Student Journey Mapping-Facts Over Intuition

The process of mapping the student journey has been gaining attention in higher education over the past few years as more and more colleges and universities are turning to research to better understand their prospects. The process aims to uncover the thoughts and emotions of students along their academic journey (or a phase of it).

The results of this process should be used to influence so many elements of our strategies and tactics. Here are a few ways Student Journey Mapping is being used to shape digital and the web in higher education.

Web/Mobile Design and Strategy

  • How do our users feel when they arrive to a page?
  • What is their level of frustration?
  • What is their maximum cognitive load?

Content and Email Marketing

  • How can our tone match what students are thinking and feeling at a certain point?
  • What are students worried about and how does our content make them feel better?
  • What types of content will students be interested in?

Social Media

  • What types of questions will we receive from our students?
  • How can we pre-empt those questions with posts?
  • What influences the student decision-making process?

Data and Analytics

  • The conclusions we pull from our data and analytics can be flawed-how do we take qualitative findings to better explain the quantitative results?
  • How can we best understand our survey data and the reason for frequently asked questions?

The Outcome

As a result of this process and its influence on the many elements of what we do, we’re able to improve our administrative processes, not only to be more efficient for the institution, but to be centered around the student. We gain unprecedented insight into the very foundation of our promise-the student experience.

As a follow up to this piece, I am in progress of writing a lengthy article that contains interviews with multiple institutions about their experience with journey mapping and the outcomes they’ve experienced.

By JP Rains, Director of Digital Strategy at Laurentian University and President of Rains Media.