New research reveals what Australian university students really want

It's not rocket science

Brisbane, 12 June 2019 – New research, commissioned by TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE), released today reveals that students expect a fully optimised education experience, from enrolment to study, that is completely digitised.

The survey revealed a large proportion of students are currently underwhelmed by the levels of technological innovation undertaken by their universities. Thirty per cent of students state their university’s technology innovation is functional yet “uninspired”, while 10 per cent state their course technology is either non-existent, outdated or ineffective.

“The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is going to affect almost every industry across the world and as a result many jobs will become redundant through automation and machine intelligence,” said Stuart MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer of TechnologyOne.

“However, many new jobs will also emerge and it’s vital that new technological skills and ways of learning are embedded into a university’s curriculum to prepare today’s students for the jobs of the future. I believe we’re going to see more technological innovation over the next 10 years than ever seen before in history,” said MacDonald.

But the responsibility to develop those skills goes beyond just universities, according to the Deloitte 2018 Millennial Survey, a global study that revealed one in three Gen Z respondents lack confidence that they have the necessary skills to succeed in an “Industry 4.0 environment”.

“Beyond university, this generation is now also looking to businesses to help them develop the necessary skills, including the ‘soft’ skills around motivation, critical thinking, innovation and creativity, they believe will be more important as jobs evolve,” said MacDonald.

“That’s where we see our responsibility, as a leading technology company, to continually engage with and foster young talent.”

Blended learning is better

When asked about preferred learning structures and the student’s preferred way to attend university, nearly 50 per cent of respondents to TechnologyOne’s research said they prefer a blended learning combination of both in-person/on-campus lessons and online delivery.

“Of the total respondents, 58 per cent said they are currently studying purely on-campus, yet when asked about their preferred way to attend university, only 31 per cent selected a pure on-campus learning experience. This means one in every two students currently enrolled in a full on-campus degree are not receiving the learning experience they would prefer,” said TechnologyOne’s Industry Director - Education, Professor Peter Nikoletatos.

“While there has been some evolution in learning styles, many students are saying their ideal university experience is out of sync with their reality and their preferences.”

Students craving snackable study

While a large proportion of students are underwhelmed by their university’s levels of innovation in the delivery of their course (40 per cent), 26 per cent did believe their university to be innovative and progressive. Important technological innovations to students include being able to access all course content from anywhere, any time, on any device (87 per cent), and a consistent student experience across all course touchpoints and interactions (88 per cent).

“Students expect ubiquitous, any time, anywhere access to university content the same way we now consume on-demand entertainment like Netflix or Spotify. Its about instant access when and where it suits the individual, and in bites of ‘snackable study’ or bouts of ‘study streaming’,” said Nikoletatos.

When asked if the student would consider switching universities for better uses of technology and levels of innovation, more than half (54 per cent) said yes. When asked if the student would attend multiple universities at one time if units from different universities could be credited under a single degree, one in two students (49 per cent) said they would. This poses a real challenge for universities and funding.

“We’re seeing great innovation around how universities are delivering curriculum, however it’s important universities stop and ask the students the question of whether it’s in the right direction and delivering the outcomes the students want,” said MacDonald.

“We know that when we speak to our customers in higher education, their business objectives are tied to keeping a student for the lifecycle of their career. Yet this survey reveals today’s millennial and GenZ students are far more transient than ever before. Universities need to meet the technological expectations of their students to keep them enrolled.”

The survey, conducted in March 2019, polled more than 1,000 undergraduate and post-graduate students from across Australia about their learning preferences, university’s technological innovation and their levels of commitment or loyalty to an educational institution.

About the Student Survey – March 2019

The quantitative data was captured via 1,008 online survey responses from current university students ranging from 18 years to over 45 years old. The student respondents were male (45 per cent) and female (55 per cent), undergraduate (74 per cent) and post-graduate (26 per cent), part-time (33 per cent) and full-time (77 per cent), and from every state and territory in Australia. The survey was commissioned by TechnologyOne and conducted in March 2019 by an independent third-party research company.

Publish date

12 Jun 2019


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