STRATEGIES TO INCREASE SUCCESS AND RETENTION: THE ADVANTAGE OF CREATING A PERSONALIZED CLASSROOM
The first step taken was distributing a revised course syllabus, formatted in a more reader-friendly way, followed by a feedback session to evaluate its usefulness. Next, all learners completed a social styles inventory that distinguishes four categories: Drivers (assertive non-responsive), Expressives (assertive responsive), Aimables (non-assertive responsive) and Analyticals (non-assertive non-responsive). A classroom activity follwed, where same-style learners discussed their characteristics, after which learners identified how positive aspects of any given style could be perceived negatively by opposing styles. As a result of this activity, all learners knew not only how they operate but also how to work effectively with learners from other social styles.
The following step involved creating tetrads consisting of learners with different social styles. These groups remained intact the entire semester, and collaborated in classroom activities and a semester-long project.
Last, throughout the semester, the instructor used his knowledge of the learners social styles to enhance classroom management. An example of this would be using expressives to solve problems on the board or even facilitate parts of the lecture.
Retention increased from 79.49% (control group) to 88.89% (focus group), and so did success rates : 80.64% and 84.39%, respectively. The latter is of significance, because increases in retention have seen to cause decreases in success, such as in learning communities.