Taking care of students as customers.
Guided Pathways are prescriptive checklists enabling learners to follow a sequence of course subjects (learning experiences) so that they can earn a recognizable and valued credential. A pathway could be designed as self-contained or shared among participating institutions. They reveal the staging of the coursework requirements. They are intended to help steer learners away from the general opened ended catalog of learning experiences to a narrow set of coursework from one or more institutions. There are thousands of guided pathways in the U.S. presented and published on paper or converted to digital PDF. Some are linked or listed on institutional web pages. Sadly, many end up in file cabinets or folders rarely to be seen or followed after months of hard work spent putting them together.
Change is difficult, but worth it.
Persistence and completion are correlated to how well learners are guided - and how well they fit into the environment reinforcing completion. It has been shown through numerous industry studies, working with learners proactively, can have a dramatic impact on enrollment and degree success. Over the years, institutions strive to develop proactive practices focused on student success. Central is the need to address how learners attend multiple institutions and expect coursework to map and count toward degree requirements. Course equivalencies generally help learners see what may transfer, but they don't help learners visualize what requirements are satisfied. Pathways are designed to help address the cross walking between providers and their academic requirements.
AcademyOne set out to improve how institutions address Guided Pathways. Initially, we invited a number of institutions in to discuss and brainstorm. Then, we set out to pilot our new set of tools automating building, publishing and promoting Guided Pathways online. As a result, we are expanding beyond a small core set of initial clients.
Things to consider when automating guided pathways.
Automating guided pathways begins with putting the checklist into digital form identifying the requirements. AcademyOne offers a fast and easy toolset for this. Offer prospective students the ability to find and follow the Pathways on your website and other transfer friendly destinations such as www.collegetransfer.net. Help learners view how external learning sources drawn from work, military, volunteer, self study or other learning could satisfy certain pathway requirements. Present how your institution utilizes internal and external assessments. Present study plans or guides recognizing the impact of prior learning credits that you have accepted.
Balance Proactive and Reactive Efforts.
Responding to propective learners seeking prior learning guidance can be supported by proactive and reactive efforts. Reactive efforts address how prospective learners request prior learning assessment adhoc. The proactive effort addresses reusable decisions such as course equivalencies and transfer agreements. The reuse avoids delay and additional academic or administrative review. Harvesting course to course equivalencies leads to developing more specific program to program mappings of requirements. This leads to Guided Pathways and helping narrow down the variations and permutations that requires further review.