How Flemming Efterskole uses real-time data to strengthen student engagement and growth
Few educational institutions have a more holistic approach towards student experience than Danish continuation schools (boarding schools), and being one of the most well-reputed schools in the country there is a lot to learn from Flemming Efterskole.
The concept of Danish continuation schools is formed on the basis of growing the young student personally and academically, building the most memorable year of his/her total educational journey.
Most often, Flemming’s students go to the school for one year, before they start high school or similar. However, they already sign up for a waiting list up to three years before they start, resulting in great expectations and putting huge demands on the actual experience.
For several years, Flemming has seen it as a prerequisite for a strong student experience that close relationships are built - not just between peers but also between students, teachers and other school representatives. Putting the values of trust, tolerance and peace of mind at the core of each student’s journey and growth.
Whereas weekly interactions with each individual student support building these relationships, there has been a need for an institution wide overview clarifying student well-being unbiased, and at a more general level, and at the same time serving as an early warning system catching those students in need of help.
Together with Flemming Efterskole's student engagement team, a three-step process was put in place: first a period of testing and calibrating, then the definition of milestones and drivers and finally the actual work with data. All resulting in a simple setup.
Trial and error
Before launching the platform, three months were used to discover distribution strategies, data needs and feedback loops. In this process, three check-ins were conducted in an iterative process where each pulse were adjusted based on results from previous pulses - not only adjusted to the discovered student pain points but also adjusted to the usability of feedback collected, continuously asking the question: “has the student feedback provided you with information that you did not know earlier on, and if yes have that information been applicable as well”?
Seven steps, three drivers, one call to action
To cover the most important aspects of the students' one year journey, seven different milestones were identified, from 4 weeks before students started until their last day at the school. All milestones being related to either a period coming to an end (meaning a new one to start) or a significant event.
For each milestone, an intelligent check-in was built up around three main drivers* of institutional support, student well-being and student growth, reusing main KPI questions throughout the year to uncover positive and negative trends. Furthermore, a major student call to action ended every pulse connecting the individual student with her/his mentor in just one click, removing all barriers of “reaching out for help”.
*The check-ins of preboarding and end-of-year put a bigger focus on student communication and future recruitment.
An institution wide overview of student well-being
To easily work with student feedback, a real-time dashboard and two simple heatmaps were set up to help the student engagement team identify groups of risk within each student experience driver. Heatmaps divided students into groups based on their housing situation as well as class, making it easy to share information with responsible teachers and housing contact persons. Finally, a simple overview provided mentors with information about students requesting help right away.
The daily-weekly feedback loop
Throughout the year, check-ins were shared with and replied to by students during weekly morning assemblies already put in place. In this way, data for all students was gathered at once, uncovering trends, areas of risk and students needing help, in real-time.
To support the work with real-time data, a well defined process was established introducing the first feedback loop within 24 hours, where students requesting help were reached out to by their mentors. And for the upcoming morning assembly the week after, main pain points and student suggestions were given words to by student engagement representatives, not necessarily caring out significant actions but acknowledging the student feedback received.
Support to the student engagement team, management mentors and teachers in their daily work with student well-being and growth.
Increased use of existing student services by nudging students and providing them with easy call to actions.
A structured process of looking into student feedback and defining potential actions, and when and how to get back to students.
Student Engagement & Mentoring, Flemming Efterskole
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