student choice: mode of attendance and full-time status
  5. State/Territory

The lion’s share belongs nearly equally to two factors: course attributes and student attributes. State location and RTO traits played a smaller role, but interestingly learner choices—like their delivery mode and study load—show a high level of importance.

What this means for you

If you want to shine at AVETMISS time with impressive completion rates, there are a few things your RTO can do.

1. Decrease unemployment

The second highest factor in determining qualification completion is a student’s participation in the workforce. Unemployed learners are at high risk of not finishing their studies.

Make sure you offer flexible study options so your learners feel they can balance work and study. Your support will go a long way in helping students feel more confident about taking on more work and striving harder. You can also host networking events and set up non-employed students with career advisors to help job seekers find work.

2. Encourage blended learning

Students who are classroom-only, online-only, or correspondent are most at risk, whereas learners whose training is multimodal boast a 56% likelihood of completion. Make blended learning a priority in your RTO, giving your students a choice in how and when they digest content.

3. Encourage full-time learning

Full time students are twice as likely to graduate than part-time learners.

When a student feels their education is dragging out over time, they’re prone to losing heart. Help your learners stay true to their vision by encouraging them to pursue a full-time study load.

4. Help first-time learners

Students who’ve completed a previous qualification become more likely to complete their next one. Students who haven’t studied before might find it hard to adjust to a new lifestyle as a learner, and they don’t come prepared with the knowledge of someone who’s done it before.

Offer support services to students who are undertaking their initial education experience. Give them tips ‘n’ tricks to make navigating around digital resources a bit easier, and be lenient when they make rookie errors.

5. Cater for disadvantaged learners

Students who are disabled, living in remote areas, are indigenous, or from low-socioeconomic backgrounds show higher levels of non-completion. NCVER has some great tips for catering for those learners, which you can read about here.

We all deserve the best from VET, and it’s imperative that your RTO offers support services for students who are at risk of non-completion.

Although some things are out of your control (just look at that pie chart!), there are active steps your RTO can take to ensure you’re always doing your best to help your students complete their educational journey.