Breathe new life into student engagement with personalized experiences

Breathe new life into student engagement with personalized experiences

Ask educators to name one thing that is critical to student learning. There won’t be a consensus, but they would agree that student engagement is a key ingredient to student learning. And the 2023/24 Xello College and Career Readiness Report confirms the value of student engagement, as educators cite this as a top challenge to address when assessing the success of their career development activities.

Xello is laser-focused on creating the best CCR software for student engagement, and the newly launched Dashboard Feed is making its presence known—educators and data confirm it. Read on and listen to a recent remote roundtable to learn about the Dashboard Feed successes from the pilot program in Kansas and for tips to boost student engagement in 2024.

Inspiring students to start future planning

Young people dream of their future. They are anxious to move forward and experience ‘real life.’ Many students, however, feel school is not preparing them for their future. In a 2016 YouthTruth survey of 55,000 high school students, only half reported feeling that their high schools prepared them with the knowledge and skills they need for college.

CCR programs can inform and direct students so they dream of a future they may experience. Yet, 43% of respondents report that student engagement is challenging with their current CCR programs and tools. The challenges exist from day one, which is why the Xello CCR program is available throughout the K-12 student experience.

Xello’s Dashboard Feed transformation provides students with personalized college, career, and lifestyle content, videos, and new resources—organized in a social media-style feed that meets them where they are. The end goal: Boost the ever-so-tricky student engagement and create future plans meaningful to them.

Personalize the experience: Overcome skepticism, see results

Time is a constant battle for educators, creating a balancing act between curriculum, college and career planning, and managing student needs. CCR activities may seem like another thing to accomplish, so learning new software could be burdensome. To push through and overcome skepticism, educators need to feel confident that their program can indeed inspire students and keep them engaged.

Xello’s Dashboard Feed is personally customized based on each student’s interests and saved options, like colleges and careers. It adjusts as student’s interests change. The custom feed gives students more reasons to log in on their own, explore, and envision their life after high school.

Encouraged by the results from the fall semester in Kansas, the message is clear. Personalized experiences means more engagement. Not only were student logins up, but views of the dashboard and other pages across their Xello experience also saw significant increases in views, too. And that’s all without deterring their attention away from their core activities.

The personalized Dashboard Feed engages students because it makes them explore career and college paths further. In real time. No waiting for a school counselor or teacher to come back with more info. It empowers students to make more informed decisions about something they care deeply about.

The sleek and attractive layout of the Dashboard Feed gives students a pleasant user experience. They can scroll down the page and see videos, articles, podcasts, tips, advice, as well as fun facts and trivia. It’s reminiscent of social media, except it focuses on positive and relevant subjects, with content that is carefully curated by a Xello team of editors.

When students are given more reasons to login and explore on their own, it takes the pressure off educators to always be the ones to nudge them to complete a task on their dashboard. They get age-appropriate information that sparks curiosity and empowers them to make informed decisions. The logic being, that when students learn more about their personal interests, it can extend a CCR program beyond the classroom and into their homes. With this new knowledge becoming a conversation starter at a dinner table, with other trusted adults like coaches, or their peers.

“Secrets to Student Engagement” Xello Roundtable reactions

Our December Remote Roundtable featured a discussion about the Dashboard Feed and tips for engaging students, reengaging disengaged students, and more.

To get students thinking about life after high school, Christiann Thomas, a career and college specialist at the Fife School District in Washington state suggests bringing industry into the school and students into the industry. “…They really don’t stop to think about the opportunities [their community] brings to them.” Her district is near the Port of Tacoma and when she promotes visits from professionals in the field, it ignites curiosity and get students to ask questions. Then they see it–that “a-ha” moment.

Seeing disengaged students can be disheartening. Briana Evans, a school counselor at a Kansas high school notes, “I think it’s important to recognize that anything that you do in the area of career development, the kids are learning. They might appear to be disengaged and reluctant learners, but they are processing it.” Evans shared stories about her recent Career Symposium and how its grown over time to deliver richer student outcomes. Students in workplaces applying skills and information they’ve learned.

Thomas believes personalization is also a way to re-engage a disengaged student. “If students can see themselves in a personalized feed, that’s going to get them to buy in to the whole program.” She added, “I want our students to be able to see themselves, like I do, in any aspect of career and college readiness.” Another way is by incorporating Xello Portfolios in the mix. “…We really want our students to think about their Xello account as their career portfolio, their personalized path… whether that is future planning or looking at our AVID students and having those classes build their portfolios into a robust system that is very personalized to them.”

Evans is part of the school district where the pilot for the Dashboard Feed took place. She shared some observations noting that the students are attracted to and reading the feeds. And, in speaking from a personal perspective as a parent, Evans shared we’re on the right track. “My son, who is a senior, came home and was talking about something he read in those feeds. They’re definitely getting information from it.”

Watch: Secrets to Student Engagement Roundtable for more tips & tricks from Xello educators

Boost student engagement with the Dashboard Feed

As an educator, student engagement is both a priority and a challenge. The newly launched Dashboard Feed in Xello has demonstrated benefits to increasing student engagement by serving them up relevant content in a style most familiar to them.

Learn more about it, along with resources you can use to introduce the Dashboard Feed to students over on Xello Support. For questions, reach out to your Success Manager.