#HigherEd: Virtual Reality Check

A few months ago, my colleague Christian Munson wrote a Buzz Bin post about the proven successes of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) for college recruiters. His post details certain universities that are seeing very green ROI on these solutions.

It’s definitely working for them. However, in general across most industries, I’m not convinced VR and AR are “here to stay” quite yet. I’m here to ask a few questions about their effectiveness specifically in higher education.

Are these technologies making an impact in higher education instruction? Most certainly. In the classroom, there’s talk about immersive experiences transforming the way we teach and learn – particularly in fields like health care and even art history.

Is it right for higher education recruiters and marketers, though? I’m not so convinced that the answer is always yes. Of course, VR and AR solutions are a creative and engaging way to tell stories to a younger audience. But getting immersed in the idea that VR and AR is a golden ticket could be a major waste of resources.

If your admissions page, social media profiles and campus tour app (you do have an app for students taking campus tours, right?) aren’t already standing out, perhaps you should consider dedicating resources here before you consider a fancy new VR/AR experience.

There are a few critical questions to consider: Who are the users? What problem are we solving for? What’s their need? What’s the desired outcome?

When it comes to digital solutions in higher education recruitment, the end goal should be to solve for the prospective student’s greatest pain (or pains). Click To Tweet

When it comes to digital solutions in higher education recruitment, the end goal should be to solve for the prospective student’s greatest pain (or pains). Start with building a smart customer journey map.

Joel Erb, our senior director for digital growth, has this to say about a customer journey map for digital solutions in higher education:

“Always consider the full lifecycle of your user’s journey. Focus not just on how they use a particular digital touchpoint, but from awareness that they need it, to engagement and post engagement. In the end, you want to create an experience that doesn’t end but becomes cyclical to maintain engagement, growing the bonds between you and your users. Finally, ensure that as part of any digital touchpoint, it’s an extension of your brand, and needs to reflect what it’s like to be part of your University.”

At this point in the year recruitment and admissions are starting to look at the numbers. Can digital play an important part in boosting them? Most certainly – if the important questions are asked and discovered pain points are addressed.

Avoid getting blinded by the bright shiny object. Otherwise, you’ll build something pretty that nobody is going to use.

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