Among all the different generations, Gen-Z perhaps is the most tech-savvy. Having grown up in a world that has been moving towards total digitalisation, they have been exposed to the internet and gadgets from an early age. It defines their sense of comfort and familiarity with technology and drives how they conduct their day to day lives.
A recent Mckinsey survey pointed out the Gen-Z population as being digital natives, relying on apps for their everyday tasks, from grocery shopping to bank transactions. They also displayed hyperconnectivity to their smartphones, showcasing a desire to always stay connected: 33% spend six hours or more a day on their phones, compared with only 22% of millennials.
Challenges and Pain Points Faced By Gen Z On Campuses
The behavioural traits of the Gen-Z population are challenged once they enter universities, especially in India, where a major section of the institutions are still confined in the manual ways of doing things. One of the biggest challenges that the Gen-Z population faces is – the lack of concrete online information regarding the academic and administrative processes, further worsened by the passivity with which these processes are conducted. This can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. What exacerbates the situation is the lack of transparency in these processes which means their issues remain unsolved despite constantly writing emails to the administrative officials.
It’s a radical shift from Gen Z’s everyday life where things can be easily done with a tap of the finger on their smartphones. Additionally, keeping up with classroom timetables and various submissions, along with getting easy access to reading material, can be a difficult task.
“According to a Bloomberg report, India’s Gen Z population stands at 472 million, with over 32% of Gen Z using mobile devices for transactions.”
The usage of devices, as well as enrollment in higher education institutions, is highest among this generation. Clearly, the smart generation needs smart technology for digital education.
How to Address These Challenges & Make Campuses Digitally Savvy For Gen-Z?
The digitally native generation needs access to everything from their screens – freedom to design their own curriculum and simple ways to complete a task in a few clicks. It is more likely for students to complete processes, make payments, and provide feedback on time if they are given the option of mobile devices. Hence, access to digital infrastructure is the key to managing a huge student population and accommodating Gen Z characteristics.
Here’s how you can address the challenges to meet their expectations and turn campuses digital!
Digital Admission Process
Waiting in long queues and running around campus to get admission is probably the least desired way of doing anything among the Gen-Z. Addressing admission inquiries, submitting admission applications, document verification, as well as fee submission processes should be done online in order to make the admission process fully digital. Moreover, allowing complete transparency of the application process keeps the candidates informed about every update through notifications. Hence, it bridges the gap between applicants and institutions, all the while making geographies irrelevant.
For institutions who wish to have the best talent and stay competitive in today’s world, there is a dire need to digitally transform their whole admission process.
Education & Assessment accessible from anywhere, anytime
Digital learning has become the new norm with the onset of the pandemic. But simply incorporating online learning is not enough for institutions to meet the ever-rising needs of Gen Z. This generation of students demands certain flexibility in learning. They don’t want to restrict themself to one area and want to learn multiple things.
Keeping these things in mind, the NEP has also been introduced to provide a multidisciplinary education to students. Thus, in order to manage the academic complexity that comes with NEP and also to provide students with the freedom to design their own curriculum, the universities need to transform their approach and move to a digital way of managing things, making everything accessible to students with a click. This includes online classes, timetables, pre-read materials, assessments like quizzes, assignments and even exams that are not confined in physical boundaries and are easily accessible.
A Cashless Campus
The digitally advanced generation also conducts all their transactions online. Gone are the days when they had to visit the banks to submit their fee or get an education loan. They have moved way ahead of cash-based transactions. Thus, transforming your campus and making a truly cashless campus is something they absolutely require.
Automating the payment collection process – be it fees, hostel payments, exams, dues, event payments or any kind of payment that is being done on the campus – will help you in building a cashless campus for Gen Z. Incorporating multiple payment gateways will also enhance the payment success rate. This would also mean no more visiting administrative departments for collecting receipts.
With the right technology, all the receipts and invoices are automatically generated and can be shared with the students with just a few clicks!
A generation that is as proactive in learning is also quite active when it comes to extracurricular activities. Building a digital platform where clubs and chapters can be created and events can be managed, outside learning activities will further boost the digital presence of the campus.
“51% of the members of Generation Z admit that they prefer active, immersive learning experiences to passive learning.”
A campus social network where students can share campus news and any updates with each other is another way to enhance the digital adaptiveness of the campus. Hence, this would aid seamless collaboration and communication in the university premises.
Career services that are customized and integrated into the campus experience will have a great impact on Gen Z. While on campus, one of their major worries is about getting placed post the completion of their degree. However, keeping them waiting till they reach the actual placement cycle is not something that can help them. They need to know in advance the companies that visit and the kind of roles that are offered to them. Hence, an online dashboard where they can see the organizations and the kind of opportunities being offered as soon as they step into the campus will be highly beneficial for them.
Placement time is also a very stressful time for students. They want to spend more time on preparing rather than the tedious work of filling forms, making multiple photocopies of their CVs, and waiting in line for their interviews. Queues definitely don’t fall into their dictionary of life. Thus, to help ease out the placement time for them and actually enable them to focus on preparing and acing the interview procedure, a digital platform is the key to ensure their success in placements.
Automating Campus Workflows
Gen Z students want access to everything from a single dashboard and do not wish to waste their time roaming around the campus for any service. With technology, institutions can automate every workflow of their campus. With this, the students can submit grievances, request for a bonafide certificate, sports equipment, hostel, and mess services, submit IT complaints, among others. To ensure a worry-free and safe environment, they can also be provided a digital help desk to submit complaints as well as seek medical or mental health support.
For members of Gen-Z, college isn’t just about four years of education. They have a specific set of expectations in terms of the campus experience it brings, the outside classroom learning opportunities, how it enables them to enhance their personality as well as how it will keep them connected with their peers and professors in times like Covid. Thus, it is critical for educational institutions who are yet not accustomed to using technology on a day to day basis to adopt one and provide a smart digital experience to their student population.
If you want your campus to be digital too, reach out to know more contact us!