With the education sector facing unprecedented competition, leading institutions are becoming much more aware of their students as customers. They know that their students are leading users of technology but that students need to become even more technology savvy if they are to be successful in the workforce.
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Universities are moving beyond well providing basic self-service digital tools such as online videos of lecture and are aiming to provide a blended learning experience to combine the best possible on-campus and online environments.
Customer expectations are very high. For example, consumers are 71 per cent more likely to expect a personalised, flexible experience from an educational institution than they are from an average business, according to Optus Future of Business Report 2014.
To remain competitive in this new education era, leading secondary and tertiary institutions are looking to:
- get the right balance of digital tools and on-campus facilities to help provide
a high-quality blended learning environment which will encourage students to
spend time on campus but still enjoy maximum flexibility
- improve the on-campus experience by getting the little things right, such as network access, download speeds and convenient power outlets for charging devices
- adopt a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program that allows students to use the device of their choice, so learning is the same on and off campus
- improve self-service digital tools for straightforward tasks such as enrolments and submissions, freeing up staff to handle more complex issues and teaching
- create a more engaging experience with blended online/offline education tools, such as online assessments, e-textbooks, game-based learning and interactive communications channels.
Providing a high-quality blended education experience enables institutions to remain competitive and offers other benefits, such as encouraging university students to attend lectures in person, rather than just watching the online videos at home.
As a result, learning becomes the social experience that it should be and drop-out rates are reduced.
See "How to create the learning experience that students and parents want" for more details on how to create a blended learning experience in this new education era.