Stop Calling Them Students!

The word “student” comes with a lot of baggage. We envision a particular kind of individual who is not representative of the majority of learners coming through the doors of a university today—and especially not representative of the students who are looking to enroll in non-traditional ways. Unfortunately, that baggage affects the way they’re treated, their likelihood to persist through an academic offering, and ultimately, our ability to deliver effective learning experiences. Amazon doesn’t call its customers “readers”—if it did, they never would have grown into the organization they are today. Similarly, higher education institutions shouldn’t call its customers “students”. It’s limiting, both in terms of how learners are treated and in terms of the evolving role of the postsecondary institution.

The modern learner, in truth, behaves like a customer. It’s essential for colleges and universities broadly—and continuing, professional and workforce education divisions specifically—to evolve and adapt to thinking about and serving their learners like the customers they are.

Without making this fundamental change, it’s possible that students will find new pathways to achieving the educational outcomes they set out for.


The Student/Customer Experience

How Process Streamlining Supports the Student Experience

Back-end efficiency is critical for institutions that want to give their students a modern customer experience.

Student-Centricity and the Amazon Experience: Evolving IT to Meet Students’ Expectations

Today’s students behave more like customers than ever before, and rather than trying to ignore or reverse this trend, institutions that can adapt and create an Amazon-like experience for their learners will improve student satisfaction while at the same time reducing operating costs and staff efficiency.

Student Experience and Efficiency Go Hand-in-Hand

Operational efficiency is central to providing a strong student experience for today’s postsecondary institutions, especially when it comes to serving non-traditional learners.

The “Zero Moment of Truth” and Marketing in the Commoditized Higher Education Marketplace

As students begin to behave more like customers when choosing programs, higher education marketing practices must adapt to capture the market.


Establishing and Managing a Brand

Marketing Online Education Today: A Look At Strategy


Higher education marketers today must be strategic about their efforts, using data to define positive and negative efforts and working to create an experience for students that matches what they have become used to outside the academy.

Big Names Don’t Trump Good Service When it Comes to Student Satisfaction

Even at institutions like Berkeley, creating a high-end customer experience has a massive impact on a student’s perception of value.


Innovating Credentials

Alternative Credentialing Can Add Value to Degrees

As traditional postsecondary education costs continue to rise, microcredentials and other alternative approaches to higher education are providing affordable and accessible solutions that likely won’t replace, but will complement traditional degrees.

Stackable Credentials Meet the Needs of Students and Society

The number of students earning multiple credentials is already rising—colleges and universities need to do more to formalize the non-conventional pathways students are already taking to earn their degrees.

The Differentiating Power of Alternative Credentials

Institutions can use microcredentials as a platform to stand out from the crowd, but their offerings must be verifiable and of the maximum quality possible in order to serve as an effective differentiator.

Normalizing Certificates and Certifications for Today’s Learners

The focus on improving student outcomes starts with ensuring that institutions are directly meeting the needs and expectations of their students. In many cases, this means moving away from the bread-and-butter degrees towards high-demand non-degree certificate and certification programming.


Growing Influence and Role of Alternative Providers

Closing the Skills Gap One MOOC at a Time: How Google is Transforming the Lifelong Learning Environment

Creating opportunities for individuals to gain critical, labor-market relevant skills through a sub-degree credential program is one example of how corporations can make a difference in supporting lifelong learning.

Accrediting the Bootcamp: The Transformational Impact of Career College Status

Achieving career college status does more than broadly legitimize the work of bootcamps—it opens up new educational markets and broadens student access to existing programming while also allowing the bootcamp to bring their concerns about workforce preparedness directly to the government.

Assessing the Long-Term Potential for Bootcamps: How Do They Truly Stack Up?

Though alternative credentials have yet to overtake traditional degrees in value—perceived or otherwise—their focus on short-term benefits and demand responsiveness could lead to a longer-term shift in the powers of each respective credential.


Evolving the Institution to the Reality of Lifelong Learning

Honing a Spectrum of Learner Access

Ultimately, creating value for students across the Spectrum of Access requires institutions to demolish silos that exist across the institution.

Redefining Norms Critical to Sustained Relevance in the Changing Postsecondary Environment

Sticking to the status quo will end in disaster for most postsecondary institutions. To stay relevant, institutions have to rethink all aspects of the higher education product, from programming to student support to organizational models.

Take the Hint: Shifting from Anecdotes to Analytics

By leveraging power data visualizations, institutions can make data-driven decision making a reality and move away from the anecdotal and tradition-steeped approach to organizational management that has dominated the postsecondary space for decades.


Efficiency and the Customer Experience

Foresight and Commitment: What It Takes to Deliver a Leading Student and Staff Experience

When higher education leaders begin thinking of themselves as executives managing organizations that serve thousands of customers, it becomes increasingly clear that investing in the student and staff experience should be immensely high priorities.

Redesigning Higher Ed with the Student at the Center

Institutions that rethink the educational experience by putting the student at the center of their decision-making processes will be better positioned to meet the modern demands of traditional and post-traditional learners.

Student Lifecycle Management and the Learner Experience
A student lifecycle management system can transform student engagement and the learner experience, both of which directly impact revenue and growth.

The Impact of Staff Efficiency on Institutional Growth
Delivering the Amazon experience is critical in the modern era, but it's only possible if staff time can be focused on the right things.

Student Self-Service: Delivering an Amazon-Like Experience in the Halls of Higher Education
CE students bring the same expectations to their universities that they do in any other engagement with a service provider. Are you delivering the experience they expect?

Setting Up Your Non-Traditional Division for Success
Systems don't operate silently in the background of any business, and higher education is no difference. The right system can be transformational in serving students the way they want.