One of the commendations SelfDesign Learning Community received during its BC Ministry of Education inspection this year was for our excellent course completion rate.

“Of all the learners in grade 10 to 12 who start one of our courses, 95 per cent successfully complete the course,” says SelfDesign Chief Learning Officer Nikki Kenyon. “The provincial average for online courses completed in 2019/2020 was about 65 per cent. This indicates SelfDesign is doing something right to keep our learners engaged and active in our courses.”

A course completion rate is the percentage of learners at a school who finish the courses they register for and start.

So what is it about SelfDesign that makes our learners in grades 10 to 12 – and SelfDesign – so successful in this way? A number of factors contribute to this achievement.

Read about our 2021/2022 BC Ministry of Education inspection results

Semi-structured, theme-based courses

“Our courses have start and end dates, as well as suggested pacing along the way,” says SelfDesign Learning Community Principal Catherine Dinim.

Our grade 10 to 12 courses, which are theme-based, each last one semester. Our courses provide many options for learners to undertake and demonstrate their learning, and are structured a bit differently than some courses offered by online schools in B.C.

“Each of our courses has weekly challenges for learners to undertake and submit, as well as real-time meetings with learning specialists, who guide learners through each course, and open office hours, when learners can bring up questions and concerns with the learning specialist,” Catherine says.

In contrast, at other online schools in B.C., high school–level courses are often self-paced. Students who register for the courses are usually responsible for monitoring their own progress and getting their assignments done and submitted. They also typically are given a year to complete each course.

Learn more about grades 10 to 12 at SelfDesign

A relationship-based, supportive approach to learning

SelfDesign’s relationship-based approach to learning and to supporting learners also helps our learners succeed and finish their courses.

Besides discussing coursework with their learning specialist, a learner can draw on their learning consultant for support. This educator meets weekly with the learner for one-on-one discussions about what the learner is up to, what learning has occurred during the previous week, and any difficulties the learner may be facing in meeting their learning goals. The learning consultant provides advice, guidance and support for the learning underway and planned, which also can help keep the learner on track and focused.

We offer safe, online learner discussion spaces and peer tutoring options where learners can drop in for live support with particular courses or subject areas as and when they need it.

Some of our learners receive additional supports, as needed, through our Support Services. They might, for example, work with an occupational or speech therapist or with a clinical counsellor to develop personalized strategies and skills. This supports them to be more regulated and more focused and to progress more easily with their learning.

And our Family Services team is also available to help our learners stay on track throughout the year. For example, if a learning consultant finds that issues or events in a learner’s family or community are interfering with the learner’s ability to engage with their learning, the educator will contact Family Services’ Contact Assistance team (CAT). Together, the learning consultant and CAT will work with the learner and family to identify and implement strategies to support the learner in a personalized way that helps them feel successful.

“We build these circles of relationship and support around each of our learners in our grade 10 to 12 program,” Catherine says. “These layers of support allow them to really be successful and to stay on track in their learning.”

Read more about how our learning consultants support learners

Learn more about how the learner–educator relationship at SelfDesign

Read more about Open Spaces

Learn more about the Contact Assistance Team

Learn more about Support Services at SelfDesign

School of record

Being a school of record might also contribute to our learners’ successful completion of their courses in grades 10 to 12.

As a school of record, SelfDesign Learning Community is responsible for reporting and maintaining our learners’ files and records according to BC Ministry of Education requirements. This also means that our learners in grades 10 to 12 are taking most, if not all, of the courses they need to obtain a certificate of graduation with SelfDesign. For many learners who are taking online courses in B.C., their school of record is a local public or independent school.

“For kindergaten to grade 12, at SelfDesign, we are our learners’ official, main educational home,” says Catherine. “We are their main focus. Our courses are not something they’re doing on top of everything they’re already doing, for example, in a full-time brick-and-mortar school somewhere else.”

Other online offerings such as learner clubs and groups, as well as real-time activities facilitated by our educators, also contribute to learners’ sense of belonging and support them in feeling like this is their school community that they want to contribute to and be a part of.

And anything that helps our learners engage fully with their learning and with each of our courses contributes to their success – and to our excellent course completion rate.

Read about our 2021/2022 BC Ministry of Education inspection results