Tech boost for student experience

Philippa Bryant, Head of Market Research at lorensbergs, spoke to UB about empowering students through online booking

Why has the ‘student experience’ become such a priority to education institutions? 

Students have their own ‘customer journey’ when attending their chosen university and investing their time and money – in both cases now a substantial amount. There is raised awareness that alternative courses or career paths could be taken, so every aspect of their journey is under scrutiny.

For 10 years now the National Student Survey has provided a widely used benchmark. There is pressure for each faculty or department to continually improve any areas found wanting. It often isn’t a matter of increasing resources. Institutions are working towards delivering a more coordinated and productive way for students to get the most out of their existing environment and the resources available to them. This is where technology and online services play a vital role.

How do you view the role of technology in improving the student experience?

Effective technology supports students throughout their university journey. It helps them find their feet during the early days on campus and then keeps them informed. It ensures they never miss out on what they’ve paid for or get penalised without having every chance to avoid it. For instance, our solution connect2 recognises who each student is and what resources are available to them, presenting services in a smart and organised way. The information and options presented are always relevant and helpful, and the student is filtered only relevant communications.

Solutions can also offer up powerful information for decision-making on resourcing and for directing more student support where needed. It can streamline administration so that when staff interact directly with students it’s to add real value and build relationships, rather than being caught up with mundane, laborious details. In short, it gives staff more opportunity to be of help and show interest in each student’s needs which are understood to be important drivers in student satisfaction.

What are the longer-term benefits of investing in student-facing technology?

Online booking technology not only enables students to get more out of their courses, it supports their professional development which is a big part of their journey and the wider success of all universities. Simply put, it encourages students to be more organised and responsible. One of our customers, Falmouth University, has said of our solution connect2: “It presents our service in a more professional way and that in turn leads the students to operate in a more professional way… This obviously reflects really well on the quality of graduate leaving us to join the industry.”

What future developments do you see for the education technology market?

There is increasing demand for flexible systems that can bring overarching benefits and have a rationalising effect on the need for different systems. A consistent, high-quality experience for students as they interact with technology means they spend less time familiarising and accomplishing new systems and more time studying. If all they need is their student ID and a familiar interface to get all the information needed, then this will enhance their experience of what their institution has to offer.

With 10 years’ experience working with universities, lorensbergs develops booking solutions for a diverse range of student resources and services.