What does today’s digital student look like?

Posted by Carol Strachan on 13 April 2016

It’s fair to say it’s been a while since I was a University student and, looking back it’s also fair to say that things have changed dramatically since then.   While in those days I used to walk for two miles to get to my lectures (I was too skint to get the bus) laden down with numerous heavy books, today's student may still have to walk but they can at least access digital books they've stored on their mobile, tablet, laptop or USB to help lighten the load.
 
One of the main differences between then and now is that digital is second nature to students, they’ve grown up with it, it’s built- in, they know nothing else.  It may sound obvious but it’s a big deal.  Everyday I’m amazed at the new things my children teach me from creating funky vlogs for homework assignments to new ways of interactive digital learning in the classroom.  Did I blink and lose a few years?
 
So it got me thinking about College and University students and what they look for or need in terms of their digital requirements.  After scouring the internet I unearthed some research courtesy of Accenture.com with some staggering results which made me sit up and think:

  • 80% of College student said that digital capabilities were important when choosing which institution to attend

  • 70% of current College students and recent graduates want their institution to offer more in the way of digital tools

  • 81% want to see an increase integration of technology into the classroom experience with greater online access to materials and online availability of class timetables

  • 81% of students and graduates that use digital tools would choose to attend their University again

With such high percentages it makes me question whether Universities and Colleges are focussing their digital strategy in the right way.  Are they engaging with the student online before the student has even selected them?  Does their website showcase their institution as ‘technology rich’ thereby enticing new students to attend and how do they manage the day to day life of the digital student?
 
The key to doing this successfully is to fully understand the student by researching both their online and offline characteristics and behaviour, personalising content so it's relevant and resonates with them, having a responsive, dynamic website allowing access to as much online resource as possible and creating a seamless omni- channel experience that allows the student to switch between online and offline with ease.
 
If this strikes a chord with your University or College and you're in need of help with your digital strategy I know a great digital agency that can help.

Carol Strachan

Carol joined the Unified team over a year ago and brought with her a wealth of marketing experience gained over the last 20 years.  During her career, Carol has worked on some really exciting campaigns including the launch of 4G with Three and the Transforming Local Infrastructure project back by the Cabinet and supported by the National Lottery.  With Unified Solutions, Carol's sights are firmly set on helping clients realise their own digital potential.

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