Any successful business strives to understand the needs and desires of its customers, and educational institutions are no different. For a university, the customer is the student, and students are coming to perceive customized experiences as the norm.
Students want to shape their experiences
When a person of the millennial generation has a negative experience, he or she wants to be heard. According to Forbes, “Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you.” Millennials give a lot of credibility to those who take their input under advisement. Successful companies understand that.
But how can this concept help improve an educational institution?
Universities must adjust programs to meet the interests of their students. Those that do are likely to achieve great success with the younger generation. For example, a course that consistently ranks poorly with student engagement may need to be adjusted or removed from the program. On the other hand, if college students are raving about a particular course, more sessions may be added. Classes that are identified as particularly engaging can then be evaluated to determine whether follow-up courses should be added to the program. This is known as outcome-based teaching.
Through modern technology, student engagement can be measured and tracked over time. Metrics lend precision and simplicity to the process that takes much of the guesswork out of how to give customers what they want. This method not only retains customers, but it also empowers students.
Online retailers cracked this code years ago. Online retail giant Amazon allowed its users to rate books from the start. This has not only fueled the success of the company, but has revolutionized the industry. Twenty years later, such customer review practices are commonplace. Shoppers enjoy the ability to review products, and their reviews have more credibility to prospective buyers than those of product manufacturers.
Employees crave recognition
Educators also want to feel as if their contributions matter. The educational field draws a special kind of person who wants to feel that their efforts are making a difference. “Employee recognition needs to be a common practice in your organization,” states the Community Foundations of Canada.
Recognition gives faculty members a sense of ownership and belonging in their place of work. This mindset enhances performance, loyalty, and retention. It also builds a framework for support and positive reinforcement.
The same system can feed the information to high-performing educators. Those who are successful at engaging their students are likely to feel appreciated andwill be inspired to continue to improve. Educators who are struggling in that area find encouragement to close the gap.
In this sense, two key elements to any institution of higher learning can work in harmony to improve the experiences of one another. Students are able to influence course offerings. Educators are given feedback about what engages those students. Additionally, universities can make informed decisions about the best uses of research funding. This kind of information further empowers both students and teachers. The institutions will ultimately benefit by attracting and retaining talented educators and satisfied students.
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