Instructional Strategies for Digital Curriculum, Part I: Relationships

Instructional Strategies for Digital Curriculum, Part I: Relationships

Matt Norman has worked all over the country with his approaches adapted from the Dale Carnegie Training models of effective relationship building. His meaningful work has helped countless professionals navigate through successful interactions and collaborations, leading to world-changing projects and enterprise. The logistics of Norman’s approach can be learned and—I believe—applied to how educators effectively build relationships with learners working through digital curriculum.

In simplest terms, educators strive to identify with learners, see the world from their point of view, offer an objective or goal, apply a credibility statement, set a plan in motion, and follow up with a plan. This can, as I have seen it happen, put an educator and learner on a path to success in most educational settings but especially in one involving digital curriculum and self-paced learning.

Successful Onboarding

Having a comprehensive understanding of the program is essential to success.


Learning within Edmentum Courseware is intuitive. It features assistive audio and note-taking tools, and the navigation is fluid. Learners may not in all cases, though, know how to be a digital curriculum consumer. Educators who take the time to model the movements needed to meet the expectations of each part of the course (pre-test, module, discussions, activities, etc.) see a dramatic increase in completion rates.

Essential elements to starting off learners on the right foot include onboarding them on the front end where the orientation video is, demonstrating what the numbers for grades and percent complete mean, explaining the difference between current and course grade, and working through the module parts (the tutorial and mastery relationship). Demonstrating as much of the overall process and outlining the end goals make a huge difference.

Start and End Dates

Dates can be set for sections as well as for individual students. Identifying (individually with learners) the end date and showing how it will appear in the progress bar benefit everyone involved. Learners should have a clear understanding that this data is based on the number of activities for the school days (weekdays) within the timeframe. Tracking progress and staying in line to finish within or before the end date can be strong motivators.

Ongoing Relationships

At the beginning of the onboarding phase, educators and learners should have agreed on a plan to complete the content for specific reasons within a timeline. Continuous support and data-driven conversations are essential pieces to keep that goal in sight.

Learner-Driven Touchpoint

Edmentum Courseware data not only makes data available to educators, but learners also have a powerful report available to them within each section. The Learner Progress Report gives learners insight into their progress in a clean format with scores, number of attempts, dates, and completion status. Educators, of course, also have access to data and should make implementation decisions as necessary. The key, however, in supporting learners is to empower them to leverage this report.

An effective strategy is to build on the learner-instructor relationship by having learners run, share, and talk through their progress in frequent intervals. One way is to include the Learner Progress Report in a 30-second check-in. The learner would have the progress report up on the screen and share what has most recently been accomplished, what is next, and what support is needed from the educator. Both parties benefit from the update. The educator has an accountability moment to note progress, an instance to further any other information necessary to the learner, and an option to support as needed. The learner has confidence in sharing progress, feels supported, and continues to be in agreement with expectations set within the commitment.

At Edmentum, we’re always striving to do better, to learn from our educators, and to make daily processes easier and more streamlined every day. We want educators to be able to focus more on what they do best, teaching, and less on steps and processes in a digital curriculum platform. The less clicks and steps to performing simple tasks, the more time there is available to build relationships, a critical piece to any learner’s success.  

As a demonstration of our commitment, we can’t wait to show you a few new program enhancements this summer that will do just that: streamline processes and decrease steps to complete common tasks. Check out our What’s New page for more information on updates to Courseware and other Edmentum programs! Also, stay tuned for the second part in this series where we will discuss how to leverage reporting to make instructional strategies for digital curriculum work.