From K-12 schools to universities to new-age edtech platforms, everyone within the educational sector understand the importance of personalized, omnichannel student engagement. So, how can they craft a strategy to deliver these experiences in an efficient, scalable manner?
In a recent webinar: ‘Enhancing Student Engagement with CCaaS: Strategies and Best Practices’, we invited experts from the educational sector to discuss this topic at length. Our panelists included:
- Dr Santosh Sharma-Zonal Head-Leadership & Business Strategies, Zee Learn Ltd
- Rohit Manglik-Founder & CEO, EduGorilla
- Debajyoti Majumder-Dean & Academic Director, Akash Educational Services Limited
- Dr Bhushan Bonde-Principal, Podar International School
- Vikas Anand-Head, GCC Business, NIIT Limited
- Jyoti Gupta-Co-founder, Eduaura
- Rampradeep Kumar-Associate Director- Product Solutions, Ozonetel
During the webinar, these experts offerred insights on AI-driven virtual assistants, personalized chatbots, and digital channels. They discussed how effective communication lies at the heart of higher student engement and satisfaction. Based on this discussion, we’ve outlined ten best practices to enhance learning outcomes and personalize student experiences. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
1. Understand Student & Parental Concerns
One of the first and most important steps educators can take regarding personalization is understanding the different audiences with whom they may be communicating.
For example, universities and higher education institutes are more likely to speak with students directly. As such, they must tailor their messages to students and get to know their concerns, interests, goals, etc.
Conversely, as Dr. Sharma explained, when it comes to K-12 schools, educators must consider parents’ views as much as the students’ views. After all, a parent plays a critical role in these young students’ education. As Mr Gupta pointed out, they don’t always want the same thing the teacher wants), and the school will generally be communicating with them rather than the student.
It’s important to note, too, that by personalizing these communications to parents, educators can get to know students better and identify specific strategies for supporting them.
An easy way to implement this strategy is for educators and institution leaders to ask themselves, “Who’s making the decisions?”
Knowing who the decision-makers are can help educators personalize their communication methods. For example, Manglik pointed out that parents and older students might communicate more effectively via email, whereas other younger students might prefer a WhatsApp chat.
2. Consider People’s Location and Dialects
When connecting with students or their parents, educators must also consider their location and preferred languages. Anand explained that, from his perspective, “a multi-linguistic [approach] is the way of the future.”
Location, especially in a country as large and diverse as India, naturally influences people’s communication and education requirements. Knowing where students come from can also help educators adjust their curricula and communication styles (including the languages in which they deliver messages) to better suit individual needs.
3. The Final Touchpoint Should Be Human
Schools and learning institutions can also benefit from personalization when it comes to lead generation. One way to achieve this goal is to ensure the final touchpoint in the lead generation strategy is a human.
Many organizations use chatbots and other AI tools to help guide people through the funnel. While there are benefits to this approach, prospects must connect with an actual human being as they get closer to actually deciding that they want to attend a particular school, sign up for a specific program, etc. As Majumder explained, “Nothing can replace a physical connection.”
When they communicate with a real person, rather than a robot, it’s more likely that students or parents will get information and responses that are tailored to their unique needs and goals. Technology can only go so far when it comes to customization, and that’s where a human touch becomes especially valuable.
Majumder also reminded attendees that no technology (and nothing new, for that matter) can work in isolation. Technology should be used to empower and bring people together, but it’s not a replacement for human-based interactions altogether.
4. Utilize Data and Learning Analytics
By collecting and analyzing data, educators can more easily understand their target audiences (students, parents, etc.) and their pain points, as well as what is and isn’t working with their general teaching approach.
It’s important to note that learning analytics help all parties, including teachers, parents, and students. For example, Dr. Bonde pointed out that “Learning analytics can provide valuable insights [into] individual learning patterns and allow teachers to tailor their support.”
The more data educators, in particular, have access to, the easier it is for them to tailor their educational materials and deliver a more personalized experience — one that helps students retain valuable information and encourages them to remain active participants in their education.
When most people think about gathering data related to student engagement and the student experience, they think about test scores and other achievement-based, quantitative data. While numbers matter, the same goes for more qualitative data.
For example, educators can use surveys to evaluate how students and parents feel about the school’s current approach and how well it is tailoring lessons to students’ unique needs. This data provides a more holistic view of the school’s performance and where there is room for improvement.
5. Offline Educators Must Think Digital
In the post-COVID era, we’ve witnessed a significant surge in offline education providers embracing technology to educate their students. “Over the past year, we’ve successfully onboarded 8000 partners who utilize our app and website to enhance their teaching methods,” Manglik said. For them, technology is a backend rather than a mainstream solution, he added.
For coaching institutes, technology has greatly simplified their daily operations, making their lives significantly easier. They are using solutions to effortlessly generate question papers of varying difficulty levels. They can generate reports and seamlessly analyze student performance
6. Emotional Connections Are Key
An important part of personalizing the student experience is making emotional connections.
Mr. Bonde emphasized the significance of establishing an emotional connection with students. When operating in an online environment, building trust and a strong reputation through digital channels can be challenging. Therefore, we must carefully craft our engagement strategy to foster meaningful connections.
Thoughtful, personalized, and empathetic communication — whether it’s delivered through email, chat, or anything in between — shows students (and other recipients) that they are valued. It also makes messages more meaningful and memorable and encourages students to remain engaged.
As Rohit pointed out there is no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with students or parents. By incorporating emotion and empathy into the process, educators can ensure they’re crafting messages in ways that are most likely to achieve a specific outcome.
7. Keep Parents Informed
When it comes to young students, their parents need just as much consideration as students.
“We recognize the importance of keeping parents informed about our offerings. To bridge the communication gap, we’ve introduced a parent app, ensuring they don’t have to wait for the next parent-teacher meeting to keep them updated on their child’s progress and schedule. If they aren’t actively utilizing the resources on their phones, it’s crucial to reach out to them and ensure they’re well-informed,” Mr Sharma said.
They should receive training on how to use the school’s primary communication platforms, such as a dedicated app or student portal. That way, they can stay in the loop regarding their children’s education and ensure they’re receiving the personalized support and attention they need to learn and thrive.
8. Ask for Feedback and Gather Data
Finally, schools must ask for feedback and gather data to personalize the student experience. The more they know about students, the easier it is to tailor lessons, communications, etc. to them and their specific needs, challenges, and interests.
Regular check-ins through surveys and other data collection tools allow schools to gather data throughout the year. Gathering data more frequently, in turn, will create more opportunities to monitor progress and identify areas that need improvement.
This is another area in which omnichannel technology is valuable. Kumar explained that it can integrate with other tools, such as CRM systems, to centralize data and make it more easily accessible for future analysis.
9. Expedite Enrollment with Omnichannel Solutions
Omnichannel technology can be very beneficial when it comes to streamlining communication and connecting students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders. These tools allow people to communicate via multiple channels and pick up on specific processes (such as signing up for classes) right where they left off.
Omnichannel technology can also come in very handy here. By allowing users to continue conversations from different platforms (for example, they can start on mobile and finish on a desktop) enrollment can be significantly expedited.
“An omnichannel setup makes enrollment campaigns efficient, allowing us to measure ROI for each campaign with room for introspection and reengagement. This means our counselors can invest more time in addressing complex queries, as around 50-60% of their tasks get automated.”
Omnichannel tools can assist with other important tasks, too. For example, they can automate follow-up calls to connect with people who may not have finished a specific process and remind them to complete the remaining tasks.
It’s easier to provide a personalized experience when students and parents aren’t bogged down with essential processes (such as enrollment-related tasks). By accelerating these processes, schools can onboard students and their parents more efficiently and start providing more personalized communications and teaching sooner.
10. Reduce Friction with Integrations
Communication — especially personalized communication — is critical to the student experience. From messages about signing up for classes to making housing arrangements, communication matters — and it must be seamless.
To enhance the student experience, it must be easy for them to communicate with their teachers and others through their preferred platforms and communication tools. These platforms and tools must also integrate seamlessly with other media that the school uses.
Panelists agreed that the harder it is for students to receive important information via their preferred platform or send messages to their instructors, administrators, etc., the more opportunities there are for them to become frustrated with the institution as a whole.
Personalize & Optimize Student Experience with Ozonetel’s Omnichannel CX Platform
A personalized student experience can lead to increased engagement, better learning outcomes, and an improved reputation for schools and educational institutions.
Talk to our sales team today to learn how Ozonetel has helped several colleges and edtech firms accelerate enrollments, enhance omnichannel engagement, improve CX insights, and automate redundant work.