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  • Sacha Nouwens

    Sacha Nouwens

    Executive Director, Student Experience and Insights

Personalisation is an increasingly important factor across all industries that can enable an organisation to cut through the clutter and connect with an audience at the right time, the right place and at a personal level.

In a previous blog in our innovation series, The personalisation revolution of online education marketing, our Executive Director of Sales & Marketing, Michael Smolders, and Head of Advertising, Peter Lawrence, wrote about how digitisation is enabling a more personalised approach to marketing. This innovation blog will shift focus to look at how personalisation is changing the online campus.

According to Salesforce, 73 per cent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, but only 51 per cent of customers say companies generally do. As increasing access to data and analytics facilitates growth in personalised services, so does customers’ expectations for companies to deliver such an experience.

Research interviews conducted by IBM with higher education providers showed that while most institutions have a plethora of data at hand to offer personalised experiences to students, this function is still to be fully utilised.

Commonly, organisations use data to understand what happened after an event, such as a student not completing an assignment on time. But well-equipped organisations, particularly in higher education, could be using data in predictive and prescriptive ways to forecast the likelihood of a particular event occurring, and what interventions could be implemented to change the user’s course of action.

Building an online campus geared to success

At OES, we bring together multiple technologies in order to create a rich and interactive online campus to provide everything an online student needs to be successful in their studies. In addition to the learning management system (LMS) and CRM, OES has added a new bespoke student hub to our online campus, connecting students to all the services, systems, and tools they need to be successful through their study journey.

The new student hub has been designed in-house by OES to provide personalisation down to an individual student level.

The enabler of this personalisation is OES’s data and analytics capability. Our online campus brings together a number of “best in market” technologies and the creation of the student hub means this data can be housed together.

Data from student interaction across the online campus is collated in the data platform. Analysis of this data lets us understand what stage each student is at with their learning and anything else they need to complete, for example if they need to select the subjects they’ll study or confirm their attendance at an exam. We can track each student’s behaviours and using AI-modelling techniques, understand their unique pattern of learning and identify if they need additional help or an extra nudge.

The student provides us both with information to understand their needs as well as providing the ability for us to interact with them in a personalised manner, relevant to the individual student when they need it.

Delivering a personalised student experience

Prominent in the student hub is a space where we can deliver personalised messages, prompts and tasks for students to complete, which is tailored right down to an individual level based on what we know about the individual students’ priorities. For example, a student who is regularly engaging in study and completing all learning tasks will receive recognition for their hard work, while less engaged students may receive messages that are more motivational to encourage them to increase their study time.

Alongside personalised messages and notifications, we can create and promote specific pages within a student’s online campus to deliver what is most relevant. We can choose to make any content in the hub more prominent for individual students and at different times of their study journey, for example, for a new student who may be learning the ropes, we might promote the shared online student spaces so they can connect and collaborate with others.

We’re also creating a fully integrated messaging system which makes sure all communication with a student, including calls, text messages and notifications within the online campus, are coherent and consistent.

Enabling students to achieve their goals

Each personalised aspect of our online campus is ultimately established to create an experience for every student that ensures they feel confident in knowing how to meet their study goals.

We know, as online education providers, that a one size fits all approach no longer works. Students require different support and through a personalised approach, we can ensure students are well placed to accomplish their education goals by receiving the most relevant, personalised experience possible.