Colleges and universities need to invest in flexible eLearning tools to ensure that their students succeed during their first year — and beyond.
Of the roughly 20 million students who enroll in American colleges and universities each fall, a mere 45 percent obtain a degree within six years. In addition, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 34 percent of college students drop out before their sophomore year.
As troubling as these figures are, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The U.S. Department of Education reports that 68 percent of students entering public two-year institutions and 40 percent of students entering public four-year institutions require at least one remedial course during their freshman year. This isn’t a matter of students having a weak subject, either, as 26 percent of students at two-year institutions and 9 percent of students at four-year institutions end up taking remedial courses in multiple subjects.
All told, American colleges and universities spend some $1.4 billion providing remedial coursework every year. As postsecondary degrees become increasingly necessary in our high-skill, highly-digitized economy, higher education institutions have little choice but to find creative, affordable ways to help first-year students make the transition from high school to college as seamlessly as possible.
First and foremost, educators can help freshmen master the foundational competencies they need to succeed in college by offering them anytime access to vetted eLearning resources. We’ve previously covered four rudimentary skills that every first-year student should possess — studying and note-taking strategies, time management, online learning, and independent work and research methods. Below, we cover four slightly higher-level skills that will help first-year students succeed, all of which are particularly well-suited to eLearning-based development.
1. Microsoft Excel
Ours is a world dominated by data, and colleges and universities are increasingly placing data entry and analysis at the center of their educational approach — regardless of subject area. Many students encounter spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel during high school, but few are well-versed in the hundreds of shortcuts and advanced capabilities that make these programs mainstays in countless offices across the country. An eLearning platform is a perfect way for students to master less traditionally “academic” skills without taking up valuable class time.
2. Qualtrics and Tableau
Excel is a must-have for every student, but for students aiming to major in — and subsequently, work in — economics, political science, or any STEM field, Excel-based data entry and organization is only the first step. Tools like Qualtrics empower students to field their own surveys and conduct sophisticated longitudinal analyses using functionalities like branching logic and text entry validation. When paired with a tool like Qualtrics (and even Excel), a tool like Tableau enables students to create interactive data visualizations and business intelligence dashboards, an invaluable skill when it comes time for classroom — and later boardroom — presentations.
3. Adobe Creative Suite
Gone are the days when employers — and even many professors — would be impressed by a basic PowerPoint presentation. Today, mastery of the Adobe Creative Suite — especially Photoshop — can set a student apart from their peers. Not every student needs to become a full-on graphic designer, of course, but it’s often well worth it for students to develop the entry-level skills required to become an Adobe Certified Associate. Adobe suite also offers students the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and apply new design skills to in-class projects and presentations.
4. APA Style
Not unlike learning a second (or third) language, learning a new citation and formatting style is made all the more difficult once a student has already committed a different one to memory. These days, most professors prefer research papers in APA style, a set of guidelines that are not inherently difficult but can confuse first-year students who are accustomed to producing work in the MLA or Chicago style. With the help of an eLearning course, students can quickly get up to speed and avoid losing credit simply because of incorrect formatting.
Providing Students with the Ingredients for Success
Making the transition from high school to college can be overwhelming and challenging for first-year students. At Hoonuit, we’re committed to helping higher education institutions provide the comprehensive support students need to succeed.
Our extensive library of learning modules represents a highly-effective way for colleges and universities to provide supplemental educational resources to first-year students. In addition to modules covering the basics of Excel, the Adobe Creative Suite, Qualtrics, and Tableau, Hoonuit delivers anywhere, anytime access to modules covering effective note-taking, time management, critical thinking, Canvas, FAFSA, and much more.
Every first-year student deserves the chance to succeed on an even playing field. A tool like Hoonuit can help your college or university facilitate one.
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