'Insider' report: 15% don't see ed tech solving right postsecondary problems

Dive Brief:

  • An "insider" report from Whiteboard Advisors, compiled by Jeff Selingo and Ben Watsky, found just 15% of a group of 30-45 experts — including presidents, provosts and deans — surveyed believe ed tech companies in the postsecondary space are "solving the right problems."
  • According to Campus Technology, 30% of the experts also believed online learning will see more expansion by 2020 than any other up-and-coming model, with 25% seeing growth on the horizon for competency-based education and predictive analytics, and 55% saying they don't see unaccredited alternative credentialing providers as threats to their models despite 85% saying they were adapting their own competing programs.
  • Ultimately, only about 25% listed technological concerns as a "top priority," and though 48% said it was a "major problem" for them, the highest priority among those included in the study was developing a sustainable institutional financial strategy.

Dive Insight:

Compared to the K-12 education system, many of higher education's tech concerns tend to skew much higher-level. Where a school district might be more focused on, say, effectively implementing a certain device or solution into classroom instruction, many higher ed efforts are focused more in the realm of using data to inform the decision-making process or securing sensitive data (which, frankly, is a concern across all education levels as more devices become connected).

That the top pain point for the experts in the study was the development of a sustainable institutional financial strategy makes the interest in the use of data-informed decision-making no coincidence. The interest in using data to that end is largely centered around making decisions that improve the bottom line, across offices ranging from admissions and student services to research and individual academic departments.

This also ties into broader concerns of access, as data-informed decision-making could potentially be an avenue through which more students are given opportunities to pursue higher education. Concerns remain, however, when it comes to just how much data plays into decision-making. During a panel at this year's ASU+GSV Summit in Salt Lake City, for example, experts discussed the potential of using data to guide students into specific degree fields based on their expected career outcomes. For some, this comes too close to the notion of a planned economy, mitigating the freedom students have to pursue their career of choice while also lessening the importance of lower-paying fields that are still necessary in society.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation
Top image credit: Barnes & Noble College