11 January 2022
What does 2022 have in store for Universities
2022 promises to bring changes to universities, with a greater emphasis on digital education.
The higher education industry doesn’t stay still for too long. And at that moment, things aren’t staying still at all. As with all industries, universities are still dealing with the transition into a new reality in response to the coronavirus pandemic. After the initial shift, we’re beginning to see more long-term implications of COVID-19, which means that 2022 is set to be a defining year for universities up and down the country. As well as the coronavirus pandemic, emerging digital alternatives and a changing workforce mean that universities must adapt if they’re going to remain valuable institutions. In this blog, we’ll look at just some of the changes and developments that we can expect to see in the forthcoming year.
Just like workplaces, universities adapted relatively quickly in response to the coronavirus pandemic, shifting the learning experience online. However, while for some industries this was a short-term solution, the only lectures, seminars, and exams look set to stay a part of higher education life, though it’s unlikely to be as total as it was during the pandemic. The reason for this is that one, universities invested a lot of money into ensuring that the digital learning experience was as advanced as possible. The second reason is that the effect on the learning experience has broadly been positive. To deliver outstanding service to its students, universities will need to invest in their IT services across the board. A live chat website will help to deal with the student issues that may historically have been handled in person.
However, the university sector does face a new threat -- the rise of non-university digital courses. There’s been a huge rise in companies offering certificates and training in specific areas. Universities will have to see how these offerings impact their intake. Undoubtedly, one of the advantages that universities had over digital-only, certificate-based courses was that they could offer an overall life experience. But with campuses increasingly limited, people looking to boost their skills may turn to the much cheaper alternatives available online, in the (probably mistaken) belief that they’ll be just as valuable as a university education.
It’s also probable that universities will see applications from more varied demographics in the coming year. While there may be the usual cohort of school leavers joining the ranks, there will likely be applications from older people. The coronavirus pandemic had impacts that stretched far beyond health; it impacted people’s identity and made them question whether they were actually doing what they wanted to do with their careers. The people that decided that it would be better to change their career may have to go to university as part of their retraining process.
If there’s one thing that many organisations are learning, it’s that the old way of doing things will no longer suffice. In order to overcome and adapt to the new reality, an agile approach to growth will be required. It’ll be essential that all universities review their current operations and see how they can adequately bring them up to speed to meet the environment we find ourselves in 2022.
Students as a Customer
In the period of growth that characterised the last several decades, universities all too often treated their students as something other than a customer. They set the expectations and environment based on the university’s, rather than the students’. But we’re beginning to see this change. The shift dictates that universities will need to adopt a student-centric approach -- basically, they must meet their needs. This is an important approach anyway, but it is additionally important in the digital age when students -- not to mention the media and so forth -- are beginning to question the usefulness and value of an online education.
Investing in Campus
The campus is far from dead. Universities are likely to reflect the workplace model, which is hybrid -- some classes at home, some classes on campus. The goal of universities should be to create dynamic digital and offline environments that create the best student experience. And in the absence of social-heavy events, or Covid-cautious behaviour, they’ll need to find a way to develop the students’ social side online.
Learning From Covid-19
Universities had to play catch up when the pandemic hit. Many of them found out that their digital environment was stuck in the past. But in an age when digital life is consuming everything, dragging feet is no longer an option. Universities need to create a sophisticated roadmap that’ll lead to improved technological offerings.
Meeting New Workplace Demands
It’s not just the coronavirus pandemic that universities need to adapt to. They also need to adapt to the changing workplace. The skills that employers are looking for are different to what they were in decades past, and perhaps even five years ago. Today, there’s a greater emphasis on creativity and collaboration. To ensure that students are fit for the workplace, universities will need to measure their current offerings against those objectives.
Finally, in an ever-competitive market, it’ll be important that universities find ways to reduce their overall costs. There are many ways to do this, but one of the best ways in 2022 will be to find the right cloud computing and SaaS products. The goal will be to balance expenses with value; there’s no shortage of digital products that can enhance the learning experience, but universities will need to do it in a fiscally smart manner.
If we’ve learned anything from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that things don’t stay still forever. After a period of relative stability, universities have found themselves in a new position, and that’ll bring up fresh demands and challenges -- as well as plenty of opportunities. If you’re looking to improve your student experience by offering a live chat feature on your website, then be sure to get in touch with us here at Click4Assistance. We have more than fifteen years in the field, and offer the most advanced and reliable chat software in the industry.