Road to Success in Online Learning Session

Loren Kleinman
Instructional Designer at Berkeley College

It’s like if somebody gives you crappy driving directions, you never get there. You need to help students get to where they need to go and what they need to do. Quite often, we have good intentions, but end up sending students into road blocks.

At Berkeley College all online students are required to take the Road to Success in Online Learning (RTS) course. This course gives students referrals to student support services at the institution as well as how to use the online tools necessary to be successful learning online. Students get one quarter to complete the course before they are allowed to enroll in an online course. The course is not a credit based course and does not require a fee. The result, student retention has increased dramatically.

One instructional design theory model to use is ADDIE – which is what they used at Berkeley College.


It is very important to find out who your students are… Berkeley College Online Students are 83.4% Female and 16.4% Male, and half of the students are in their 30s and 40s – the millennial generation.


Learning Modules and Adaptive Release are used to help students in Road to Success because this will best prepare them for how the Berkeley College courses are designed.

The students have to get 100% on every activity. They get two attempts, and if they do not get 100% in either of those attempts, then the designated grader will call the student. (The designated grader is from the academic support desk.) After the student passes the activity, the next learning module will be released. In addition, there are helpful hints along the way. (Think of this as a map with a you are here and labels telling students where they will be going.)

screenshot of Road to Success course

Some times there are over one hundred students in the course. All the students have to do is show interest to admissions and they are added to the Road to Success course. Potentially, the course could be completed in 3 hours, so it wouldn’t be a huge barrier for those students who already have the skills needed to be successful!


  • Give students a mixed bag – not all courses are set up with multiple choice assessments all the time, so the RTS has multiple choice assessments, Mark Reviewed, Discussion Posts, and others.
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! The group at Berkeley works together with Academic Affairs, Instructional Design, Student Services, and IT. All changes are data driven and decisions are made together with the entire collaborative group.
  • Give yourself enough time to see if the course is effective and retains students. It will take a year or maybe more to see!
  • Its not just about having a really amazing prep course and everyone is successful. At the basis of everything that is online there are people, so keep that human element in mind in your design.

About Meegan
Meegan has over fifteen years experience working in higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Western Michigan University and a Master of Education with an emphasis on Instructional Technology from American InterContinental University Online. She is currently the Instructional Technologist/Designer at Grand Rapids Community College where her main focus is helping faculty to develop and deliver quality online and hybrid courses.

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