Game Changers: Technology and Higher Education

International education is one of the fastest and largest growing economic sectors in the world. With more and more students gearing up for overseas study, higher educational institutions are competing hard to maintain and grow their student bodies. Trends in student recruitment are fast evolving and marketing leaders all over are taking cognizance of the changing nature of the recruitment pool. Today universities are investing huge money in branding and marketing initiatives. Many are even hiring top-rated smart app development companies to create strong institutional brands.

Maximising student recruitment

Over the next few years, emerging technologies will transform everything we do – how we bond, sell, deal, market, collaborate, educate, communicate, train, innovate and a lot more. So, institutions with better technological capabilities are the ones that will stay and stand out in the competition for student recruitment. Now it’s no longer enough to just send out informational brochures to people requesting details. Marketing strategies must embrace the modern technology that rules every aspect of the modern student’s life. Recruitment should consist of maintaining websites, mobile app development solutions, email nurturing, digital promotion of university features like faculty, curriculum, campus culture etc. and social media campaigns. Of course, many universities are now highly involved in very innovative social media campaigns, not just restricting to Facebook and Twitter but branching out to Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

The University of Cambridge is an excellent example of how the institution uses YouTube and Instagram to post pictures and highlight the beauty of the city. The university also uses the platform to upload its educational content that helps to increase traffic to their page as well as offer applicants a perspective of its high-quality teaching and education standards.

The potential of marketing automation

According to industry research, higher education institutions are using more of marketing automation to capture and leverage a wide range of student data. The powerful tool uses attractive and personalized blog posts, thank you pages, landing pages and social media posts to track web visitor or applicants, build communication with them and finally convert the inquiries into successful enrolments. Some universities are even using integrated systems that help to identify and engage with only the most qualified students. This helps to simplify and conduct the admission procedures in a more effective manner. The tools are custom-designed in a way that enables universities to identify potential student markets immediately, streamline the inquiry process and reduce the manual workload.

Artificial Intelligence

Today students want an easy understanding of everything the university has to offer. For example, freshers want clear and precise information on student life, workload, career choices and the logistics of compiling and submitting course and project work. To facilitate the administrative operations and address the various student queries, higher educational institutes are now relying on virtual assistants who use Artificial Intelligence to extract data for course recommendations, multiple career options, administrative tasks and others. Artificial Intelligence is developing into a leading trend in higher education and has a lot more to offer in the years to come.

Student Mentoring and academic performance

Academic mentoring is highly essential for raising a student’s performance. Which is why universities are keen on building new advising models that will counsel and coach students and help them to achieve better results. Only, appropriate technology can support a large undertaking of this kind, with proper academic planning tools and facilitate an open and intense communication between the mentor and the student. CRM technology allows universities to leverage personal profiles of students and alumni that can help institutions to approach those alumni who are able to provide mentorship or employment opportunities for students who are currently doing their studies.

Simplifying the registration and application process

Strategies are also being adopted to expedite the complex registration and application processes and improve student experiences. Enhanced self-service portals and mobile app development will gain momentum and support students in a big way.

Student dropout and retention

Many students are unable to progress because of reasons ranging from making wrong career choices and shuttling between institutions to working overtime and disengaging from social interactions. Core automation system will provide early alerts and actions plans for preventing student dropouts. Academic advisors or coaches will be able to use technology that facilitates automation. This will not only identify the problem areas but will also provide clear action plans for improving overall performance. Research indicates that the use of data warehouse and analytics will increase. Universities are likely to explore the area of data analytics and use Big Data to find and retain students.

Empowering the lesser privileged

Today technology is not just confined to top universities; it has also entered the rural and underprivileged areas in the world’s poorest countries. Many high-tech profile companies are launching global initiatives for providing digital infrastructure and learning materials to the lesser privileged youth. Web materials, laptops, and computers are being made available for young people to increase their access to higher education. According to recent findings by UNICEF, in Vietnam, 40% of the children in rural areas used the internet for educational purposes and 34% knew how to send school related text messages. Similarly, in Assam, several government schools are working towards integrating technology into the curriculum. Students are also involved in various learning activities such as gathering information on cleanliness and dustbins in their area, taking relevant pictures and videos and then lodging an online complaint to place more dustbins. So, these are powerful tools that technology supports for enhancing the student’s learning skills.

Leveraging technology and teaching

Other than focusing on student recruitment, institutions need to guide educators, how they can make better use of technology to upgrade their teaching practices. Technological support will not only enable educators to reinvent and rebuild their pedagogical practices, it will also help enhance the learning environment that will, in a big way, contribute to student growth and overall success of the institution.

Technology is not only changing the landscape of higher education, it is changing lives. Let us take the opportunity to empower ourselves and others and contribute our bit in expanding this knowledge.

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