Create A Powerful Online Learning Platform, Gain Loyal Students

Malcolm Woodfield

The world of academics is changing, right along with the business world. Today, 97% of universities use digital programming to present classes. They also use the Internet for online registration, job searching resources, and online payment. Furthermore, more students like taking their classes online. Today, universities must keep up with these desires to serve everyone who wishes to study with them. Online learning is the model of the future, and while traditional classes are still common, this may not always be true. There may come a time when they are dinosaurs in the education industry.

Today, even traditional classes often use electronic and online components. These include online platforms for students to keep in touch with teachers, ask questions outside of class, and see their grades. The university of the future will be one where a variety of electronic learning tools exist to make a full educational experience. That will be just as good, if not better, than the traditional in-class model of learning.

How universities will change

We will see the emergence of new business models for universities to follow. The current way that classes are being taught and made available will also need to change. Each university that uses a digital platform will have to do research to determine the best way to make the change easy for them.

One important thing online universities can do is to increase student interaction. This can be done with online portals and chat rooms. University administrators can decide the best way to move forward to increase student success and teacher recruiting.

What will attract students to online classes

Understanding what promotes excellence in online learning is part of optimizing student engagement. Students learning from home do better if the online environment is social and interactive. Online classes that get the best results from students are ones that have social components. Students are also more likely to use online classes if the option shown to them looks attractive. They need to know the course is easy to use, social, and has teachers who are easy to reach anytime.

Money and online learning

The online learning model must make money for the university. Deciding whether it will means collecting real-time information with several data points. The school will need to decide how many full-time employees it needs. It also needs to decide if some full-time employees can become part-time staff. Fundraising needs to be taken into consideration. The money given by the state is also a factor. Finally, any new equipment the university needs, and how much it costs, must be added in to the total. Once these are decided on, the university can know if adding online classes will be profitable for them.

Online learning and its value to students

It is not only digital learning that universities should consider. Student services can digitally transform. Students would need get as much from an online class as they would from a traditional class. In fact, the value of their online education should actually be more than a traditional learning environment. This means providing such services as real-time job search services, just as a physical university would do. In fact, it is easier to provide up-to-date information in a digital environment, as this information can be obtained through a variety of sources as it is posted.

Interactive sessions with career counselors should be available, either by appointment or on a virtual “walk-in” basis, so students can learn how to put together a professional resume, how to answer interview questions in the best possible way, how to dress for interviews, and how to be a good employee. All of this can be done online with the proper interactive environments set up and managed by the university, and with the associated employees in place, either working onsite or from home.

Tomorrow’s universities today

With these techniques, today’s universities can begin to transform themselves into the learning institutions of the future. Including online clubs and organizations in the roster of offerings will increase student retention and loyalty and will improve the university’s reputation. The use of webcams can make these virtual experiences seem like real-world ones, and students will derive the same enjoyment and benefits from them as they would in person.

Providing online space for virtual study groups is another way universities can move into a totally digital environment. Online tutoring portals are also a must. With these things gradually put into place and perfected with real-time data over time, the university of the future can be built, and students will flock to it. The popularity of online learning is real. Smart universities will take advantage of it, capitalize on it, invest in it, and move boldly into the future of learning with it.

For more information, please visit Higher Education. Reimagined for the new economy.


Malcolm Woodfield

About Malcolm Woodfield

Malcolm Woodfield is the Global Vice President, Head of Industry Business Unit Education & Research, at SAP. He manages a global team accountable for the overall business, market, customer, and revenue success of the Higher Education / Public Services portfolio (including all Applications, Analytics, Mobile, HANA, and Cloud) globally.