4 out of 5 HE institutions Embracing Mobile Technology to Improve Student Experience

24 January 2013

More than 62% of HE institutions already have their own smartphone app with a further 19% planning to introduce one in the next twelve months, according to a survey of higher education staff conducted by Capita at a recent UCISA conference.

Three quarters of respondents believed that introducing an app in their organisation would improve communication with and engagement of existing students, and almost 45% felt it would make their institution more attractive to new students. The results suggest that the introduction of mobile technology is seen as key to improving the student experience in the HE arena.

Mark Harvey, HE Manager at Capita's software services business, said: "In the increasingly competitive HE sector, we're seeing a growing demand for innovation around student-facing mobile technology. A huge proportion of students use mobile devices to communicate with each other — so they also expect it from their place of study. The results of the survey suggest that HE institutions are proactively responding to this expectation.

"Our survey indicates that more than 80% of HE institutions will have their own app within the next year. My prediction is the rest will follow very shortly afterwards, particularly as it's now possible to configure 'out of the box' apps for different smartphone platforms without requiring any coding skills. I also expect that we'll start to see increasingly sophisticated apps that allow students to use geo-tagging for location specific services as well as making payments for university services.  With increased 'consumer awareness' among students, advanced mobile technology helps universities prioritise the student experience and connect with learners in a way that is quick, easy and inexpensive." 

Another interesting result from the survey revealed that HE institutions are well-prepared for UCAS to stop providing paper copies of student applications. More than 60% have begun paperless processing of applications, and a further 36% have a programme in place to ensure a smooth transition from the start of the 2013 academic year. This will help institutions to cut costs and improve the experience of prospective students.