Survey finds tech a major contributor to student churn
BRISBANE, 22 February 2021 – Two in every three students would consider switching universities for a better technology experience, or to a micro-credential rather than a traditional degree, a major survey has found, delivering implications for the way higher education institutions need to adapt in a post-COVID world.
With university and TAFEs forecasting forward budgets and staffing on the assumption that students who enrol will stay, the new 2020 ‘student stickiness’ trend could lead to further adverse impacts on Australia and New Zealand’s higher education sector.
TechnologyOne’s 2020 Australia and New Zealand Higher Education Student Survey, conducted in late September, found learners are now considerably more open to changing their place of study to get a better technology experience. Of the 1,718 students surveyed, almost a third (31%) said they would definitely switch universities or TAFE’s, while a third more would consider it.
Peter Nikoletatos, global industry general manager of education at TechnologyOne, said 2020 demonstrates that technology is a fundamental part of the student experience and a key factor in a student’s ongoing relationship with their institution throughout their post-secondary learning life.
“Eighteen months ago, when we last conducted our survey, we found a significant gap between students’ expectations of technology at their place of study and their experience of it.
“Back then though, it wasn’t enough of an issue to cause such an impact, with only 17 percent saying they’d change institution for a better technology experience.
“Fast forward to 2021, and technology has become the equivalent of the front gate for many students, especially those in Victoria. The experience has thrown the strengths and weaknesses of institution’s virtual learning and administrative systems into stark relief. The pass-fail mark has now effectively been raised,” Mr Nikoletatos said
“This is the era of digital natives, with an expectation that technology is seamless, accessible and easy to use,” Mr Nikoletatos said.
“As students start back at studies for 2021, it is important universities recognise the importance that students put on a uni or TAFE’s technology, and that they continue to change and adjust in line with expectations,” Mr Nikoletatos said
TechnologyOne’s research highlighted a number of areas in which COVID-19 may lead to students becoming more mobile between institutions and less ‘sticky’ to individual institutions. Two out of three surveyed also said they would now consider micro-credentialling and almost half supported more sub-bachelor degrees. This is largely driven by the expectation that their study will provide employment opportunities in their field and the stackable style qualifications may provide that competitive differentiation at recruitment time.