In an effort to improve student retention for our online doula training, we are making some minor policy changes that will hopefully open up more opportunities for growing the program, while making our training materials generally more accessible.
Doula Training Starter Kit (Materials Only, Non-Certification)
Today we are announcing plans to make available for purchase a Doula Training Starter Kit. This starter kit will be materials only, and will give interested individuals a more in-depth option to preview the course before registering for the program.We have also received inquiries to accessing our training materials from expectant fathers and other family members who aren’t necessarily interested in getting certified as a doula, but want access to the information. While the first release will be our Starter Kit, which focuses primarily on assessment skills, we do plan on making the other parts of the course (including the Childbirth course and the Doula Skills course) available for independent study later on.
Included in the Starter Kit will be the same materials that are made available upfront to our students who register for our monthly payment plans. All materials are delivered digitally via PDF downloads and the Starter Kit will be exclusively available online from our Doula Shop. These materials include:
- The Main Doula Course (a survey in assessment skills)
- The Case Studies booklet
- The Birth Packet
- The Assignments Checklist
- Also to be included in the Starter Kit will also be a PDF booklet of current web links that are available to our students through our student dashboard.
Our chief motivator in making the decision is to allow an alternative to registration is for those who like the idea of training, but are not ready to commit the rigorous schedule required of our certification. We hope that this will curb the percentage of students who register and then don’t complete their training, while also allowing more room for students who are actually committed to the time demands required of the program. This in turn should grow the active student body base. (We have recently determined that the average amount of time required of those who complete our certification course is in excess of 150 hours, spread between study and practicum.)
There are additional benefits from offering the Starter Kit. As demand for our training program continues to grow, we have had to implement a waiting list to manage the number of new students registering for our program. The Starter Kit will allow those on the waiting list to get access to the course materials before they are able to register for the course. Those who first opt for the Starter Kit will also receive a credit of the same value towards their certification should they choose to register for the certification program later on.
While we feel the Starter Kit to be a good first step in training, there are some limitations to what is included. The Starter Kit will not include access to online student resources through the student dashboard, such as access to our private Facebook page for students and alumni. Nor will we be offering instructor mentoring and feedback. To be clear, the Starter Kit is a materials only option for those interested in starting to study to become a doula, but it is not the certification program, and no certification will be offered in connection with this purchase. Even still, we feel that this will offer a better introduction to the program and reduce the rate of in-completion for students registering for our training program in the future.
Early-Finish Option Discontinued
Of necessity then, we are announcing that effective as of Friday, October 2, 2015, we are discontinuing our early-finish option for students that complete the training in less than 12 months. The logic should be obvious: if students have access to the training material before they register for the program, then they will be able to complete the training in a shorter amount of time than they would be able to otherwise. We are already aware of the fantastic price that our program is — especially given the comprehensive nature of the program studies. (We hear about it frequently!) In place of raising the overall cost of the program, this also offers a more practical option to round out the cost of training for all students and provides us with more resources to improve the training program.
Students who have already registered prior to October 2, 2015, will still have the early-finish option available to them when other requirements have been met.