Using data to deliver personalised student experiences

The ability to identify student drop-off milestones and intervene is giving educators the chance to retain students and provide them with the best possible experience

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3 Nov 2022
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Anthology provides data-informed education technology experiences to enable and empower the global education community

Edtech firm Anthology provides partners with data-driven solutions to help students thrive in their studies. Richa Batra, vice-president of student services and general manager at Anthology, explains how data is being used to personalise the student experience and enhance student success.

Data could be used to help students make their college decision based on their financial situation and long-term goals, while minimising financial aid debt. Batra explains that cost and debt are the main reasons why a student decides not to enrol or is unable to graduate.

“If students know what’s available to them, specific to their financial situation, Anthology can proactively look at that and share with them the steps that they need to take to receive their scholarship, receive their financial aid, because that’s going to be the reason that they can register and then start classes,” she says.

Through a mix of automated and in-person reminders and pointers, data can also be used to help students complete the enrolment process. The aim remains the same, Batra says: “How can we proactively make sure that they’re staying on-course for that programme, not only to get the grades they need but to graduate in that time period.”

Understanding and reaching underserved student populations is another development in data use. Batra uses her own experience as an example of how data-driven personalised student outreach could improve a student’s circumstances. “I was a first-generation college student in the US and so I had different needs,” she says. “If I was flagged as being from that population today, what do I need that may be different to anyone else? More communication, more access to resources, people to be able to call, and more follow-up on what those deadlines are.” By using data to identify and reach underserved student populations, institutions can develop a communication plan that is tailored to this population or even to an individual.

Companies such as Anthology work with colleges to handle data with a focus on privacy and security. But it also hopes to eliminate unconscious bias as the use of data grows and more institutions retain and analyse data.

It is vital that institutions maintain good data hygiene as the integration of data to shape the student experience grows, Batra says. Currently, many universities run multiple technology systems and stacks that don’t work together cohesively. “That definitely impacts the clean data that they’re going to get for their team and that we would get as a partner,” she says. “That could mean data from every phase of the enrolment and student retention funnel could look different.”

Batra explains that mismatched systems and data hygiene issues are likely to result in students being lost through the funnel at points where they could be proactively reached out to.

Data is also helping meet students’ expectations of their learning experience. “Students want to see more automation and reminders,” Batra explains. “They want to be told every step of the way what they need to do so they can really focus on their coursework.”

As the place of data in the student experience continues to grow, Batra says she sees a future in which Anthology will be able to map out and identify times to intervene throughout a student’s studies to improve enrolment and student retention.

Find out more about Anthology.

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