Retention Interventions » Roth Learning
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Retention Interventions

There are over 4,800 higher education institutions in the United States and many struggle with online student retention, which may be the single biggest threat to bottom line and mission.

  • All Online

  • Partial Online

Of 5.8M Fall 2014 distance ed students, 2.85M take all courses online
Online students drop at a much higher rate than traditional students.

percent of students taking at least one online course

The cost of acquiring new students is exponentially higher than to retain them.
Our Process:

Retention Interventions connect the pillars of online student support — student services, faculty, and career services — to bridge transactional distance with support infrastructure from enrollment to graduation. First-in courses, faculty hiring and development, course structure, student orientation, and the virtual classroom are all critical planks in the Retention Interventions platform.

Phase I:

Institutional Readiness

Online student retention is tough work. Moving the retention needle requires embracing improvement over perfection, one student at a time. Leadership must be committed to knocking down the walls between departments with shared ownership of student retention across the lifecycle. During Institutional Readiness, policies, processes, outcomes, and accountability are examined, including:

    • Organizational structure, including student-to-support staff ratios
    • Online student retention metrics
    • Student-at-risk systems and processes
    • Cultural implications for change

If leadership determines that barriers to change are too significant to address, the Roth Learning engagement ends. Roth Learning believe that readiness is key to improving online student retention.

Phase II:

Evaluation and Action Planning

The student experience is evaluated with fresh eyes to identify where the transactional distance gap widens and retention improvement opportunities abound:

    • Online readiness, interlacing orientation timing, content, structure, proficiency requirements, and remediation
    • Faculty policies and processes, including hiring, on boarding performance evaluation, and scheduling processes
    • Virtual classroom, including “student-centricity” and structure
    • First-in course, including tools for long term engagement and success
    • Course structure, focused upon course length and opportunity for accelerated courses
    • Metrics and reporting, including structure, frequency, and action-orientation
    • At-risk student support policies, processes and functions
    • Collaborative framework, focusing upon connectivity between faculty and student services
    • Analytical modeling of student attribute and behaviors to tailor interventions

The Retention Interventions Plan delineates improvement initiatives, accountabilities, measurable deliverables, resources required, and timing.

Phase III:


The institution embarks upon execution of the Retention Interventions Plan. From strategy to execution, the Roth Learning team works side-by-side with leadership to guide change management, measure progress at check points, make mid-course corrections, and celebrate success. Timing for execution is driven by the breadth of the Action Plan and the institution’s urgency for change.