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10 Trends In Online Orientation: 2023 Data & Insights


10 Trends In Online Orientation: 2023 Data & Insights

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As we start a new year, it’s a good time to visit the trends we are seeing influence online orientation in 2023. Using data collected from hundreds of calls with orientation professionals, a survey to colleges with over 400 responses, and extensive research, we’ve compiled the top 10 trends to look for this year in online orientation.

1. Creating Community

Online orientation is a critical place for connecting and intentional community creation, be those incoming, international or online students as well as families and parents. No matter the population, research shows that community formation is critical to enrollment and retention efforts and can be achieved through active learning opportunities like discussion boards. Institutions should look to utilize current students to create orientation content, engage orientation advisors and peer mentors to interact with incoming students, and use online orientation as a space to warmly welcome new students to the institution. View this short video on three ways you can begin to create connection and community in your online orientation.

2. Improving Access

Providing all students access to orientation and student success materials helps to effectively onboard students to the college experience. Students have grown to expect online services and rely on institutions hosting resources that are available 24/7. Accessible and equitable online orientation programs can be completed on any device, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. By providing content in such a manner, institutions can ensure equitable access to international students, online learners, and transfer students while better meeting the needs of these specific student populations.

3. Flexible Design

2023 will continue to see institutions develop flexible programming to meet the needs of increasingly diverse learners. When envisioning online orientation programming, administrators should consider using teaching and learning theories and methods that provide students with opportunities for hyflex or hybrid engagement with orientation content. Watch this webinar for insights into flexible programming for orientation. Administrators would also ensure online orientation platforms provide the opportunities for just-in-time changes and easily adjust between semester starts.

4. Personalized Content

In this day and age, students expect personalized content in their online experiences. Online orientation is an excellent way to introduce students to information and resources that speak directly to their experiences. We can leverage online orientation to direct veterans, international, transfer students and students’ families to the resources that speak to those unique learning experiences. This video addresses ways we can use online orientation to benefit specific student populations.

5. Meaningful Engagement

Students also expect online content that is interactive and engaging. Utilizing active-learning practices like gaming and badging can ensure students are learning the critical information shared in online orientation but can also provide opportunities to introduce students to campus culture. Be sure to involve current students in creating online orientation content that creates meaningful engagement. Learn tips on how you can develop interactive online orientation experiences with this video.

6. Ongoing Accessibility

Online orientation must learn from best practices in online learning like Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to create equitable and accessible content for our students. In this year, UDL will continue to help inform orientation content development; learn more about UDL here. It’s important that online orientation platforms provide universal content for all learners that can be easily updated in one place.

7. Actionable Data

Data gleaned from online orientation programs will continue to be critical this year. Administrative teams will be called on to examine data to take action to support student success. For example, the results of online orientation quizzes or surveys can help to identify students who will need extra support come the start of the semester. How can institutions then leverage this information to create safety nets for these learners from day one? This webinar provides tips for incorporating assessment into online orientations.

8. Multi-Language Options

To ensure online orientation content is accessible and equitable, institutions need to provide content in multiple languages that best meet the needs of incoming students and their families. Not only does delivering orientation content in multiple languages help students to feel welcomed to the institution, but it also facilitates learning for all. Rather than offering multiple versions of orientation in various languages, the trend moving forward is to provide a single version that allows students to select their language. One orientation version with multiple language options is a win-win for students and orientation creators.

9. Maximizing Resources

In the coming year, online orientation platforms will grow to be a pillar of support for student success that is integrated into first year experience programs and used in conjunction with tutoring, coaching, and peer mentoring efforts. Online orientation will need to be a sustainable resource that students can return to for success materials. Student success workshops, like StudentLingo, can help students acclimate to college while providing opportunities to hone skills in critical areas like studying, note-taking, organization and test-taking. In order to maximize student engagement, online orientation will make the most of integrating resources across units. In institutional surveys, students cite both the desire and need to have one online space that they can easily access for all of their onboarding needs.

10. Steps To Success

Finally, students want an online orientation that clearly defines their steps to success as they embark on their academic journey at your institution. In this year, it will be critical for institutions to continue to develop online toolkits where students will receive onboarding materials and success resources, like study methods or mental health resources. Institutions that are forward thinking about orientation will utilize online orientation to ensure students can articulate the steps of their educational journey. Ultimately, institutions should consider developing an extended orientation that clearly defines student processes, next steps, and support resources. This webinar shares tips for creating content that helps to bridge students to success. 


As institutions continue to refine and develop online content, orientation will continue to need to incorporate online components that will provide critical information and opportunities to connect students to facilitate community building. Watch Innovative Educator's free webinar, 10 Trends For Online Orientation In 2023, to learn how your orientation programs can continue to position students for success. Orientation is an increasingly important space to introduce students to a toolkit for college success, setting up expectations, and underscoring the cultures of care that exist at our institutions.

For nearly 20 years, Innovative Educators has assisted college leaders to build foundations of success for their students. Institutions have seen student engagement and retention increase as a result of utilizing Go2Orientation, OnlineLingo and StudentLingo to onboard new students. Grounded in best practices for online learning, Innovative Educators student support tools are engaging, interactive, and community-building. Go2Orientation, OnlineLingo and StudentLingo together create a powerful online resource center providing support to students throughout their academic journey.

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By Meg Foster
Online Learning & Design Specialist - Consultant
January 26, 2023


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