Unleashing the potential of your student enrolment process
Your students will never tell you they want to give you more data during enrolment.
With a desire to fill in their application, submit, and achieve a successful enrolment fast, there’s every reason for education providers to think, if they add an extra layer of data capture, they may experience a drop-off in enrolments. Students might give up and go elsewhere.
Except, students do want a better experience. They do want a better education service.
And it may be that, if providers continue to capture the bare minimum amount of data just to meet compliance requirements, they will not be orienting their process around their customers. The true potential of a student experience that will differentiate them may never be realised.
Enrolment is the place where that can start. Is it time for enrolment records management 2.0?
Voice of VET and enrolment records management
Enrolment records management is the primary reason given by RTOs for choosing their Student Management System. In ReadyTech’s Voice of VET RTO Industry Report, 61% of providers said they based their buying decision on the effectiveness of this aspect of their SMS.
It’s also the most valued function of Student Management Systems in the market. Voice of VET found 41% of providers named enrolment records management as most valued, followed by compliance reporting (21%). The highest proportion also said it was the easiest SMS function.
It’s clear from these results that, on the whole, RTOs are confident their enrolment process and records management capabilities are fit-for-purpose. With the support of their SMS, they are processing enrolments effectively in ways that set them up for managing their students well.
Has the market reached an end state for enrolling students? Is this best practice in action?
The future risk of a ‘table stakes’ enrolment process
ReadyTech would argue we should continue to raise the bar to achieve an even more student-centric orientation for enrolments. In this context, collecting baseline student data could be seen as just the 'table stakes' that give providers a seat at the vocational education table.
In fact, maintaining enrolment processes at this baseline level could be risky. Here's why.
1. Enrolment data capture is designed for compliance, not students
The data we capture as an industry through enrolments is valuable. It plays an important role in supplying governments with the data they need to understand what is happening in the vocational education sector, and make informed changes to regulation when required.
Saying that, it isn't designed with students in mind. The point of data capture now is largely compliance. Have we been asking whether students care about this? Or more importantly, what they do care about, and trying to evolve our enrolment process to make that possible?
2. Enrolment forms are undifferentiated across cohorts and providers
The compliance obligations driving our student enrolment records are the same for everyone. This means that, as a general rule, providers all ‘look the same’ from the standpoint of enrolment. They are capturing the same things as competitors across all their students.
This is despite student cohorts and individuals being different, with different needs. It is also despite each provider having their own vision for learning and training. Is an undifferentiated enrolment process allowing personalisation, or for providers to stand out from the crowd?
3. Enrolment is not geared towards enhancing student experiences
When enrolment is driven by compliance, it is not in the service of student experience. While we might talk about improving student experiences and put in place other measures, we are not using the enrolment gateway as a way to set up the experience from the beginning.
How could we be utilising this important interaction to maximise the experience for the rest of their journey? What data could we capture that would make this possible? How can we make that as frictionless a process as possible to ensure that enrolment is still streamlined?
Enrolment records management 2.0
If enrolment processes and record management was to zero in on students while continuing to remain compliant at the core, what would that look like? How could we move away from a focus on reporting through to government, towards enhancing the student journey and experience?
1. We would move towards individualisation based on students or cohorts
Personalisation is one of the core promises of next generation learning. Different types of students will have different needs throughout their learning journey, and providers will need to flex to continue to meet those in traditional and non-traditional learning formats.
This can be enhanced through enrolment. Rather than offering every student the same generic gateway, providers have the power to capture new layers of data, that will empower different experiences, whether it’s a domestic Certificate or Diploma, or an international student.
2. We would exploit flexibility offered by systems to enable personalisation
Student Management Systems create flexibility when it comes to personalising enrolments. For example, JR Plus allows providers to completely tailor their enrolment forms to create as many forms as they like, meaning they can apply multiple versions to different student cohorts.
This allows providers to personalise the journey through the enrolment channel. While they might start from a basic compliant template, they can expand this through an SMS to capture other useful data, and ensure they aren’t constrained by forms on a website, for example.
3. We would offer better experiences to students that turn them into advocates
Through capturing more relevant data at the point of enrolment, educators will know more about students, have richer student profiles, and will be going beyond ‘table stakes’ enrolment processes to create bespoke experiences for different cohorts that respect their differences.
This extends enrolment beyond the compliance realm. We should be asking ourselves what else we can knjow about them, and how we can create profiles rich enough to service them in a way that is above and beyond their expectations - and the standards of the market competition.
- Example 1: Natural learning styles
One example is what is their preferred learning style? Are they visual learners, do they learn by doing? Educators have an opportunity to ask that information upfront, rather than miss that opportunity. It could help explain is someone starts struggline in class.
- Example 2: Work commitments
Students routinely to part-time work to fund study. Educators could account for these and feed into the timetabling function. This would add value by not putting their means to fund their education at risk and adding to stress by timetabling over existing work commitments.
A bold new future for enrolment records management?
Educators understandably have a fear that, should they add new layers of information capture at enrolment to add more personalised experiences, they may experience a drop-off - the 'barrier' they are creating could actually turn students away to a provider down the road.
But this may be a false impression. Students want an education provider to care about them and provide great experiences. If there's a way to show this in a seamless way upfront, it may be that this bold approach will actually begin to set educators apart from the competition.
The enrolment experience it self - and the student experience - will get them talked about.
Because at present, there is little to no differentiation. If providers are not differentiating themselves beyond the basic benchmarks required by compliance, they may be putting their businesses at risk. The time may be ripe for a step up in enrolment records management.
Interested in learning more about how we help providers with next generation enterprise student management technology? Learn more here.