The Top Challenges Going Into 22/23 Academic Year

The Top Challenges Going Into 22/23 Academic Year

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Ready Education
6 Oct 2022
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By Anthony Phillips, Country Manager UK @ Ready Education


Higher Education has always been one of the most interesting industries to me, which is one of the reasons I joined Ready Education at the beginning of this year. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with so many universities this past half year, including a live interview with the University of Gloucestershire at the Hashtag Higher Education event hosted by THE. During my conversations, I noticed that while universities often seem different on the outside and every institution has its own approach and ways of working, the challenges are really similar. That’s why I wanted to share the top challenges in HE going into the new academic year.

Digital Experience

Since Ready Education offers various EdTech solutions, the digital experience is one of the themes I naturally often discuss. Universities recognise the digital-minded generation of students currently enrolled at their institutions and try to offer the best possible digital experience. It turns out that’s one of the biggest challenges at the moment. The aim is to deliver a seamless and personalised experience to increase the ease of use and student satisfaction.

The main challenge comes from the fact that the solutions that are currently being used are often out of date. When universities realised they needed a solution like a student app to improve the digital experience, many of them made the wrong choice as they now say in hindsight. Some implemented an off-the-shelf solution and never touched it again, resulting in an outdated mobile app. Others chose to build an app themselves and now realise it’s a costly project that doesn’t deliver the expected results. Going into the new year, the goal of those institutions is to find a solution that fits their needs and is capable of delivering the best digital experience to their students.

Student Communication

Related to the digital experience, or at least the systems being used, is the student communication challenge. Students are overwhelmed by information coming at them via email and outdated digital solutions. The multitude of systems already in place means the information is held all over the place and is difficult to manage from an admin perspective. As a result, students are ill-informed and don’t know where to find the answers to their questions. The right approach can result in a massive decrease in student queries, up to 80%, and better informed students overall.

Student Engagement & Retention

The last, but certainly not the least challenge I often hear about is the student engagement and retention challenges. Now, I know these are two different things, but as you may well realise, good engagement correlates strongly with increased retention. Students who are academically and socially engaged during their time at university have a higher chance of success. They feel a sense of belonging, which research has proven to be a big contributor to increased retention. The part that universities struggle with most is social engagement.

Over the past few years, universities worldwide have been able to optimise their courses to be informative and engaging both in person and online. Even though there is always room for further improvement, judging from the conversations I’ve had the academic engagement is at a decent level. At the same time, universities continue to struggle to engage students outside of courses with extracurricular activities like events. It is that part that will be a point of focus going forward.

Now, these three challenges have been the main challenges I’ve heard in my conversations, but I’m sure these are not the only ones. I am keen to learn more and to engage with universities all across the UK to learn more about their challenges.

If you are open to sharing your challenges with me, please feel free to book some time with me. I look forward to learning more!

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