Do students want what we think they do?
What students want could be different from what education providers think. And when push comes to shove, it’s students that really matter.
Teachers and trainers care deeply about their students.
They naturally want to provide the best possible courses and student services, to ensure students are engaged and learning today, and successful in their careers tomorrow.
But do students want what we think they do?
As teachers and trainers, it’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking what students want today is the same as it was in the past. But the reality is things are changing fast – and we need to keep up.
What students want is changing how educators teach
In 2019, a senior language teacher told one of our executives at ReadyTech that, despite advances in technology capabilities, students ‘just can’t learn to speak English’ online.
Fast forward to 2022. In just a few years during a global pandemic, students learning English online had propelled online language learning app Duolingo usage stats off the charts.
It’s one story showing what we think students want and need may not always be accurate.
In ReadyTech’s most recent survey of RTOs, Voice of VET 2022, we see a picture of education providers responding to this shift in student demand for online products and services.
The survey found online or blended training was the greatest opportunity in the market, with 20% of providers naming this as the number one opportunity factor for their business.
A huge 78% were offering online training, up from 44% pre-pandemic. Online learning has essentially been validated by students and providers, and demand for online will continue.
This is not the only area where what students want is changing the game in education.
During the pandemic, shorter course models exploded. In the time it took traditional providers to get materials online, big players like Coursera and Udemy were basically eating their lunch.
Again, Voice of VET showed that demand is increasing most for accredited short courses and non-accredited micro credentials courses, out of all the courses RTOs currently provide.
Students are showing us what they want. And providers are changing to deliver it.
Can tech help teachers deliver what students want?
Student demand will shape how education providers respond with courses and student services.
For example, providers will need the tech framework right or they won’t be able to scale - like when they need to handle a higher volume of enrolments across a shorter course framework.
This means teachers will need to embrace techology beyond the direct learning aspects.
When providers think about tech first, their teachers are then free to offer the learning and services students want, with greater flexibility across delivery modes and course types.
And there’s more to come. For example, machine learning could soon be used to help teachers predict which students will drop out, so they are empowered to respond and support students.
Delivering what students want means thinking outside the box. Technology really can be a force multiplier for VET learning – and make teaching students enjoyable at the same time.