higher education
An insight into the current state of higher education. Source: Antenna Cw/Unsplash

A global consultancy that focuses on client growth and sustaining leadership in the markets that their clients’ serve, Huron has recently provided an informative report that highlights key transformations in the higher education industry.

“Responding to change through a student-centric lens”, Huron’s report surveyed over 495 leaders to understand their perceptions of the industry’s threats and challenges.

Attempting to provide a candid view of how higher education leaders are addressing disruption and the hurdles the industry is striving to overcome, the Huron report addresses insightful areas such as the ‘Planning Paradox’ and ‘Higher Education’s Headwinds’.

higher education

How will these transformations in the higher education industry impact students? Source: Gregory Hayes/Unsplash

Outdated planning models

According to the report’s findings, “Many institutions subscribe to planning models that were built for a different time and a different competitive market. To become truly transformation-ready, institutions’ short- and long-term planning efforts should link directly to the needs of increasingly empowered, discerning audiences for whom higher education is not simply the next step after high school.”

So, how could the global higher education industry better instruct its institutions to upgrade their curriculum and redesign their lesson planning frameworks?

One way is using the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework, Huron advises.

“The jobs-to-be-done framework, developed by Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen, is a process for understanding a customer’s underlying needs by examining their true motivations on three levels. The first is the functional aspects of a job, or what the customer wants to accomplish; the second is the emotional aspects of a job, or how the customer wants to feel and the third is the social aspects of a job, or how the customer wants to be perceived by others.”

Integrating this approach into higher education institutions’ planning models would improve administrative decisions, including team redesigns, technology planning, student-focused programmes and resource planning, according to the report.

Strategising with a student-centric lens

Another transformative approach higher education leaders are leaning towards is infusing tech with a student-centric focus.

For instance, among the interviewees, 76 percent plan to implement a new student information system in the next five years, while 60 percent plan to invest in technology for instruction and advising.

Yet, despite recognising the importance of technology, “only 14% have strategic technology management integrated across their institutions – suggesting a potential gap between intentions and leadership’s capacity,” adds the report.

With many education leaders planning to integrate technological learning tools and assistants into classes, adding efficiency to students’ study experiences, only a small handful of those education leaders in the report have strategic tech tools in place, highlighting that there will be many transformations ahead.

The future of learning looks bright

Ultimately, leaders in the higher education industry are focused on building a strong future for their institutions, employees and national/international students.

“Transformation-ready colleges and universities are the result of thoughtful, iterative innovations, not one strategic plan or investment line item. Equipping an institution to not only transform when the competitive environment shifts, but also to remain ready for change at all times,” the report finalises.

Suggesting that universities should regularly assess the evolving needs of students, faculty, alumni and industry, Huron advises educators to use the report as a guiding light for strategic planning, business model innovation and future transformations.

For many of the report’s respondents, the future of learning looks bright.

Would the future look brighter if higher education institutions were willing to alter their planning cycles and tech investment strategies?

For the ‘Transformation-Ready Higher Education Institution’ report by Huron, click here

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