If What You Are Offering Isn’t Digital – They May Not Be Coming

March 24, 2015 — 2 Comments

The Accenture Higher Education Will Never Be the Same! The Digital Demand on Campus and Beyond survey of 1,500 students in Australia, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States found:

Eighty-five percent of high school seniors, 81 percent of higher education students and 72 percent of higher education graduates say that how well a higher education institution embraces innovation is an important factor in deciding which institution to attend.

Because Universities, Colleges, and Polytechnics still control the parchment (degrees, diplomas and certification) we haven’t seen the same sort of external disruptive forces taking students away. What we are beginning to see is a shift in where students choose to attend within higher education. Institutions that have gone digital and provide fully online, well designed blended programs, or other innovative and flexible approaches to learning are drawing students who are looking for flexibility and relevance in their learning experience. The Accenture survey revealed that just over 50% of students are still considering a traditional education, so if your institutions is part of the Ivy League or other highly regarded brand then you may still have a strong draw. If you are offering the same traditional courses as your competition across town or across the state or province then you may be in trouble.

The report authors suggest that to remain competitive higher education must engage, satisfy and sustain relationships with always-on students by doing the following:

  • Delivering on-demand learning. As digital natives, students expect on-demand, self-led learning with access to content and instruction online at any time. Institutions must enable a type of learning via mobile and social tools that involve video and content curation that make learning highly engaging.
  • Working with new teaching partners. Education innovation such as on-demand learning models requires different educational delivery systems. No higher education institution will have access to a variety of models without building partnerships and strengthening its ecosystem by collaborating with other universities, the private sector and government.
  • Cultivating lifelong learning. By using digital tools, higher education institutions can extend and strengthen alumni relationships through online and on-demand learning.

This is a very positive opportunity for higher education. Institutions that are proactive and use digital technologies to enhance learning are going to find that to do this well they must focus the learners needs and create significant learning environment rather then just deliver content.

Read the full report – Higher Education Will Never Be the Same! The Digital Demand on Campus and Beyond

Dwayne Harapnuik

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2 responses to If What You Are Offering Isn’t Digital – They May Not Be Coming

  1. Totally agree that how institutions use technology has an effect on their attractiveness to students. But students must also separate effective use of technology for teaching and learning from the entertainment value the presence of technology may provide. Some students still select institutions based on their party/social atmosphere and thus an environment that helps them connect with others.

    • Dwayne Harapnuik March 26, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      One would hope that the students were responding to the type of learning environment they wished for. However, we do know in North America young people do go to school for more than just the learning.

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