With the right approach, digital transformation can create a campus community that puts students at the centre of their education and empowers success.
We know that students are more successful when they learn in a student-centric environment — that’s just a fact, and that’s what’s driving digital transformation. Today, digital technologies are creating an incredible moment-in-time for students to evolve the way they learn, the way they interact and collaborate, and most significantly their overall experience. Colleges and universities have the opportunity to do more than just add new platforms, wireless technology, and equipment — they have the opportunity to transform lives.
Give them what they want
Students today were born with mobile devices in hand. They grew up on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. They are true digital natives. They expect a seamless, connected experience wherever they go with the information they need at their fingertips — literally.
Traditional ways of doing things, where each department within a school provides different learning options, communications mechanisms and experiences doesn’t fit today’s learning styles or expectations. Students find these siloed solutions confusing, complicated and isolating, all of which diminishes their promise of success.
True transformation can’t happen in an environment where technology decisions are made by individual organisations within a college or university. I believe a holistic approach to successful student outcomes, rather than focusing on technologies, is how colleges and universities will succeed. A campus-wide digital transformation strategy that aligns all technology decisions with the institution’s academic and administrative goals can eliminate the boundaries and barriers students encounter. It also allows schools to realise the benefits of social learning across the institution.
Social learning = success
Social learning is based on a theory proposed by psychology professor Albert Bandura. Bandura suggests students learn by blending visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles to understand new concepts, retain knowledge and apply them. Studies support that collaborative learning engages students, encourages creativity and helps them retain information to achieve higher educational success.
Included among these findings are:
• A 2020 survey, where 76.9 percent of learners indicated they enjoyed working with social learning tools and 92.3 percent indicated the need to further include social learning tools as part of their formal education
• HBX, a Harvard Business School online education initiative where course completion increased to 85 percent when social learning was introduced
• A 75:1 Return on Investment (ROI) ratio for social learning approaches compared to formal web-based training
Reaping the long-term benefits
I’m optimistic that the days of students having to adapt their learning styles and interactions to how a school functions are well behind us. I’m confident that with the right approach to digital transformation, higher learning institutions can bring the school to the student, put them at the centre of their education, and make their journey from applicant to alumni smooth, enjoyable and rewarding.
The beauty of digital transformation is that it provides benefits throughout the students’ educational journey, and on into their future. While at school, digital solutions can help students feel like they belong, and provide emotional support through connectivity, and equally important, offer them a sense of personal safety, all of which contribute to better mental health.
Digital transformation can level the playing field so that every student has equal access to digital services and experiences. No one is disadvantaged, and no one gets left behind due to program choices. Connections to friends, fellow students, professors and the institution itself are paramount while students are at the school and even after they leave. These are the kinds of benefits that make the difference between failure and success, and make it more likely students will complete their studies, obtain their degree, realise a decent return on a very significant financial investment, and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. These are the things we wish for our kids. This is the higher education they deserve.
Learn more about how Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise helps educational institutions create successful community learning environments where students thrive and everyone wins.