Increase Student Engagement with Personalized Mobile Experiences

Submitted by on Wed, 09/23/15


Colleges and universities that provide truly great mobile experiences that increase student engagement tailor their mobile apps to their many different users – prospective students, current students, faculty and staff, and those at campuses around the country or globe. Establishing different Persona or Location-versions of a campus app keeps users engaged because they access only the most relevant information for their particular needs.

However, until recently it was difficult to create a distinct mobile experience for different users of an app based on who they are and where they are located. Creating personalized mobile experiences typically required either separate apps or extensive programming by developers at significant costs. Luckily today, with minimal IT resources, colleges and universities can quickly and easily create one app, with centralized data and branding, that seamlessly provides the specific information that each user requires.

Different campus groups need access to different sets of features from their mobile app. For example, prospective students should have access to admissions information, while current students need access to the registrar, course catalog, and resource availability, like laundry machines. Faculty and staff have an entirely different set of needs, such as HR and benefits information, and Alumni may want to know about Homecoming and how to donate. In lieu of a single app experience with admissions, laundry, HR, and donation features available to everyone, providing a personalized mobile experience based on Persona means users are only met with features and information they need, ensuring an actionable, easy to navigate mobile experience.

Furthermore, using specific Personas allows you to send push notifications to the relevant group only. Admissions deadline approaching? Alert prospective students. Spring course catalog available? Alert current students.

Just as your campus app can be personalized based on Persona, you can also create separate experiences based on a user’s location. Locations settings in an app can be automatically set using geolocation data or can be selected manually.

In the university setting, schools with different campuses or programs around the world can unite their users with a central app while still providing location-specific information for each campus location. Local events, maps, dining options, and shuttle schedules are just a few of the campus app features that can be personalized based on Location-version. Georgetown University has three Location-versions of its central campus app – the main campus in Washington D.C., the Georgetown Law School campus, also in D.C., and their School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Each version shares a common framework, but provides information relevant for each campus.  Students traveling between the different campuses only need to download one app, yet can quickly and easily access only the information they need.

Also like Personas, push notifications can be sent to specific Location-versions. If one campus is closed due to weather, you can alert that campus only. If a major event is taking place in one location, you can send a notification just to those users.

Central Management, Local Maintenance
Today’s technology makes it easy to create apps with different Personas and Locations, without requiring a major development project. Colleges and universities can quickly deploy various editions_georgetown_home_250personalized versions of their central campus app. All of the back-end data sources are singular and centrally managed. Yet the Persona or Location-specific information can also be managed, or updated and maintained by local teams.

Campus mobile apps for higher ed institutions are a great tool to engage and communicate with students and faculty but in many cases, a one-size app does not fit all. Luckily, new technology makes creating a personalized mobile experience and engaging students where they are easier than ever.


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