Student engagement in a compliance world.

Much has changed over the 10+ years of my involvement in the delivery of technology to the education and training sectors. Having watched the explosion in private education providers, we now see a significant amount of consolidation, along with a shift back to public providers. We see government policy changing on a regular basis, and funding linked to the delivery of training in the RTO space has reduced drastically. There’s been a dramatic shift to compliance and proof of student engagement, and this is a challenge that providers must meet head on. So how does ensuring student engagement ties across with auditing and compliance needs in today’s world? And how can technology help?

What is engagement and why should I care?

Student engagement is essentially a measure of how curious and attentive a student is in their studies. It indicates how invested they are and how relevant they feel it is to their lives and future ambitions. If you see the point of what you’re studying, you’re more likely to take part and engage in that learning.

Student engagement also differs depending on the type of training on offer and the setting in which it’s provided. An electrical apprentice completing their first year of study engages with their education in a different way to somebody completing a short course in first aid.

An engaged student is likely to do well. Along with giving an indication of how well the learning is being delivered and whether or not the students are in the right type of education and training, successful students also benefit your business. They report on their experiences to friends and family, and in today’s world of Google reviews and Facebook ratings, this can make a big difference to your success as a provider.

As well as the obvious benefits to the students themselves and your business, tracking engagement and learning activities is also required by government and training authorities, like ASQA. It isn’t enough to check that students log into a Learning Management System (LMS). You need to show evidence of learning material viewed, spent time completing activities, and regular contact from teaching staff. Having an efficient way to collect proof that is immediately to hand gives you a powerful advantage when you could be audited at anytime.

How do I track and capture the proof?

A registered training organisation needs a student management system to track the student journey from enrolment through to the attainment of their qualification. Systems can vary significantly in their usefulness in tracking student engagement. Most systems available today will meet all your compliance and AVETMISS reporting needs (with some making this job easier than others), but few do a good job of capturing proof of student engagement.

When you’re evaluating new systems or reviewing your existing one, always ask:

  • Does it provide a single capture point?
    Having a notes field isn’t going to cut it. It’s nearly impossible to find the evidence you need at a later stage. A good system lets you capture all interactions - emails, SMS messages, surveys, meetings with tutors, phone calls and so on. Once entered into your system they become findable and reportable data. You should also be able to add new types of interaction, such as social media contact and web chats, as and when you introduce these channels of communication.
  • Does it provide flexible reporting?
    • Your system’s compliance reporting needs to be both user-friendly and flexible enough to meet the changing needs of Government. That means data fields and new reporting files can be added quickly and easily.
    • A BI Dashboard is essential. The CEO and executive teams must be able to view all levels of student engagement, and see at a glance that compliance and auditing requirements are being met.
    • Your system’s operational reporting should be user driven, provided through self-service, and based on parameters that are important for your business. Adding new parameters or fields to your reports should be simple to achieve in-house.

Look for a system that provides powerful and robust reporting features that lets you expand and adapt to new business challenges and KPIs.

  • Does it provide you with a single source of truth? 
    A student management system doesn’t need to provide every single feature you want if it integrates seamlessly with other systems. Integration with social media, LMS and email blasting tools like MailChimp, Moodle and Hootsuite are now critical to measuring student engagement.

Look for a system that gives you the ability to integrate and create effective, reportable workflows.

A successful student engagement strategy will produce better outcomes for your students and your business. The real challenge is finding a student management platform that supports your strategy.

Your technology platform should measure and report on how successful your training and education business is, while collecting critical information required by the government.

If you want to experience first-hand how effectively Fusion5 has delivered software support to the education and training sector, please contact us.


Ben Stewart, Director Industry Solutions 



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