The unprecedented events of recent years have established the need for rapid digital transformation, especially within higher education. But where there’s a need also comes challenges. While it’s clear that digitization is necessary for higher education, many colleges and universities still lag behind in technology adoption.
And if playing catch-up wasn’t challenging enough, these institutions are also in the midst of providing education to one of the most tech-savvy generations to date. A generation where nearly 50% are losing interest in pursuing a four-year degree, according to the Education Pulse study from ECMC Group.
At every step of the student journey, from admissions and enrollment to retention and graduation, higher education must adopt digital technology to help meet the demands of current and future generations. Thankfully, many software solutions already exist that can help solve digital transformation challenges faced by higher education.
To keep students engaged and overcome the challenges of enrollment decline, higher education must trade legacy systems for robust digital tools that prioritize security and scalability. If your team is looking to digitize, ensuring the adoption of this new technology by faculty, staff, and students is an important step of the process.
How to Improve Adoption of New Technology
For students, streamlined digital experiences are no longer optional — they are an expectation that offers little room for error. Now is the time to integrate technology into your higher education processes.
This integration will take time, planning, and communication. It’s important to set goals, but also be realistic about the adoption rate among staff, faculty, and students. Here are four tips to help everyone embrace new technology and workflows.
1. Be Clear About the Problem You Want to Solve — and Be Sure You Have the Right Solution
Integrating new technology into your current infrastructure should improve the efficiency and scalability of workflows. It should not create more headaches for staff or burden for IT.
Finding a solution that meets your goals starts with vetting each solution. It should easily integrate with business-critical systems, such as Salesforce. The new technology should also maintain high levels of data security and compliance with regulations like GLBA.
For example, if you are looking to add a data collection solution, you’ll want to be sure it solves your biggest pain points like compliance issues or manual processes. Your teams will benefit from having a unified platform that can simultaneously get rid of paper forms, streamline workflows, connect to other business systems, and improve security.
See how FormAssembly helps solve the needs of higher education.
2. Develop Goals for New Technology
Prior to implementation, it’s important to set end goals for this new technology, which will vary depending on the solution. For example, you may aim to eliminate all paper forms and migrate any legacy systems into a new data collection platform by the start of a new semester. Or maybe you’d like to get adoption rates of the new technology to a certain percentage before the end of the year.
Stay proactive and track each goal. Celebrate progress and adoption. Be sure to check in with those who are lagging behind. If these users don’t have a clear understanding of how to use the technology, you may need to provide more specialized training.
3. Focus on Communication and Training Prior to Rollout
New technology is exciting, but it can come with a learning curve that may keep teams from enthusiastic adoption. Once you have found technology that meets your goals, it’s important to get your leadership to buy in.
Be sure you clearly communicate the problems this new technology will solve and provide clear use cases for each department. If leadership expresses excitement about these changes, it will help the rest of your organization feel excited as well.
To prepare teams for the rollout, implement an internal training plan. The more prepared departments are to use the technology, the faster the adoption rate will be. Take advantage of customer success training sessions to educate employees. And be sure to provide comprehensive documentation for how to use the new technology to its fullest potential.
4. Launch New Technology at the Right Time
Launching the new technology at your organization should happen during a quieter time of the year. New student orientation week probably isn’t the best time to introduce a new platform to your faculty, staff, and students. Similarly, if you plan a summer launch, you may be faced with limited staff and faculty availability.
Before rolling out new technology, first determine which time of the year would be best suited for a launch. This will ensure that departments have the time to successfully integrate the technology. It will also provide room for further training, fixing technical issues, and getting feedback from users. While no launch will be perfect, putting strategy behind it will help ensure a smoother transition to the new technology and processes.
Learn More with Cloud for Good and FormAssembly
Does your organization need to adopt new technologies to remain relevant amidst the changing landscape of higher education? Watch our panel of education leaders, including FormAssembly partner Cloud for Good, on their experiences in digital transformation and how they’ve adapted.