The Online Distance Learning series – process


Welcome to the next instalment in our Online Distance Learning (ODL) blogs, where we’ll be looking into each part of our recent national research project. This research provides a comprehensive overview of ODL in the UK and the findings (from our panel of 3,500) highlight key areas of focus across the entirety of the student journey. Our original blog and link to white paper can be found here.

In this blog series, we’ll cover what we found and what this information means. From our national report, we mapped our research against the 7Ps of the marketing mix and each of our blogs in this series will focus on one of the Ps.

Here we’ll be focusing on Process. When we talk about the process, we look into the journey a student takes from discovering the institution to their first day, and all the steps in between.

Some of the students we surveyed hadn’t finished their applications, nor experienced online learning, but their experiences are still mainly positive. However, when it comes to the messages they receive and the help they get, messages before, during and after application could be improved. In order to manage expectations, ease the onboarding process and help students achieve success in their studies, the messages communicated about what’s involved need to be clearer.

As the online learning market keeps growing, making sure that institutions are providing excellent experiences, for their current students and active prospects, will be crucial. If done right, this will have a significant positive impact on all future students’ perceptions around the online course, and the institution itself. One way to do this is by establishing supporters and advocates with early adopters, so they can help to influence the market early on. With their help, you can create trusted and influential content around your university, such as testimonials, reviews, events and endorsements. So, the key to improving your process is looking at your communications.

This is a just brief snapshot of the comprehensive insight you’ll get from the rest of this series, as our report takes a thorough look at each of the 7Ps and dissects them. If you’d like to learn more about our ODL report, you can download the white paper here.