Mobile Technology in Higher Education
For the last 20 years, the world has witnessed a constant growth in mobile phone usage. Mobile phones have changed how people communicate with each other at different points in time. The simple device that was once used to make phone calls and send SMS messages is now the equivalent of a small computer from which a person can have unlimited access to infinite resources. This evolution led to many changes in the way humans interact with their phones, how they perceive them and the place they occupy in their lives.
The last couple of years have witnessed a surge in mobile phone adoption rate; its use has surpassed the use of any other device to access the Internet. The importance of mobile phones, that are now more adequately referred to as smartphones, has been reinforced with the significant attention businesses are allocating to adaptive e-platforms and mobile application development.
Millennials and Generation Z spend over 3 hours per day on their phones. People belonging to these age segments privilege mobile phone use over any other device for information searching and connecting with family and friends. Being the main target segment of higher education institutions, universities’ communications and recruitment directors should consider investing in mobile-centric tools for engaging with their different stakeholders.
Mobile Applications and an Improved Students’ Journey
In the last few years, colleges and universities have been elevating their mobile engagement experience by introducing mobile applications. Some of the institutions saw it as an opportunity to go beyond academics and design their mobile application in a way to nurture engagement. Putting the user experience front and center saw the emergence of university mobile applications that include directories, procedural guidelines, curriculum requirements, deadlines communication, but also, student gatherings details, students’ forums, and the likes. Some applications also allow personalized interaction where each user – students, faculty or staff – can filter the information he/she is receiving and make it specific to his/her field of interest.
Such applications, which are very beneficial to students, can also be very beneficial to universities. By promoting the use of the application, administrations can monitor their students’ journey on campus: event participation, community engagement, clubs participation. The way students interact or don’t interact with the application can provide universities with insights about their community.
However, the student journey starts way before enrollment, and universities are expected to give prospective students the attention they are after. For example, universities can use Swizly’s Mobile Engagement Guide to improve the way they interact with prospective students. Providing universities with a mobile web application, Swizly grants them access to prospective student’s phones, in a smooth and adaptive way, without the hassle to have them download the portal. A platform like Swizly doesn’t guarantee an increase in application and enrollment rates overnight, however, gives you insight and generates a lead for your recruitment team to base decisions on.
Mobile Application and First Year Students
Designing a great user experience is not easy, but universities have been prioritizing this aspect of their mobile application. Students coming in for their first year at the university can find an application including the campus map, integrated schedule, threads and networking events very useful and enriching for their overall university experience. Many have experienced difficulties navigating around campus, meeting new people, or filtering information. Trends have shown that a poor first-year-experience increases the probabilities of students dropping out of universities.
Mobile applications can highlight to students messages they are interested in by sending push notifications for important communications, such as employment opportunity in their field of interest, deadlines, last minute changes, etc. Some universities have their email platforms integrated with their mobile application which allows for an optimized access to all shared communication. Administrations are also relying on mobile applications to communicate emergency messages in case of events happening on campus that require all the community body to be alerted of.
Do you want to know more about how can Swizly increase your institution’s visibility to prospective students? Contact the team now!