As student expectations evolve and demands grow, higher education institutions turn to developing digital environments to meet those requirements. Digital transformation for higher education helps to improve the student experience by offering a multi-channel approach to communication. From social media channels, to SMS, email and website Chatbots, institutions have the opportunity to not only provide for students, but enhance their experience throughout their journey through the school.
With the rise of digital age, it opens the door for institutions to adopt an omni-channel approach to improve student experience. From supporting the student wellbeing during their academic experience, to providing a community connection on campus, colleges and universities can leverage current technologies to better serve students, and enhance operations at the institutions.
With more than 25% of college students dropping out before graduation, student retention has quickly become a priority for education providers. That’s where the focus begins to shift into student experience. In higher education, the key to prioritizing the experience of students not only to ensure that they graduate, but are engaging and active within the campus community. This then leads to them being energized advocates and alumni after graduation which will lead to increase enrolment in future.
Attracting and Retaining Students
The stress of attending a college or university can cause students to have doubts about their course or institution. This can result in them feeling alone and isolated which could heavily impact retention rates.
While the UK leads the way in higher education with a retention rate of 71%, compared to 49% in the United States and 31% in Australia, a lot of students are falling through the cracks.
The dwindling numbers are a concern and they could be caused by a range of issues including, financial difficulties, course availability, lack of support, and lack of student engagement.
Student engagement is not a one-time concern. The student engagement lifecycle lasts for years from when they were a prospective student, all the way through to graduation and beyond.
In the digital age, the landscape of college life and the learning experience is shifting dramatically. This creates an opportunity for students to have access to tools for increased communication and engagement.
The goal of education institutions is to ensure that students succeed with the credentials they came for and leave the school as an ambassador of the brand. Focusing on the student experience helps to execute that agenda to serve both the student and campus.
Before dropping out, students often show signs of disengagement or dissatisfaction when can quickly go from missed classes to missed assignments and final departure. Keeping track of student performance can be tricky, but with a 1:1 messaging platform you can automate chats to check-in with at-risk students. The impact of such a tool can reduce the number of students in danger of dropping out and promote student services on campus, like tutoring and study groups.
Putting the education aside for a second, a good part of attending a college or university is the experience. It’s why the majority of students opt to live on campus, why teams, societies and student governments play a key role in university life. If you compare a student that commutes to school each day, they drive in for classes, study at the library or with a group, and leave when they are done. This impacts their overall commitment to the university because they are disconnected from the culture. Reconnecting them with campus culture will not only give them a sense of belonging, but deepen the relationship with the institution.
Leveraging digital transformation can bridge that gap with technology to ensure that the student voice is being heard.
Seek Out Feedback and Apply What You Learn
Nobody understands the pros and cons of a learning program better than the students. Student feedback is a core component in the success of a student experience strategy. The voice of the student plays a pivotal role in defining the institution’s reputation. With digital tools such as the Loop Experience Platform, you can easily ask students what they think in surveys at various points in the student experience, and use feedback messaging to escalate situations in real time.
These valuable insights can provide an external verification on what is working and where the areas of opportunity are within the student experience. Giving the students a voice helps them feel connected to their learning environment because they have a vested interest. The key is to implement the feedback you are receiving and let students know what they are saying has an impact.
Choose the Right Channel
Students are connected to different areas in different ways. To properly connect, you need to know where they are. The rise of social media has connected the world in ways we never thought imaginable a decade ago. Using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp to create close ties to students outside of the classroom could be the key to engaging on issues that are top of mind. From health concerns, to safety on campus, engaging students on the right channel that can spark a dialogue ensures effective adoption of tools and resources.
With some careful planning and strategy, colleges and universities can build their brand on social media. Using interactive features such as video stories, they can share student experiences and promote upcoming events to build engagement which result in retention at the institution.
Adopting an omni-channel approach allows for a seamless experience between those online and in person, gathering feedback at every step. Technology is evolving and taking a holistic approach allows for access to support new and emerging technologies.
Engage Your Alumni to be Your Ambassador
Attending college and university is a costly and time consuming endeavour. So what happens when the journey comes to an end after graduation? In the digital age, brand reputation is built on peer reviews and endorsements and your best ambassadors are your alumni. Students want to see the potential of success and growth that can be provided by the institution. Alumni that have gone on to great success are the most valuable brand ambassadors a college or university can ask for. That’s why giving your Alumni a voice should not be overlooked when planning your student experience strategy. Setting up ways for current students to chat with alumni, ask them questions and learn of their success, educational institutions will be able to demonstrate just how successful their courses and teaching systems are in the real life beyond the school walls.
By streamlining the delivery of information to students using a platform with a centralized inbox, you can avoid leaving blindspots unaddressed because of the absence of a comprehensive Customer Experience Management Strategy. Adopt a strategic approach to get their students engaged in their decision-making process, with direct access to their opinions and experience. Don’t leave actionable data on the table. Use the Loop Experience Platform to leverage customer experience intel and recognize operational practices and address critical feedback that can be remedied.
Contact one of our specialists today for a customized demo to see how The Loop Experience Platform could meet your educational institutions needs.