Data & Behavioural Insights

Could TAFEs boost completion rates at scale with behavioural science?

While attracting and enrolling students is always a primary focus for VET providers, TAFEs also need to support those students and apprentices who do enrol in a student journey with them, to boost their engagement, progress and learning outcomes.


Doing this well could mean boosting completion rates at scale while realising individual learning and career goals.


The quality of student support can heavily influence completion rates. With TAFEs taking large numbers of students every year into courses, it can be difficult to deploy enough personalisation to know and manage each student towards completion and success.


Could student support be improved through behavioural science and analytics intelligence?


TAFEs and behavioural science


Behavioural science is shedding new light on education every day. We are now well aware of the barriers students face to complete, whether they are real-world barriers (like distance or language) or those based on individual mindset and motivation for learning.


TAFEs have an opportunity to capitalise on vast improvements in behavioural science understanding to improve their support.


One thing we know, for example, is that attitude or ‘psychological readiness’ (more than any other factor - from a student’s English abilities to whether they can drive) is the single greatest moderator of the likelihood of achieving an education outcome.


We also know what psychological readiness looks like. Using models like the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioural Change, we can reveal a student's real commitment to a course, on a scale of being ready for action to completely uncommitted and at risk. 


As we begin to convert these understandings into actual student data, we gain valuable insights and predictive analytics.


For example, ReadyTech’s behavioural science arm Esher House has assessed tens of thousands of Australian apprentices with an AI-driven, behavioural science-backed digital motivational survey at the time they have commenced their apprenticeship.


This data shows 40% of new apprenticeship starters already have a predictable risk of potential non-completion.


In fact, 34.4% of new starters can already be categorised as ‘wobbly’ at the gateway stage - even though they might be saying and doing the right things, there are factors influencing their commitment to their course. Meanwhile, 6.2% are already at a severe risk of dropping out, with very little or no commitment to moving forward, even though they have put their name down.


TAFE providers already know these completion risks exist, even if they may be less profound than the apprenticeships market. The difference is, they now have the power to turn behavioural science to their advantage in a bigger way; they can uncover which of their students think and feel what, and deliver the most appropriate support in an efficient, scalable and measurable way.


Taking behavioural science digital


TAFEs are now equipped to assess and segment their student cohorts based on psychological readiness at scale. They can do this at enrolment stage and or periodically throughout the student lifecycle, to 'check-in', measure progress and support completion.


Even better, armed with what we know about the science of human resilience, TAFEs are able to respond in the most appropriate way to a student's actual level of course commitment - and do it digitally in the way students are now interacting with the world.


ReadyTech's Esher House is one way for TAFEs to achieve this. Esher House recently launched a purpose-built digital behavioural science assessment, segmentation and support offering for TAFE and VET to support their future student completion rates.


With Digital Activation Modules (DAMs), TAFEs can utilise an AI-backed, digital attitudinal assessment tool to capture real student attitudes towards courses and learning and, using data analytics, predict the likelihood of course completion.


They can automatically segment student cohorts and respond appropriately to individuals with personalised, targeted digital resilience support videos tailored for their level of commitment to progress and completing their course.


In other words, we now have the behavioural science understanding and tools to support better completion rates into the future.


The future of understanding?


Students all have different reasons for starting an education and training course, and different attitudes and levels of commitment.


But educators can now mitigate the risk of non-completion and drive sustained outcomes. Using behavioural science, TAFEs can deliver a new level of personalised student support, ultimately empowering students in their pursuit of education and work goals.


Interested in learning more about how we help TAFE providers improve student support and completion rates with behavioural science? Learn more here.