• Tools and Solutions

Transitioning From Good to Great

Sara Wilson

This spring, Life Skills, our student success and financial wellness program, reached a major milestone when the program’s one millionth course was completed. Although we are proud of that accomplishment and of how Life Skills has contributed to the success of the students and schools we serve, we knew we could do better. So we’re busy doing just that. With the launch of our new student success platform coming soon, we’re working to ensure a smooth transition for our Life Skills customers.

The evolution of Life Skills
We introduced Life Skills in 2000 to offer a proactive complement to our default prevention counseling. The philosophy was pretty straightforward. While reactive measures (or cures) will always be necessary, why not add a proactive (prevention) tactic to the strategy we offer schools?

We started with paper workbooks, VCR tapes and interactive games on CD ROM. Although the curricula were well received, we were always cognizant of the need to change our approach as technology and user preferences changed. By 2009, we had migrated the program entirely online. This not only improved the user experience, but it added a lot to the value we could offer and demonstrate to schools. Usage and performance tracking helped us hone our approach to maximize the positive behavioral changes proven to drive academic and career success.

Life Skills “growing up”
However, as anyone with a smartphone knows, technology and user preferences are constantly changing, and so has the evolution of our student success solutions. We’re about to launch a completely reimagined platform that will help students develop the non-academic competencies that empower academic success and unlock the lifetime of opportunity promised by higher education.

We’re developing content in conjunction with student and expert advisory boards to help ensure relevancy. To make the information even more compelling, we will provide it where and when students want it. That means it will be available on mobile devices, tablets and computers, and will be organized into modular sections that are amenable to demanding student schedules.

Our new resources launch soon, so stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, we’re ensuring our current Life Skills customers, which includes nearly 300 schools, have ample time to transition. Life Skills won’t be phased out until June of next year, and we’ll be in touch with each school to get them up to speed on how they can make our enhanced modules available to their students.

Financial literacy challenges are nothing new to students and schools, but that doesn’t mean they don’t demand a new approach. We’re excited about our model because in developing it, we changed the question from “How do we make students use this resource?” to “How do we make students want to use this resource?” We think that same motivation is going to make the transition process for our schools an even smoother one.

Sara WilsonSara Wilson is a Student Connections product manager.