Coaches support FlexPath students to the finish

February 6, 2017

Independent, highly-motivated students thrive in FlexPath, Capella University’s self-paced learning format.

Even though the FlexPath option is designed for people who want to go at their own speed, that doesn’t mean they go it alone. Capella provides plenty of support and assistance to FlexPath students, including a direct connection to a personal coach who helps navigate the system. “It’s so different than traditional learning,” says FlexPath coach Karla Barbee. “But for the right kind of person, it can be very exciting. The best part of my job is seeing people grow, succeed, and achieve their dream of getting their degree via FlexPath.”

Barbee and three other FlexPath coaches—Lindsay Gray, Matt Lee, and Kris Block—recently sat down to explain how they work with students.

What do FlexPath coaches do?

Block: “We help students navigate the FlexPath system and environment, which initially can be unfamiliar.”

Lee: “I’d say we help learners overcome obstacles—time-management issues, resource questions, even some personal matters—that they’re facing.”

How do students connect with FlexPath coaches?

Barbee: “During the enrollment process, students get an email that introduces us. We schedule a phone call to get to know them and ask questions to help set expectations for the path ahead:

  • What brought you to Capella?
  • What are your goals?
  • When do you want to finish?
  • What does that really look like?

We talk about resources they can use: tutors, technical assistance, the Capella library. Our goal is to set them up for success.”

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What kinds of questions do students have about the FlexPath program?

Lee: “At the beginning, they often have questions about navigating the course room, and they’re nervous about; assessments. It’s our job to explain how assessments work and ease their worries.”
Gray: “Students also want to know about the pace. To help them set their pace, we provide an average of how many courses a person can get through in a 12-week billing session. But it’s completely up to the student to determine how quickly they do or don’t get through the program.”

What are the most important traits to succeeding in FlexPath?

Block: “Successful students incorporate good time-management skills. They find ways to balance their work life with school life and family life.”
Lee: “I tell students not to overthink things. You get 3 attempts at every assessment, so when you feel you’re ready, jump in. If you’re not satisfied with your performance, you can ask for feedback from the instructor, do additional work, and try again.”
Barbee: “Time management is important. People lose track of their time, and their priorities may shift from week to week. But with FlexPath you should commit to your deadlines and stick to them to stay on track.”

How often do you check in with students?

Block: “It depends on how quickly they’re progressing, and the student’s preferences. With some students, we have daily interactions. One student I work with was having time-management issues, so we talked about it and developed a plan where he makes a schedule every day and sends it to me so he’s accountable. He recently told me: ‘This has been life-changing. I have been through 3 or 4 assessments in the last 3 weeks, and I’m going to finish these courses on time!’”

What’s the most gratifying part of your job?

Barbee: “Students work with the same coach for all of FlexPath, so we often get to know them over a period of a year or longer. It’s exciting to see them develop and achieve what they want to achieve. Our goal is to help students move forward. We’re their partner through the entire journey.”

FlexPath Movement | Nacole's FlexPath Journey

Learn more about FlexPath and sponsored FlexPath student, Nacole’s, leadership coach.

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