Student and alumni engagement, employability, recruitment, and overall brand-building are essential functions to sustaining a successful education enterprise. But one has to acknowledge that, in many of these fields, institutions don’t know what they don’t know. What does it take to gain more knowledge and build a crisper picture ?
Evidence-based decision-making for institutions and students
As opposed to other sectors, higher education lacks evidence-based decision-making practices. And for good reasons : students cannot be tracked and measured in the same way products can be. It is therefore hard to understand the impact and outcome of a program without proper data to assess them. Large institutions can spend significant efforts and budgets in trying to maintain and develop alumni networks or running resourceful career centers — all in the hope to understand aspirations and career outcomes. But data collection remains difficult, partial and inefficient.
What applies to institutions also applies to students. Making the right education choices has never been so difficult. With stronger competition between institutions, multiple criterias are now getting into play : internships, opportunity of studying abroad, campuses locations…and with the cost of higher education increasing, students and their families want to maximize the value of their education choices. In a world where the overall program experience becomes as important as the curriculum itself, only a few institutions can afford evidence-based communications. Real-time 360° career guidance becomes an integral part of the experience, both for prospective and current students.
Pedagogic innovation and curriculum development
And from a programs’ management perspective, what kind of data is needed to deliver pedagogic innovation in design and curriculum development ? Being able to detect weak signals in employment evolution ; understanding changes in student’s experience aspirations, measuring the impact of programs structure changes on employment and career outcomes, understanding the institution reputation, and benchmarking current programs with other institutions’ are all key knowledge for modern education initiatives.
Data sources are many : institutions, governments, students, alumni, employers, social networks, but as they grow in number, it becomes harder and more critical for institutions to select the right ones. And even more important, being able to understand and act upon them. Humanroads solutions apply big data and AI to this field, thus providing a new series of Career Data Analysis services for institutions. They are daily tools for all departments of the institutions, helping them to better manage their business, understand employment market evolution, be more efficient at recruiting and keep track of alumni career paths. For students, such tools are essential resources to know better the institution and navigate their way through the programs, and invent their future professional adventures.