What is embedded support?

We can put learner support in the way of the student by embedding directly in the LMS those supports as necessary. Embedded tutors and embedded librarians are not uncommon. Less common, but perhaps necessary, are embedded advisors, embedded counselors, and perhaps even financial aid officers. Why is this beneficial? First, the support staff needs to know what is happening in the classroom to properly help students. Second, successful learner support has been tied to retention. Third, first year students, especially, need a one-stop-shop in terms of support. Rather than requiring they go to several places, even virtually, they have only one contact point.

This sort of support can be a scaffold to more independence. Embedded support can be emphasized in the LMS for first year students, but then gradually drop off as the student moves forward in their academic career. This is a wrap around method that ensures the student can access services easily. I envision each class with a button for the service needed, but also a human presence aligned with faculty. Some LMS systems allow for separate roles by support staff — a librarian role, for example. The current LMS system I am working with does not have that separate roll, but support staff can be installed as instructors. It would be best if each roll were defined in the system.

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