What’s your completion rate?

That should be one of the first questions you ask a training provider you are considering investing your time and money in to provide you with training.

Why it that important?

The completion rate for online Vocational Education and Training (VET)  in Australia is 7%

That’s right. According to the chair of the panel discussion I participated in at the EDU TECH Conference in Brisbane in May 2016 the completion rate for online VET training is only 7% and may actually be lower.

That can’t just be the student’s fault

As a training provider in the VET sector Mediation Institute has one paramount goal for our work.  That is to provide the opportunity for every single one of our students to successfully complete their studies with us and gain their qualification. If you are thinking. So isn’t that the goal of every provider?

We don’t think so. It can’t be with completion rates that low.

Completion rate for Mediation Institute in 2015 was 84.7%

We don’t think that our completion rate of 84.7% is good enough but a completion rate of 7% is a national scandal, especially considering that the training providers in many case have been paid with government funding for courses that were never completed by students.

Students don’t complete their studies for many reasons and there is no doubt that it is easier to get distracted from your studies if you are studying online than it is if you are studying face to face.

I used to run a training company that delivered competitive manufacturing training and our completion rate with face to face programs and shared learning cluster delivery was 95%.

Why is Mediation Institute some much better?

First and foremost because we care about our students. Every single one of them and we focus on training every single student as if they were our only one.

I presented at the conference and spoke about some of the strategies we used to help ensure, to the extent that it is in our power, that our students complete their studies and go on to be successful in their chosen career.

Our Strategies

If you are considering your studies with Mediation Institute please read on to find out about some of the strategies we employ to assist our students to complete their studies.

My talk was titled “Overcoming the Misconceptions about eLearning” but due to a mix up with the conference organisers printing the topic of the panel discussion on the speakers lanyard they gave I rearranged my presentation to also prepare a talk called “Strategies for Improving Completion Rates” which I will share with you here.

This is from the presentation I could have given

EDU TECH Conference

Slide 1: Strategies to improve completion rates

I believe that these are the major reasons that people don’t complete their studies.

EDU TECH Conference slide 2

Some of the major reasons that people don’t complete their studies

Three of the reasons the training provider can do a lot to overcome. Life? Not so much but we can certainly help to mitigate the impact of life events on people’s ability to complete training they have enrolled in.

Flexible Schedules

Mediation Institute delivers our training online deliberately and by choice because the reason we established in 2013 was to make quality mediation training more accessible for students who can’t attend regular workshop training.

We originally thought that would be attractive to people living in regional and rural locations and that has proved to be the case. We’ve also got a lot of students who are not currently working because they have young children and are in the process of retraining to establish a more flexible career consistent with their parental responsibilities.

We practice a concept of “single piece flow” which means we don’t batch our students.

No semesters.

No sign up dates.

No waiting for other students to catch up or getting left behind.

You start when you are ready and move through the course at your own rate.

Making sure the course is right for you

We don’t aggressively market, bribe or otherwise try to get enrolments by whatever means.

We don’t use brokers or referral agents who don’t know anything about training and only care about their commissions.

Everyone who works for Mediation Institute is a qualified mediator and can talk to people enquiry about studies with us from the perspective of a professional mediator.

We ask you about your career goals, how you want to work and what prior studies and life experience you have and advise you on the best path to achieve those goals.

We want you to complete your studies with us so unless our courses are right for you we don’t want you to start.


We haven’t figured out a way to prevent life getting in the way of your other plans but we can and do help to prevent that from meaning you fail to complete your studies.

  • Students can put their course on hold for a while if they absolutely can’t focus on their studies.
  • They can alter their payment plan or even put it on hold if necessary and continue to study. You just need to have paid your course in full before we issue the certificate.
  • If you have any type of problem impacting your studies all you have to do is reach out. We we will respond with humanity and compassion and work with you to find a way for us to support you to finish your course if that is something that is possible for you.

Our fundamental motivator in setting up Mediation Institute isn’t just to make a profit. We make a profit in order to continue our work of training professional mediators and family dispute resolution practitioners to go out and reduce and resolve conflict.

Engaging Training

This is where we put the majority of our efforts.

Our eLearning is not an electronically delivered correspondence course as many “online” learning courses are.

Real eLearning

We use a modern eLearning platform that allows you to move through your course at your own pace and get response to your learning tasks in a timely way. No sending off a bundle of work and waiting weeks for a response.

But the reality is that most people don’t learn well just reading through material and answering quizzes. Our course is designed with learning tasks that make you think and help you to put what you are learning into context.

Tasks such as putting together your “Mediators Kit” gives students the opportunity to understand their legal and ethical responsibilities as a professional mediator and be ready to start working as soon as they qualify.

Video Content

We make use of video content throughout the courses to help students access information in a more engaging way.


We have student webinars every Monday evening giving students the opportunity to connect with trainers and industry experts.

Discuss course content and wider relevant topics to help enhance learning and understanding.

Above all the webinars are fun and an opportunity for students to spend some virtual face to face time with each other.

Video Mediation

We use video meeting technology extensively to help our students to develop skills without the need to travel to workshops.

This is a critical part of our course as without supported skills development VET training is a sham.

Over the course of your studies you will become a Video Mediation expert and have skills that you can easily transfer into face to face mediation.

Online learning with a human touch

Our biggest secret is Ken.

Ken Speakman is a former student who provided so much peer support for other students during his studies with us that we have gone on to hire him as a mentor.

In addition to running his own Mediation and FDR business he has helped to establish a community mediation service in Brisbane and continues to assist us with mentoring new students.

Ken does most of the induction meetings – that is an individual video meeting with all new students to check that their video technology is working for them and to introduce them to the eLearning.

We don’t send out a list of technical specifications that no one understands. We almost literally hold your hand to get you started, answer any questions and establish a bond with someone you can feel comfortable calling up when you have a question.

We’re expanding our range of courses and are in the process of cloning Ken so soon we’ll have a Barbie and … No actually we’ll soon have a Bree and others who will be able to be mentors and the go to person for the Mi Group Supervision groups we’ll be using to enhance our support in the new courses we’re developing.

Support once you complete your studies

We really, really want our students to be successful in their goals and a number have gone on to:

  • gain employment with dispute resolution services,
  • contacts with panels or programs
  • establish their own dispute resolution businesses
  • add dispute resolution to their legal or psychology practice and
  • in the case of Malcolm Guy go on to write a book about improving workplace productivity through reducing conflict

We are immensely proud of each and every one of the amazing people who have chosen Mediation Institute to help them to become professional mediators and FDR Practitioners and continue to associate with many through the Australian Dispute Resolution Cooperative. www.adr.coop

The Coop was established to provide ongoing support, encourage peer collaboration and enhance opportunities for independent professionals to work independently when they choose or to work together when larger projects need a larger team.

Ready to get started?

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