Universities worldwide are facing a decline in undergraduate enrolments, drops in satisfaction rates, and increased competition from non-traditional online education providers. This trend was evident even before the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 10% decrease in university enrolments in the USA from 2018 to 2022. The pandemic further highlighted the challenges faced the Australian tertiary sector, with a significant drop in the number of international students due to border closures.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there has been a 111% increase in international student numbers from January 2022 to January 2023. However, universities continue to face financial and organisational pressure. In response, universities must adapt and embrace new learning models and emerging technologies to meet the evolving expectations of students.
Students now expect a meaningful, connected hybrid learning experience. They want the convenience and flexibility of digital curriculum delivery while maintaining a sense of connection to their peers and the university community. They also demand flexible and affordable lifelong learning opportunities through alternative credentials and industry-recognized certificates.
To remain competitive, universities are increasingly turning to digital technology to transform their operations and enhance the student experience. Digital delivery provides a competitive edge redesigning the learning experience, optimizing operations, improving security and data management, and leveraging technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
Process automation and low-code platforms can improve the operational efficiencies of universities. By automating repetitive administrative tasks and streamlining business processes, staff can focus on research and teaching. Centralizing data through data fabrics and using low-code platforms allow for a seamless student experience from enrollment to graduation.
Intelligent automation offers numerous potential benefits for universities, including cost reductions through hyper-automation and process redesign. By implementing OCR and ICR technologies, leveraging data analytics, and embracing AI and ML, universities can unlock the transformative power of intelligent automation.
In conclusion, the digital transformation of higher education is crucial for universities to remain competitive and meet the complex demands of students. By adopting new learning models, embracing emerging technologies, and implementing intelligent automation solutions, universities can provide a high-quality, connected, and flexible learning experience that meets the expectations of students in the digital age.
– National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
– Australian Government’s TEQSA Annual Report for 2020-21
– Universities Australia research
– Accenture Learners Mindset Study 2021