A big percentage of the U.S. population, over 70 million to be exact, is reported to be in the Generation X bracket.
These are folks born between 1995 and 2015.
Commonly referred to as the most diverse generation, they will make up to 40% of consumers by 2020.
Born somewhere between 1981 and 2000, Millennials currently represent one-quarter of the U.S. population at over 80 million. This particular generation is what majorly constitutes the current young adults.
Given these numbers, it’s no wonder that you have to make sure your brand appeals to both Millennials and Gen Zers.
Millennials have unique characteristics that separate them from Gen Xers, the generation that precedes them. This group is highly mobile and social. They prioritize convenience and customer experience over everything else.
They also like their independence and freedom and will likely look for jobs that allow them flexibility in terms of being able to telecommute as well as to manage a work-life balance.
In terms of education, most Millennials are more likely to enroll for courses in the form of tutorials that are not necessarily within their geographical location.
Both of these groups absorb tons of information on a daily basis. They also tend to spend several hours each day online gathering information and engaging in social media.
Therefore, if you want to leave a positive impact on these two generations, then the best way is the digital way. Their online presence is almost 24/7, and they will consume content that is properly created for their needs.
How does automation fit in here? Let’s see!
The Need to Automate
The world has grown smaller and more connected, thanks to the advancements in technology. As a result, the majority of institutions have abandoned traditional approaches to doing things in favor of digital ways.
Companies such as Amazon were able to rise and become global giants following the wide-reach of the internet.
Thanks to the development of smartphone technology, more and more institutions are now adopting an online presence in a bid to beat the competition and to reach out to their target audience.
Education institutions are no different. Automation and other modern technologies such as artificial intelligence are already revolutionizing the workplace.
Companies are already demanding employees with specific skills training and specifications other than a college degree.
In the United States, half of the universities are choosing automation as the main engine of their marketing, onboarding, and communication efforts.
This is a clear sign that the shift towards automation has already begun for education institutions. As the technological field continues to evolve, education institutions cannot afford to deliberate as to whether it is viable to automate or not.
Automation is increasingly emerging as the best strategy to overcome the present cultural shifts brought about by Gen Zers and Millennials. This is because it allows the new type of students to access knowledge anywhere, anytime, online.
Automation also offers convenience for students who are geographically dispersed. A student from South Korea, for instance, can enroll for classes online and complete a Diploma from a U.S.-based University while still in his or her home country.
Students who are already engaged in a profession can still utilize the power of automation as they can also enroll online for skill-specific courses that will, in turn, help them advance their careers.
Currently, there are enormous amounts of information available online, most of which is absolutely free.
People can purchase books from sites such as the Amazon Kindle and read them on their tablets. Also, there is a sea of information online ready for people to watch, stream, and listen while they are online.
This cultural shift has allowed both institutions and these two generations to enjoy convenient and cost-effective information sharing and learning.
Presently, technology plays an integral role in education. A majority of institutions now have a website where the students can get information about the courses offered.
The students can select a course, register, and pay for fees via wire transfer. Most institutions have an online library that allows students to personalize their learning experience.
Tools like the online blackboard allow teachers to share videos of lectures and other teaching material that they want their students to use.
Automation has not only enhanced the learning process but the efficiency and quality in the education industry as well.
Education institutions have long been known to suffer from issues such as staff shortage and intermittent funds. However, through process automation, institutions can now overcome these challenges, most of which are caused by shrinking budgets.
For an in-depth look at automation for educational institutions and the need to prepare for a technology-enabled future, you can download our white paper here.
A Seamless Shift: From Traditional to Automated
It is now a known fact that automation improves the educational process. This is because tasks that were initially time-consuming and frustrating can be performed with ease, thanks to automation software.
Tasks such as admission, attendance, grading, and issuing assignments can now be performed online with a click of the button. Furthermore, technologies such as cloud-based ERPs have eliminated the need to use paper.
Instructors get to communicate, collaborate and connect through multiple platforms like cloud-based collaboration tools, chat apps, and via mobile devices. Internal processes such as employee acquisition and training can also be run effectively using automation.
By rebranding the education processes to SaaS-enabled cloud options, there is no limit to what the institution can achieve.
In fact, rumor has it that in the future, teachers will be replaced by artificial intelligence.
This might seem far-fetched, but given the rates at which tech companies are deploying bots, as well as the increased uptake of such technology by major businesses, this might just become a reality.
Automation is not a fad. Rather, it is a shift that is here to stay. This is because of the significant contribution this technology has made in the field of distance learning.
A 2017 report reveals that the number of students engaging in distance learning increased by 3.6 percent since 2015.
One in every four students is engaged in some form of distance learning. Public institutions have significantly benefited from automation as 67.8 percent of their students are distant learners.
Similarly, the number of students studying on campus has dropped by almost one million from 2012 to 2015. The overall education environment is changing.
This change is in part due to the unique characteristics of this target audience. Since these two demographics grew up exposed to the internet and digital technologies, it is easier for them to engage in online education.
The success of automated education goes beyond the simple use of software. For institutions to enjoy the success of automation, they have to ensure the implementation of seamless omnichannel communication.
This means that institutions must have a well-thought infrastructure that provides students with a seamless experience across a multitude of channels available to them.
The infrastructure consists of both online and offline environments that enhance the customer experience. In order for the infrastructure to work, it needs both integration and synchronization of channels.
The synchronization allows students to engage in a variety of activities with the touch of a button. Synchronization also makes the automation more user-friendly for users. It is also important to note that the omnichannel approach also allows institutions to hold huge amounts of data.
Cloud-based solutions come with large data storage capabilities that allow all the information shared to be stored safely within the cloud.
Personalization is easy as well, thanks to the synchronization of various digital solutions for each activity. Gen Zers and Millennials are known to switch between devices multiple times a day. Also, a good number of them engage in financial transactions online through online shopping.
Thanks to omnichannel communication, students can access their student online learning platform across any device they choose to use.
Social media also has a big role to play in the automation process. Instructors are now using social media to interact with their students. Social media is used in after-class discussions, writing development, language learning, as a curricular tool and more.
Social media platforms are easy to use and convenient to communicate with fellow students and instructors. Also, social media allows students to engage in discussions and seek clarification for any topic or class discussion.
Social media has also eroded the physical divide that separates learners all around the world. It also makes the learning experience more interesting as it promotes student-centered learning.
Whereas there is no denying that there are concerns about the use of social media, it has greatly contributed to the benefits of automation.
Some instructors raise the concern that social media has decreased the learners’ interest in the education process. There is also a concern that this lack of interest has led to an increased number of dropouts.
Still, there is no denying that automation has made it easier for people to access education 24/7 from anywhere.
Automation is crucial when trying to engage Generation Z. Millennials also benefit from this shift as they are able to remain engaged in their jobs while pursuing further education.
Adopting automation in learning institutions is also affordable due to the advancements in technology and the proliferation of cloud-based solutions.
Considering the benefits of these new technologies plus the demands of the modern generation for flexibility, there is no denying that automation is the best way to go, especially for organizations that are targeting Millennials and Generation Z.