College uses IBM software to reduce student dropout rates

Brockenhurst College is using software from IBM to reduce the number of students dropping out of courses

Brockenhurst College in Hampshire is using IBM software to reduce student dropout rates. The software provides teachers with online resources detailing pupils' progress.

The Exceptional Student Experience (ESE) technology, which uses cloud, analytics and social media, aids students' progress.

Resources for students are tailored to their needs, and teaching staff will receive notifications about students at risk of not completing their course or working to their full potential. The information will include books students have checked out of the library and extracurricular activities they are involved in. 

The technology uses algorithms to identify signs that a student is at risk of failing a module or dropping out of their studies, giving teachers a chance to step in.

The college hopes the investment will increase the number of students enrolling by 15% and reduce the amount of students at risk of dropping out by 15% over the next five years.

IBM’s Softlayer cloud platform will deliver ESE to the college, allowing it to avoid the £500,000 cost of buying physical infrastructure.

The technology will also support students after they have completed their studies, by providing details on job openings associated with their skill-sets. 

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The technology will also connect students with past alumni whom they may benefit from knowing for the purpose of their careers. 

Di Roberts, principal and CEO at Brockenhurst College, said: “The quality of the student experience is critical to the success of an institution, so colleges and universities need to focus on student engagement to meet the changing needs of incoming and existing students.

"The latest technology we are introducing will not only attract new students and give them the best learning experience at Brockenhurst, but also make our students more technology literate for when they enter the job market and secure careers after studying with us."

ESE could also reduce the college's annual administration costs by up to £300,000.

According to a recent survey by City & Guilds of 600 further-education professionals, 80% of tutors believe the use of technology has had a positive impact on teaching and learning, but 62% say they lack the time and support to explore all the options.

The Technology in FE Survey Report found that two-thirds (66%) feel technology improves teaching and learning, but better support and investment is needed to move the industry forward.

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