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Identifying and supporting a disengaged Darren

Expert Tips
Caitlin Foran
Written by
Caitlin Foran

Meet Darren.

Darren signed up to the course and plunged in for a few hours with a hiss and a roar completing a bunch of the course in one go. But… life happened. Darren hasn’t been back online for a while now and is in danger of falling behind.

But how do we know we’ve got a Disengaged Darren? And, more importantly, how do we help him?

Spotting Darren in the Class Console

Darren jumped into the course that one time (or a couple of times) and hasn’t really been been back consistently. You can spot Darren on the Longest without progress tile.

Screenshot of the "Longest without progress" tile on the Class Console, highlighting Darren as having gone 10 days without a progress increase.

You can also find him by sorting your learner list by Time since progress increase and/or Previous session.

Screenshot of the Learner tab of the Class Console in iQualify highlighting "Sort by: Last session" and "Ascending" and Darren second from the top of the list and as having previous session 10 days ago.

Supporting Darren

Remind Darren to get back into the course

If both Time since progress increase and Previous session are similar e.g. 10 days ago, then Darren could do with a quick reminder to pop back into the course. Something like:

“Hi Darren, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you online in the course. Hope everything is going okay? This is just a friendly reminder to pop back into the course and keep up that progress. Coming up we’ve got [brief reminder of roughly where they should be up to in the next wee while].Look forward to seeing you in the course!”

Rule out a struggling Sven

If it’s been a while since a progress increase, but the previous session was relatively recent,  then he doesn't need a reminder, he just hasn't completed pages or tasks when he last logged in. That means you might actually have a Struggling Sven on your hands. Now’s a good time to dive into their responses for tasks.

Screenshot of Darren's non-assessed tasks showing a mix of correct (green ticks) and incorrect (red cross) responses under the "Mark" column.e

If the responses look good, you’ve got a disengaged Darren.

If the responses are missing the mark, see if the advice we’ve got for Struggling Sven would help.

Strategies for repeated disengagement

If this isn’t the first time you’ve contacted this learner you might want to up the ante a bit. This could be as simple as a message saying:

“Hi Darren, I’ve noticed long gaps between online study for you. While this can be okay, sometimes learners find they get behind or feel left out if they leave it too long. Definitely not an ideal scenario. Learners I’ve worked with in the past have found it really useful to set a reminder on their phone or calendars for online study. Others have found making a decision to hop online for some quick study when they're on the bus or train home useful. It shouldn’t need to be too onerous. Just a quick routine or reminder to get into the habit of regular online study to keep on top of things. What do you think? Let me know if you’d like to chat through any of these approaches.

Allow for flexibility in dates

If your finding you have a few disengaged Darrens in your class, maybe your course needs to flex a bit to fit in with their schedules? Take a look at the study plan you’ve set for your course.

  • Are the dates reasonable?
  • Is there room for flexibility?
  • If a learner was tied up for a few weeks, would they be able to catch up?

Leveraging Darren’s strengths

Darren’s bursts of energy (and hopefully enthusiasm) can be great for initiating class discussions or other activities. If you have these kinds of activities regularly throughout the course, encourage Darren to set reminders for them and take the lead.

Screenshot of an in-page discussion in iQualify with Darren making a post sharing their experience and Sven replying.

He might not be the learner to keep the conversation going (as he doesn’t log on regularly) but his enthusiasm might get others started, and he might even be keen to contribute a summarising post.

Darren is just one of the online learner personas we've explored in our series on the six online learners who need your help (now!).

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