How Universities Can Cater For The Netflix Generation

How Universities Can Cater For The Netflix Generation
Summary: In this article, I will examine what universities can do to cater for the Netflix Generation, a generation of digital natives, and embrace their changing needs.

What Can Universities Do To Cater The Netflix Generation?

University has become a bigger investment for students than ever before. Those leaving higher education with nearly £30,000 of tuition fee debt are looking for reassurance that their investment will pay off in terms of overall experience, academic success, and ultimately good routes into employment. The next generation of students are “digital natives” for whom technology is intrinsic to their everyday lives. As the world becomes more digital, universities must now look more to education technology to assist with recruitment and retention of students, and give the type of learning experience the Netflix Generation expects and demands.

Getting Up To Speed With The Digital Native 

Millennials looking for information are much more likely to use their phones to Google the answer, have been used to technology in their school and college lives, and may never have needed to search a large library for a specific hard copy book. Just as brands have to adapt in the face of a changing consumer market, universities have a responsibility to meet the changing needs of today’s “digital natives” for whom products and information are readily available at the touch of a button.

As this generation turns to Netflix for their viewing needs and Spotify for their listening demands, students are now looking for a similar platform in their learning that allows them access to all their textbooks and course materials in a central place, and enables them to connect with fellow students on the same platform.

Personal Service And Value For Money

Today’s students have an awful lot invested in their futures and want to make the most of their time at university while government is holding universities to account by linking fees to teaching quality. Students want to know that when they accept a place, they will be attending a university that will do everything to make their studies as effective and engaging as they can.

Student attraction is key, and the introduction of digital learning tools is becoming a bigger factor in this. Advances in technology and the rise in popularity of e-readers has opened up new opportunities for universities to provide students with cost effective study tools and is allowing lecturers to try different teaching styles and make classes more interactive.

Some pioneering universities are providing students with tablets, pre-loaded with their core textbooks as part of the course fees. But this rise in digital learning doesn’t just provide value for money; it ensures every student enrolled on a particular course starts off on a level playing field, with access to the key resources they need to excel in their studies.

Raising The Bar On Grades With Analytics

Just think of the benefits for a lecturer being able to monitor a student’s individual progress through essential course reading material. Lecturers with that ability can establish which students are advancing as expected, and which are at risk of falling behind or dropping out completely.

Inevitably there some people who struggle to keep up with the pressure of studying, reading, and essay deadlines. Lecturers able to track progress will be able to identify these students faster, and offer them extra help before it’s too late. In the past, these are the people that fell through the cracks and dropped out when all they needed was a little extra help. This type of help could be available. Not only that, but these analytics can help lecturers identify extra reading material or learning forums and recommend them to students.

The advances in eLearning have opened the door for lecturers to address student retention and for universities to correlate these insights with other data to identify wider learning trends. Research shows that students are happy for this data to be shared if it helps them secure the best results.

Just like food and fitness apps are used every day by consumers to track progress through a diet or training regime, lecturers and students should have access to the same tools.

A digital learning platform is part of the solution to this. Not only does it enable the Netflix Generation to read their textbooks on any device from any location, but they can also collaborate with course mates, make and save annotations, and automatically reference their work, making the learning process easier and more efficient.

But the only way universities can offer this is by engaging with the technology that is readily available. Brands already use this type of innovation to make sure their customers are getting best value, surely students making such a big investment in their future should be offered the same service.