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Student Journey Mapping: Purpose and Advantages

Student Journey Mapping: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to enter a learner’s mind and observe their whole interaction with your instructional materials from their point of view? You may see their reactions when they learn about a program, sign up, take part, and put what they’ve learned to use at the office. Learner path mapping is a concept that seems like science fiction from the distant future yet is currently largely realizable.

Mapping a learner’s path from program awareness to registration, from pre-course preparation to evaluation, and beyond, is a process that results in a visual depiction.

By putting your team in the learner’s position, you can better grasp their needs, perceptions, and emotions as well as the elements that enhance or lessen their experience. This is the purpose of journey mapping. Discussions and insights on needs, problems, and chances for progress are sparked by this practice.

Customer journey (or experience) mapping has been around for a while, but associations haven’t used it all that much. However, training/learning and development (L&D) experts employ learner journey mapping in organizations. In their scenario, students are employees, and the entire journey typically occurs inside the business.

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What is Student Journey Mapping?

Analyzing the student experience (or a particular portion of it) through the method of student journey mapping entails gathering information directly from students. Campus administrators are given the opportunity to gain insightful perspectives from the viewpoint of their primary audience.

Student Journey Mapping
Student Journey Mapping

Benefits of Student Journey Mapping

You must change your perspective from inside-out to outside-in while using learner journey mapping. Typically, you push information, goods, and services toward your target market and audience. By requiring you to adopt an outside perspective, journey mapping reverses this situation and enables you to develop empathy and understanding for your education consumers.

This comprehension produces insight and a more grounded perspective on your current programs. You discover what actually works and what doesn’t. You identify the factors that have a favorable and negative impact on student learning.

You can address problems at their source with the use of journey mapping. You can find that certain procedures or rules are impeding your ability to make a purchase or learn something new. Or you can find out that you’re not giving your buyers the knowledge they need to decide what to buy, or your students the circumstances they require to build relationships with one another. The exercise might produce data that will support your argument for modifying procedures and practices.

Through this practice, you can find ways to enhance the entire learning process, from discovering programs to using abilities. You may create a learning experience that is both educationally and emotionally satisfying. A student is more likely to retain what they’ve learned, stick with you as a customer, and recommend others to your programs when you appeal to their emotional needs.

Student Journey Mapping
Student Journey Mapping

Application & 4 Crucial Elements of Student Journey Mapping

Consider your student personas, important touchpoints, frequent pain spots, queries and objectives, as well as growing concerns affecting the decision-making process before beginning your student journey mapping project.

1. Personas of students

To direct your efforts, you must first develop thoughtful, data-supported student personas before mapping the student journey.

It is vital to take into account each of their trips separately because there are numerous various student kinds that your college or university may attract. In the course of the admissions process, each persona is probably going to interact with your business in a unique way.

An adult learner seeking a graduate degree, for instance, might spend more time researching your programs on your website, whereas a first-time student may first engage with your institution’s social media platforms. In addition, overseas students’ experiences differ greatly from those of their domestic counterparts, necessitating communications tailored to their requirements and inquiries throughout the procedure.

Together, your student personas and student journey maps should present a complete picture of your prospective students and show how you can provide them with a worthwhile experience at each level of the enrollment funnel.

2. Touchpoints

Determine each of the touchpoints between the student and your school at each stage of the process after developing the persona for which you’d like to map the student experience.

Every connection a potential student has with your school counts as one of these touchpoints. To name a few, but not all of them:

  • Going to your website
  • Downloading your articles provides
  • Enrolling in your newsletter
  • Going to college fairs where you can be seen
  • Using your social media accounts to communicate
  • Seeing your sponsored search or social media adverts
  • Receiving email communications
  • Conversing with an admissions representative
  • Making plans to visit a campus
  • Taking part in informational sessions
  • Application submission even more

Look for areas or chances to improve your communication as you follow a potential student from one touchpoint to the next in order to better meet their requirements and develop the relationship.

3. Common Problems, Questions, and Goals

Consider the typical concerns, queries, and goals that the prospective student is likely to have at each touchpoint along the way to better understand the efficacy of your interactions and spot improvements.

Your interactions with potential students should be centered on building rapport and trust in order to increase their likelihood of submitting an application and subsequently enrolling at your institution. You must take care of their problems and respond to their inquiries in order to achieve this successfully.

Put yourself in the prospective student’s situation, for instance, if visiting your website is a key point of contact between your institution and them.

  • What obstacles do they have that might keep them from acting?
  • What are they hoping to accomplish by going to a certain page?
  • When they visit this page, what queries are they most likely to have?

Next, think about how each of the aforementioned questions is covered in your correspondence. Does the website assist them in achieving their goals? Is there information on the website that clarifies their main concerns or removes obstacles to taking further action?

Email is another illustration of a significant touchpoint. Think about the possible responses to an email from your school from prospective students.

  • Did they do something to cause this email to be sent? Do they understand the purpose behind obtaining it, in other words?
  • How does this communication advance relationships, provide value, or address a particular issue?

You may identify where you are successfully adding value along the journey by taking an inventory of your touchpoints in the context of the potential students’ pain points, questions, and objections.

4. New Issues and Current Affairs

A difficult year for the education sector, 2020 is likely to have a long-term impact on how students make decisions.

To safeguard the campus community and stop the spread of COVID-19, several colleges and institutions switched to entirely online instruction in a couple of days. It is still unclear at this point whether on-ground instruction will resume in the fall or if long-term changes will be required as the situation develops.

Current and prospective students are making crucial decisions about their educational paths in light of these difficulties. Approximately 8% of high school seniors are no longer planning to enroll in a full-time bachelor’s degree program in the fall, according to a recent Mckinsey & Company study. A equal amount of students who had initially intended to enroll in a part-time, two-year program, or not enroll at all are now choosing to enroll, offsetting this trend.

Despite the fact that this study suggests that overall enrolment may remain stable, the sorts of students enrolling and their attitudes may significantly change.

The same study also discovered that almost one-fifth of the children assessed had switched to a different school since January 2020. The location (30%) and cost of attendance (44%) are the main drivers of these changes, but other elements like the COVID-19 threat (26%) and concerns about job prospects after graduation (18%) as well as worries about the caliber of distance learning (%) also had an impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s long-term implications are still unknown, but it is certain that the difficulties it has created have had a big immediate impact on higher education.

This is only one illustration of how current events influence students’ opinions and decision-making. When mapping the student journey, it is crucial to take these obstacles—as well as others—into account in order to authentically reflect new students’ experiences and spot chances to enhance results.

Student Journey Mapping
Student Journey Mapping

Frequently Asked Questions

What is student journey mapping?

A graphic representation of each step a student takes both before and after enrolling in college is called a student path map.

What does journey mapping aim to accomplish?

The goal of mapping the student experience is to better understand the processes that students go through while guaranteeing uniformity and a streamlined experience at all touchpoints and across all mediums.

What distinguishes a process map from a journey map?

A process map uses a view of the world as a production line to understand how a process operates and pinpoint potential areas for improvement. A journey map, on the other hand, records a person's or a group's experience as they pass through a certain system or process.

Is journey mapping a research?

The primary method for conducting journey mapping is qualitative research. Particularly for student journey mapping, it necessitates the participation of both users and important stakeholders within the organization.

The Conclusion

We recommend three factors for any school planning to create and use student journey mapping to enhance the educational experience:

  • Put the students at the forefront of the initiative: Positioning students at the core of the initiative will help to improve the caliber of their interactions with the institution. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that any school starting a process of mapping students’ journeys first acknowledges that not all kids are the same and that they will have varied experiences with comparable interactions. For instance, creating student personas might be a useful method to identify various student types and track their progress over time.
  • Gather institutional stakeholders: Some institutional maps appear to be specialized, focusing on just one component of the student journey (admissions, for instance). The difficulty in bringing together stakeholders from many departments, including as admissions, facilities, teaching and learning, and student support, may also be shown by narrow journey maps. Thinking through all the various points of contact between a school and its students will be necessary in order to create a journey map that covers the whole student journey, as will involving representatives from each point of contact.
  • Identify critical performance indicators for success measurement: It is crucial to create measures through which institutional leaders may evaluate the student journey map’s effectiveness in assisting them in providing that high-quality experience. The worry is that the student journey map will become a “point in time” artifact that does not assist institutions in pinpointing the precise areas where they may enhance the student experience without a review of data.

An excellent exercise to help you better understand the experiences potential students had before deciding to apply to and enroll at your institution or university is to map out their educational journey. Additionally, it will clarify your position in the process and inspire ideas for how to better address the needs of the potential student, enabling you to work toward your enrollment objectives quickly and successfully.

It will probably require more than one pass to adequately capture the intricacies at play, so keep in mind that mapping the student experience should be an iterative process. Keep reviewing the student experience, keeping an eye out for new influences, and searching for ways to enhance your marketing tactics.

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