CourseStorm helps a struggling, rural adult education program transition to a thriving community resource through a streamlined and easy registration experience.
The Sacopee Valley Adult Ed program is located in a small, rural community in Maine and offers adult and community education courses to a large district. The dedicated staff provides a variety of educational opportunities to learners in their local community, but it wasn’t long ago that the program was struggling and considering closing. Dave Durkee, Director of Adult Ed programs, was asked to come in and help. Dave knows what a successful program needs to grow and be sustainable. He brought in CourseStorm to add an online registration presence and was able to increase enrollments by 316% in the first year.
CourseStorm is very intuitive and user-friendly, with an easy way to register and pay. It’s so simple to use for our learners.”
—Dave Durkee, Director Adult Ed Programs, Sacopee Valley Adult Ed
Many continuing education programs struggle with inefficient registration systems that are inconvenient or even inaccessible for interested learners. For example, for years, the students at Sacopee Valley had been required to register in person and pay by cash or check. Because there was no website to browse classes, the promotion of upcoming classes was limited to printed brochures and word of mouth. The program was struggling with low (and sometimes no) enrollments, and there was a fear the program might close.
Luckily, Durkee had already built a thriving program in a nearby district. A lot of factors make up a successful continuing ed program: community connections, surveying learners’ interest, and course development. But a large part of a program’s success is based on its online presence. Durkee knew he could turn Sacopee Valley’s continuing ed program around. Even though some skeptics were unconvinced that the smaller, more rural community of learners at Sacopee Valley would respond to online registrations; they were mistaken. “We tried the same approaches that worked at my other location,” recalls Durkee, “and it was definitely worth the risk.” Durkee evaluated the community of learners to see what they were doing for enjoyment, met with community members, recreation departments, the school board, and business partners. He then built the online class registration site using CourseStorm to offer a user-friendly, online interface for both registrants and administrators. It was an easy transition, and in only one year, his plan had worked.
Even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy the system is so intuitive, user-friendly, easy to use, and so simple to register and pay.”
Learners now view, register, and pay for classes online. “We want first-time learners to have the best experience we can offer them. It’s a great way to grow a culture.” Durkee also appreciates the features that CourseStorm offers and gives credit to the hard work by his staff. “An online presence offers great features like friends and family sign-ups, promo codes, early-bird discounts, and, for our staff, we get great analytics and ways to promote the website.”
Sacopee Valley has been successfully using CourseStorm to manage its online catalog and registration system for more than a year now, and Durkee is a big supporter. “Learners have responded well to the system. Even if there is not great bandwidth in rural areas or learners are not tech savvy. The system is so easy for them to use.” Durkee says half of their learners have used the website to register for classes and enrollments grew over 316% that first year.
CourseStorm’s streamlined online payment system, which gives students convenience and more options when it comes to paying for courses, also helped increase student satisfaction—giving Sacopee Valley a strong positive presence in the community. Durkee explained. “Adult education is really about community connections and developing a culture within the community.”
CourseStorm helped our program survive. It really gave our program a new lease on life.”
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