Interesting Reads This Week

It's all about the student lifecycle

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It has been a week of flurries for me: snow flurries, flurries of activity and flurries of articles (and podcasts). But which of those articles (and podcasts) did I find interesting?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Meaning that it’s coming up on top trends and gift guide season, but more about the gift guides in a future post. I have a soft spot for top trends lists given that, for my last few years at Gartner, the Top Business Trends and Top Technology Trends in Higher Education were my babies.

But the two lists I found interesting this week weren’t explicitly focused on education, though they have some interesting things to tell those of us who are (h/t to Benedict Evans). The first is the annual Technology & Media Outlook from Activate Consulting which looks at technology and media use across a wide range of activities. I find their activity clock useful as a way of understanding how people are using media (it adds up to more than 24 hours because of multi-tasking).

My first observation is that the measly 5.21 hours spent per day on video is an obvious sign that the folks they survey don’t watch cricket! That’s barely part of an inning. The second is that many in higher education will look at this graphic and conclude that we need more video in online courses. On one level that may be right, but unfortunately in a lot of higher ed contexts video is not being used creatively. The videos may be short, but many of them are transpositions of boring content presentation in a short video format. Finally, I found their emphasis on the importance of super users interesting, and an intriguing challenge about reaching folks in the middle-to-trailing end of the normal distribution.

The second trends piece is the Accenture Life Trends 2024 list, which is really an extended riff on the problems ensuing from not enough of a focus on the customer experience. Do a little translation in your head from customer to student, and this should be required reading for everyone in higher ed and the vendors that serve that market.

A significant win for Anthology/Blackboard Learn Ultra

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