Why Traditional Student Engagement Platforms Fail to Engage

It’s become the norm for universities to utilize student engagement platforms to help manage student communications, maintain organization, connect student groups, simplify processes, and track and measure student engagement. Traditional student engagement platforms help you accomplish all of these, but can be limiting when it comes to modern capabilities and essentials for the modern student body.

Modern student engagement platforms go beyond these essentials and offer a roster of features and benefits that can help universities thrive when it comes to operation and offerings. There’s multiple ways traditional student engagement platforms fail to truly engage, and where modern platforms make a real impact on your student engagement: 

1) Don’t forget the social component

While all of the basics are typically included in a traditional student engagement platform, one element continues to be an afterthought: The social capabilities. While a lot of traditional platforms opt for relying on additional social media channels on top of their engagement platform, why not select a platform that prioritizes the social component?

According to HubSpot, “Gen Z logs on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day. This is almost an hour longer than the average millennial.” Instead of hosting your social efforts in different places, select a platform that gives your students the ability to connect to their fellow classmates.

Your platform has the ability to house everyone on your campus, leverage that ability and offer various ways to connect users to socialize. Through direct messages (DMs), public channel chats, group messaging, photo/video post capabilities, and polls, utilize all the social media features in one place to keep your students and staff interactive and engaged. 

2) Mobile-first over mobile-friendly 

Whether you’re out and about or leisurely at home, it’s become second nature to use mobile devices to go online, check messages and email, and of course open favorite apps and spend plenty of time scrolling, commenting, liking, and repeating those steps again. When it comes to university students, it’s also the norm to rely on mobile to check on school updates, campus news, and check their student engagement platform for the latest information.

The HubSpot blog also shared that, “Gen Z spends an average of 11 hours on their mobile devices per week.” What traditional student engagement platforms lack is their mobile-first approach. Sure, their platform is mobile-friendly, if students want to use their cell phones to quickly check their platform it does a decent job. But, when searching for your university’s traditional student engagement platform make sure the platform is mobile-first. 

This means the platform is designed for an optimal mobile experience. The platform you select should be built and designed for both Android and iOs users. If students are spending nearly three hours on social media a day and about 11 hours weekly on their phones specifically you’ll want to offer a mobile-first experience that will ensure a positive platform experience no matter what mobile device they opt for. 

3) Build and foster communications with student groups and the wider university community

Traditional student engagement platforms aim to support communications between student groups on campus. But, the student experience is complex. Students meet, interact, and connect with friends all throughout the community campus. From friends from classes, an on-campus job, friends of friends, at events, spontaneous conversations sparked over similar interests, there’s many outlets to make new friends and find your go-to group of people. 

In addition to providing a space built for student group connections, it’s pivotal your student engagement platform supports several virtual opportunities to interconnect students over shared interests. Modern traditional student engagement platforms will enable students to create pages and forums dedicated to students who have similar and shared interests.

By empowering them to create their own pages and forums enables deep shared connections such as LGBTQIA+, religious and spiritual, or cultural connections. These pages can also engage students over similar hobbies and interests including musicians, book enthusiasts, movie buffs, or anime fans. The possibilities are endless, giving students a way to join conversations and participate at their own pace.

4) Avoid juggling several disparate platforms, accounts, and processes 

As we mentioned earlier, a more dynamic engagement gives your university the ability to not only cover the basics, but in turn mobile capabilities or social interaction. Usually universities have to rely on several platforms to successfully manage all of these features. But, with a modern platform, instead of jumping to all the separate platforms and accounts to operate, use a platform that integrates features and is equipped to handle an array of engagement.

Instead of having to learn and memorize different platforms, assign various team leads to each account, and potentially underutilize platforms you’re investing in, narrow it down into one platform, a space where you can cover your bases, amplify social interactions, and integrate with tools your team would like to connect. Rather than getting lost in the shuffle of all your technology, pick the optimal platform that’ll organize and optimize your experience and student engagement.