Almost 2 years on from ASQA's commencement of the Student-Centred Audit Approach, the VET sector has suffered some blows, but also made way for the majority to shine a light on the importance of VET in Australian society. With the focus now heavily on the Student Experience and ASQA's next push for excellence (rather than the minimum standard) now more than ever RTOs, need to become systemised, flexible and as proactive as possible. It's time to use technology to enhance the Student Experience!
To this end, it might seem obvious to turn to technology for help. Although tech is a great enabler to efficiency and visibility, there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to utilising tech to enhance the student experience.
1. Don't just join the bandwagon, do your research
There are so many tools out there, but it's important to do your research and pick the best fit for you and your student demographic. A "busy' solution with lots of unnecessary information, may confuse your learners and might prove too much for your organisation to adopt. On the other hand, a generic solution may fall short of your requirements and you may end up spending a fortune tailoring it to suit your RTO. So at the start of your process, ask yourself, do you require a solution that is generic and only needs to be a portal for uploading and downloading files, or does it need to be a flagship solution that will impress your students from start to finish. Don't just pick the first solution you find on google, check out as many as you can. Insist on a free trial and show your students before you lock in a contract.
2. Don't think that tech will replace the human touch
As RTO Business Coach, Tamara Simon said in this blog, having the tech does not mean you have it all. It is there to enhance the learner journey and make it an, "up to date" experience for your customers. Solutions built to enhance your student experience, will enable a smooth flow of communication, efficiency in task management and best practice when it comes to assessment. Good solutions can provide statistics and insights into your student and assessor output, but won't do their job for them.
To give you an idea of what options are out there and how they help, read this article.
3. Don't rush in without being organised
This article provides 10 tips for being ready for your, "Digital Transformation". There is a bit of prep work required to ensure you are in the right place before you go digital. You want to make sure you look proficient in front of your students. Perhaps empower one or a group of people in charge of prepping and guiding the rest of the team into the transition.
4. Do keep up to date with the training and support from your provider
Once you pick a provider (and preferably ask before about their service levels) make sure you keep up to date with the features and how they affect the way you work and impact your students. Tech will be (or should be) continuously updated to provide you with the most up to date experience for your students and team. You could be missing out on great time-saving shortcuts or practices that could boost your overall output to your students.
Listening and talking to your provider will give you a deep insight into how the solution should be working. They know how to use it better than anyone else as they see it in practice across your industry.
5. Do use technology to engage students
With technology comes automation! Good systems will allow you to create workflows to trigger actions along your learner journey to engage your students into action. This could be an email notifying them an assessment is ready for their completion, or a link to a survey to complete every time they have submitted their work. This will help you keep informed of student thoughts and feelings, and give you time to act upon resolving any problems before they arise.
6. Do get creative with your assessments
Impress your students where it matters most, with their assessment. Ensure they have access to all information required within their assessment, rather than requiring them to navigate elsewhere. Embed multimedia resources including video, images, audio and engaging learning content. Make it easy for your students to complete their assessments correctly by providing a mix of multiple-choice, text boxes and free text boxes plus the ability to record and upload evidence. Provide an interactive experience wherever possible if your solution allows.
7. Do analyse the data you collect to manage your learner journey
To remain proactive and avoid student complaints, any good system should allow you to check on your students' engagement. Check what tools your provider offers for monitoring and analysing student engagement. This could be in the form of an overall dashboard indicating when learners were last seen or lists of actions allowing you to know when you need to step in and support your students.
Finally, do feel rest assured that tech can help you provide the best possible student experience, just make sure you go into it with an informed mind.
To learn more from Cloud Assess, the pioneers of Digital Training and Assessment, click here. We help RTOs use technology to create exceptional student experiences. If you would like to see what Cloud Assess did for the student experience of current customers, click here.