Digital transformation in higher education is not only a solution to common university challenges, it is also a change of mindset that creates more efficient processes in management and pedagogical experience.
Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Latin America have traditionally faced great challenges.
Some of them are to optimize their budget, to have more and better spaces to serve more students and to expand the educational offer.
In this context, digital transformation – supported by Information Technology (IT) and strategic thinking – is key to solving part of the region’s educational challenges.
With only 15% of Latin American students between the ages of 24 and 29 completing their university education, it is clear that HEIs need to improve retention rates and design new teaching methodologies in line with the expectations of a generation that has grown up in the information society.
But how can this be done? Universities and HEIs can find in Digital Marketing an approach to digital transformation in higher education. Join us and discover these possibilities!
Overview of digital transformation in higher education
Undoubtedly, higher education needs to transform itself to overcome its challenges through the technological tools that have emerged with the digital transformation.
However, according to an IDC study that analyzes the maturity of Latin American universities in the face of digital transformation, 4 out of 10 universities are digital resistant, so they prefer to continue with the traditional teaching system.
As you can see, the adoption of IT in the teaching-learning process is being conservative and isolated.
And the fact is that universities are only just understanding that the scope of digital transformation is not limited to digitizing documents.
Nevertheless, significant advances are being made today.
Indeed, the same study concludes that almost a third of universities are digital explorers. In these institutions, some successful digital transformation initiatives have been replicated in a timely manner.
Let’s see what are some of these areas of innovation that have been implemented in higher education institutions.
Many Latin American HEIs are creating new student retention mechanisms that involve the use of technologies such as machine learning.
Through predictive models, we can analyze and predict the anticipated departure of students and create interventions to prevent them from leaving. The most common interventions are counseling or academic mentoring.
According to IDC, 25% of HEIs surveyed in 2017 were already making use of machine learning for their student retention strategies, while 58% planned to implement it in 1-2 years.
A second area of technological innovation that favors HEIs is in the uses of Big Data for strategic decision making.
For example, universities can calculate student graduation rates or analyze data related to scholarships to understand their relationship to academic performance and better understand students.
This data-driven analysis allows us to make timely decisions regarding the planning of study systems or the activation of support networks to prevent dropout.
This is why, in 2017, 31% of universities surveyed by IDC were already using rich analytics models or tools for their decisions, while 58% would use them in the coming years.
If one of the challenges of digital transformation in higher education is to reduce student dropout rates, another major challenge is to expand access to education remotely in an educational system that prioritizes the physical attendance of the student.
For this, technologies such as cloud computing enable the creation of virtual classrooms, MOOCs and online courses that students can access from anywhere with an Internet connection, democratizing access to education.
Similarly, in administrative matters, cloud computing facilitates the monitoring of students through CRMs, which are computerized sales and customer management systems that HEIs are using in management due to the similarity between the customer cycle and the student cycle.
Artificial Intelligence is also being used by HEIs to offer assistance to students through virtual tutors that make the learning-teaching process much more efficient.
As you can see, these 4 innovations, along with other tools such as web development, videoconferencing and gamification systems, represent a new wave of strategies that seek to meet the challenges of digital transformation in higher education.
How does Digital Marketing drive digital transformation in higher education?
We have posed a particularly challenging scenario for Latin American higher education institutions in the 4.0 society, in which the:
- low student retention;
- insufficiency to attract new students;
- disarticulation between academic programs and student expectations;
- slow adaptation of technological tools.
The good news is that Digital Marketing is one of the sectors that has best integrated new technologies that are constantly evolving.
By applying the Inbound methodology to your IES you will find that the commonalities between Marketing and education can be the solution to many of the challenges we have mentioned.
In the end, Marketing seeks to improve the service a company offers.
So, let’s analyze how Education Marketing strategies can help you alleviate some of your main concerns of this digital transformation in higher education.