When we talk about Education Management, there are many areas that are intertwined with this term. Education in today’s globalised world encompasses the right of an individual to acquire relevant knowledge to be prepared for the future. Education pedagogy has evolved over the last century and with the advancement of technology, learning in today’s digital world is more open and accessible than ever before. With this in mind, it is important for the education industry to use the best tools available in order to effectively manage data and have the ability to extract meaningful information which enables a better iteration of improvement on student engagement and outcomes.
An Australian education qualification is currently regarded as one of the best in the world and Australia is currently the most sought-after destination for international students in the world. In fact, this year Australia is predicted to overtake the United Kingdom to become the 2nd most sought destination after the United States.
Because of this, we need the ability to innovate and embrace the best tools and technology for education management and experience in order to both meet expectations and compete against other countries when it comes to attracting quality students.
Education management for the next generation
There are many factors to education management, and it doesn’t just focus on the point when students start a course at an educational entity; rather it starts from how the providers present themselves to the prospective students. With the level of competition and myriad of options available today for students wishing to pursue further study, both domestically and internationally, there are various aspects that a provider needs to be aware of.
Some of the important elements for an education provider to consider in an effort to stand out from the crowd include:
- Organisational branding
- Appropriate content and marketing materials which provide clear and accurate information and are revised often
- A well laid out website
- Availability of student services support and engagement during their course of study
Other elements to consider include the clarity on a course program, its structure and most importantly, assurance that the course is going to bring about the desired outcome for an individual student upon their course completion.
It is also important for education providers of international students to have a clear and defined engagement process with third parties such as agents. These can play a vital role in providing much-needed support to these students during the initial stage of course discovery options, through to the point where a student commences a course with the provider.
Once the student has decided to enrol with a provider and submits an application, an appropriate process and the correct tools can help guide them through the next steps seamlessly. This will undoubtedly bring about an enhanced experience for both the student and the agent during this process. For example, well-articulated communication content such as a letter of offer containing all relevant information as per the legislative requirements, is going to ensure the process is well laid out and thoroughly explained. Thus, providing clarity for the students and offering a better chance of them accepting and progressing to the next step.
Further communication tools, such as email or text messages, can be used to connect to applicants and/or students, providing them with a better experience right from the start.
For example, a welcome email sent to the international student prior to the start of their course, which contains all relevant information, advice and support, will be comforting for these students who may be excited yet confused on how their journey is going to be in a new country. To make things even better, a well-defined orientation process also enhances this experience when students arrive to commence their studies.
Once the student starts a course, the providers have many ways to continue engaging with them to further enhance their experience using the best processes and tools within an organisation. Student Services’ support activities may not just be limited to the course but can also be extended to help guide students on other aspects of their life such as living, working and enjoying their free time aside from studies. This is what will separate a great provider from the average ones, helping to cement their reputation within the sector and continue to attract the best students.
As the study experience progresses and students achieve their desired outcomes, it is then time for them to either venture out to undertake further studies, return to their home country, or move ahead to the next stage of their life journey. In any case, they can forever be an important link for the education provider and any activity which continues to engage with the alumni will undoubtedly bring a greater return to the organisation over the longer term.
Student engagement and technology
Today, technology plays an important role in providing greater student engagement as well as continually achieving organisational goals and outcomes for an education organisation. Technology opens up many possibilities for an education provider to engage with their students on so many different levels and so, it’s incredibly important that providers look at embracing the technology to support their organisation’s goals.
Further, the providers need to holistically review and look at their technological needs to continually innovate and provide greater experiences to their customer: the students. By having well-defined processes with the right technology and tools, providers can actually make a huge difference in helping to achieve organisational goals. Each process can also have its own metrics, which can be reviewed regularly to fine -tune and improve further. For example, a provider can have a metric to track the timeline of when the application is submitted to when the decision is made on the application.
Also, education delivery today can be supported by a number of technology options such as online learning tools, simulation software tools and digital content that is all available for the students when they need it. Students can be required to attend a certain number of face-to-face delivery hours, however with the right tools and system, the flexibility of the content being delivered online or accessed online, provides a much better learning experience to the student. Having content accessible on smart phones via a mobile app, for example, will enhance the experience for students through convenience. Students can use methods such as this to access their timetable, results, fees status and communication history, making it much easier and engaging for the student.
Further, with the right systems and tools, it is evident that the academic progress can be checked for an individual student or a group of students at any time. This can supply more powerful data and information in order to identify cases where students may need increased support or require intervention much earlier. Similarly, tracking their attendances and engagement over the learning portal enables providers to be aware of the areas where further support may be required, or reach out to students to help them achieve desired outcomes. Providers who are pro-active in this regard are offering greater satisfaction for the students and helping them succeed in their studies.
Digital transformation in education
It is also important to note that there is an immense amount of data being collected by the providers, however it is rarely analysed, meaning that key insights are being missed.
With Big data gaining traction in the technological world, providers too can harness their data to investigate patterns of student behaviour, outcomes, satisfaction, engagement and so on. Education providers will need to embrace innovation and this effective use of data in order to know every possible detail that can help them make the right decisions and propel the business forward in this competitive age.
Surveys or Evaluations are other tools that can help find out how the courses are progressing, what the challenges are and what the providers can do to mitigate risk and continue to strive for excellence.
Another common occurrence we see within an education provider process is the use of piles of paper forms that get filled every day and the manual processes that go along with it. This is another area where providers can really embrace technology and use the right tools to make efficient improvements to their business. In today’s context, it is possible to digitise all forms within an education organisation in an online format and then associate these with the business processes to bring about transformative changes. This also helps to reduce paper waste and electronically manage activities that are then timestamped and easy to track.
Why educational institutions need to embrace technology?
Today the world is changing at a rapid speed with technological advancement, accessibility of the internet in more places and information available at our fingertips whenever we need it. It is truly becoming a globalised world where students are completely mobile and more aware of the technology than any generation before.
This innovation is driving changes in many areas of the education sector. It is evident that today’s learners are seeking to be well- equipped with the required knowledge and latest tools and are always preparing for new and upcoming opportunities in the future.
Innovation and Personalisation are the keys to success in today’s world. New students starting their studies now are going to be from Gen Z (students born after 1995) – they are technologically savvy, ubiquitous to social media and the internet, and their demands will be very different to previous generations. It is important that providers can look into their demands and be ready to adapt to fit and deliver education correctly. Keeping up with the latest trends and identifying what, where and how to connect with the next generation of students is going to be vital for many years to come.
In the futuristic world ahead, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and automation are all going to have a major impact on how 21st-century students live, work and study.
It is also important for education providers to be well-equipped with the latest technology in order to be able to offer flexible, yet quality education to the student. The use of various delivery methods – face-to-face, blended, or online and using advanced simulation tools and online learning allows providers to deliver education effectively, no matter where the student is.
Along with advancements in Artificial Intelligence, the availability of many applications on smart devices is going to make this field more competitive for education organisations. This is because it will become possible that an Australian education provider will be competing with an online overseas education provider. Hence, an education provider has to embrace technology and identify areas of further engagement, in order to personalise the service and be relevant in today’s competitive market.
How Meshed helps
We, at Meshed Group, are passionate about education technology as this is what we do best!
Our Vision is to provide technology that can be used by your team to deliver success for your education organisation.
For the past 12 years, Meshed Group has been helping Australian education providers. We understand the challenges you face in operations, student management, student engagement, staff management, agent management, finance and other areas. Our mission is to address these challenges and problems with simplified solution tools that enable opportunities to allow providers to grow your business and allow management to focus on the bigger picture.
Meshed Group offers a suite of products and software-as-a-service solutions, which enable education providers to manage and operate their business without the complexity of technology infrastructure and investments. Our Cloud solutions are available anywhere, anytime, and are built on effective business processes to make a real positive difference for providers like you.
Further, Meshed Group offers a complementing solutions suite, such as Meshed Workflow, to manage online forms and processes and achieve digital transformation. This, along with many other components can all integrate with other popular systems that education providers use such as Xero, Power BI and Payment Gateway solutions.
In addition to providing software as a service solution, Meshed Group also provides other services to assist organisations in becoming better equipped and ready to deliver quality services to their customers: the students.
Meshed Group consulting services enable providers to review and refine your current processes to meet the needs of the business and support your organisational goals.
Meshed Group data migration and customisation services help to tailor solutions for providers in order to achieve the best out of the platform and to support their business needs.
The Meshed Group team is always ready to connect and assist education providers meet their evolving needs by directing them to an Education Management System that is capable of serving their operations and customers better.
Written by: Mr Pramesh Khadka, CEO – Meshed Group