Fairly or unfairly, people remember their first impressions. The restaurant that has comfortable seating, just the right lighting, good food, and not an overbearing wait staff. The gorgeously wrapped present at a gift exchange. You already know you are going to like what’s inside based on the presentation of the package. If we are mindful of how these first impressions make us feel, do we put the same care and thought into our Digital First Impression? Do the same rules apply?
Everyone is feeling the effects of the global health crisis. In a matter of 6 months, the education ecosystem has been turned on its end. Institutions that have typically been reluctant to adopt a digital strategy are now forced to think about how to do things differently. For much of 2020, your institution’s online presence will be a differentiator for learners when selecting their primary, secondary, and college-level education. Online strategy development must consider what learners are experiencing in order to ensure their digital journey is fully meeting the learners’ needs. Successful instructors and institutions make concerted efforts to walk in the digital shoes of their learners to fully understand how they are interacting with tools and systems on a daily basis. It is only through a hands-on understanding of this experience that improvements and deficiencies can be identified.
An evaluation of your learner’s workflow from an application, integration, and data interaction perspective will allow you to be better informed on how they are using your systems. This type of evaluation will inform every aspect of your decision-making process and help you assess how learners are moving through the following stages on their digital learner journey:
- Identity - What are your institution's authentication and authorization processes? Does the user’s identity carry forward to the critical education tools they access? Where are users falling out of the login process and reaching out for help?
- Learning - How do your learners interact with the learning tools? Could this be streamlined? How do they keep track of the tools needed for each course? Who is selecting and enabling the tools for the courses/learners?
- Connections - How are your instructors and students making connections both inside and outside of the physical and virtual classroom? How are groups and clubs interacting?
- Assessment - How are you enabling learners to demonstrate their understanding and providing feedback? How are you handling high stakes testing to ensure assessment security and integrity?
- Support - How are you supporting your students’ and instructors’ digital experiences? Is the path for support known? Who do they contact first?
- Mastery - How are you able to help and support your learners to reach the next level? Are your learners able to track their skill and credential achievements? Are you laying the groundwork to prepare them to become lifelong learners?
At Unicon, I have over 20 years of project management and strategic planning experience in working with our clients to deliver digital solutions for the education market. With each solution we implement, we spend a considerable amount of time mapping out the user journey within the application to ensure that it meets the learner's needs at every stage. I strongly recommend you do the same for learners at your institution. You may be surprised at the number of quick wins that can be identified and easily implemented to transform your learners’ experiences with just a few simple best practices. Unicon's Learning Technology Evaluation can guide you in this process. Together we can figure out how best to reach all your learners, eliminate their frustrations, and deliver a world-class online experience. Let’s make your first DIGITAL IMPRESSION one they will remember.