Looking for tech to manage coaching and learning paths? Look no further than your own desktop.
It seems that every educational organization we run into is working to build custom learning lifecycles for all their students. It’s crazy to me that just five years ago it was radical to suggest that every student should have a personalized learning pathway, that they should be guided by a coach and a team of mentors, and that every student should develop a clear personal vision or “purpose” for their learning experience. What was radical, is now mainstream…in concept if not in practice.
Now, everyone has read the Lean Start Up and wants to build an MVP. We were no different, our first student management system was a hacked together bunch of spreadsheets, YouTube videos, gmail and a cell phone. That hack broke pretty quickly though when we started to work with more than 50 or so students.
Now, we have a beautiful (hey, I’m a founder and I think my baby is gorgeous), elegant, and comprehensive Learning Relationship Management (LRM) System that allows any organization to blend coaching, mentoring, content, goal setting and community engagement into personalized learning lifecycles for thousands of students at a time.
But if you’re just starting up, and don’t have to deal with thousands of students at a time. Maybe you’ve just got a dozen or two. If that’s your case, we recommend that you do what we did and hack it.
Here are 7 simple steps to managing coaching and learning paths without spending a dime.
- Write down your desired lifecycle. Download an example here. Only you can decide what is required and what is optional. But once you’ve decided, stick to the plan. Outline coaching actions throughout student lifecycle. It’s also helpful to establish contact frequency expectations for both check ins and coaching sessions.
- Recruit students. Sorry, that one is up to you.
- Assemble content. We recommend brainstorming 15 content pieces that you’ll need to get started. No need to be too fancy to get moving. Some youtube videos, wikipedia pages, Khan Academy exercises, Lynda courses are fine. Use this Content Template as a guide for students. There is so much great content out there that we strongly recommend curation first, creation second.
- Coach your students. Rapport is THE most important thing. Assign a coach to every student and make sure those coaches seek to understand first, and to be understood second. Ask the students what matters most to them. What are the students there for? What are their goals? Coaching is a minute to learn and a lifetime to master, just like Othello (™).
- Build student agency. From the start, clarify with students that the goal is to build them towards independence and interdependence, not to make them dependent on you. Dependence just kicks the problem down the road a bit. Students have agency when they have a clear Purpose, a solid Pathway of goals, and a support network of People other than the coach to help them pursue their purpose. We call that the 3Ps of Success (™).
- Track student progress. If you’re going to coach students, you’ve got to have a way to hold them accountable. And even more critically, if you’re going to build their agency, they’ve got to have a way to track their own progress. Use this tool called “Sherpa” to keep track of who you’ve talked to, when and about what. And use this tool called the Student Home to collaborate with students to make sure that they have a clear Purpose, solid Pathway and support network of People to support their progress.
- Call Us to Scale. These tools will work great until you get to around 50 students. After that, the whole thing will get more unwieldy, you’ll miss important stuff, and it will be far too manual. At that point, you’ll be ready for an upgrade to a full featured LRM. Contact us and we’ll set you up with a powerful tool to scale your efforts.
For visual learners, here’s a video to explain how to use all these tools.