One of the biggest challenges for online education platforms is student retention. On average, 50% of online students fail to complete online courses. Even a successful course will struggle to achieve more than 40 percent completion (source). For online schools that charge on a pay-as-you-go basis, a strong retention strategy is of vital importance.
Among many factors that influence the retention rate, there’s one that has long been underestimated: the class attendance. MyLingoTrip, the platform for learning foreign languages online, pays special attention to attendance. They believe that regular classes keep students motivated and encourage them to stay with the platform longer.
Online class attendance is not a formality
It may seem that class attendance is not necessary to obtain mastery of the subject matter. According to some studies, attendance has little effect on student performance. But this only applies to a passive learning environment where a teacher is a speaker and a student is a listener. In language classes, much of the learning is active. Modern language learning is interaction between a tutor and a student where both actively use the target language.
Recent study reveals that in language courses, class attendance makes a notable impact on student performance. The better students attend, the more progress they make. The more they note the progress, the higher is their motivation to go on with classes, and the more value they see in staying with the platform. In other words, improving class attendance may have a positive impact on student retention rates.
Late cancellations and no-shows in language e-learning
Poor attendance reduces student’s motivation for further learning. Besides, late cancellations and no-shows are a huge headache for e-learning platforms. A class booked and not attended means lost revenue for both the tutor and the platform. That’s why online class bookings usually are binding.
At MyLingoTrip, students may cancel a class up to 48 hours before the scheduled time, with no charge. Otherwise, the arranged hour is considered completed and won’t be refunded. Simple and straight-forward as it seems, the solution has its downsides. The upset and annoyance students may feel over the lost paid classes are definitely not the emotions that any commercial brand would want to rise.
The most frequent reason behind the online class no-shows
The most frequent reason behind a now-show is forgetfulness. Around 30-40% of all appointments are missed unintentionally, just because the attendee forgot to cancel or attend (source). Which means, a simple reminder “hey, you have a Spanish class with John today at 12:00” can save the situation and dramatically improve attendance rates.
MyLingoTrip has an advanced scheduling and notification system in place. They send automated emails to confirm bookings, notify teachers about upcoming lessons, and remind both parties about their scheduled classes. But the truth is, in recent years email as a communication channel has dramatically lost its power. On average, only 20% of emails are opened, and only 10% of these are read within an hour from reception. Time-sensitive messages like class reminders often require a faster, more reliable communication channel.
Addressing this issue, MyLingoTrip has upgraded their notifications system with SMS reminders, powered by Apifonica.
SMS to improve class attendance
MyLingoTrip’s students receive a welcome SMS immediately after registration. Next messages are sent to remind about scheduled classes a few hours in advance. The platform uses alphanumeric sender ID - the set of characters that replaces a regular phone number. Students see “MyLingoTrip” as a sender and may easily recognize messages received from the school.
Unlike emails, 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being received. It was almost immediate when MyLingoTrip noticed a positive change in attendance rate. With Apifonica’s SMS, the school has reduced the number of classes missed due to simple forgetfulness.
Reminders play their role in improving attendance, but also contribute to the overall platform experience. Reduced no-shows mean less disappointment and misunderstanding caused by the school’s refund policies. With the Trustpilot rating of 4.9 based on 140+ positive reviews, MyLingoTrip is a clear example of a positive impact that the right communication channel may have on a business’s bottom line.
MyLingoTrip is an interactive platform for learning foreign languages via Skype and virtual classrooms. Students learn languages with native-speaking tutors, monitor and view their progress in each core language skill, and build fluency in real one to one conversations. The platform offers 8 European languages and welcomes students from around the globe.