By Michael Horn, Clayton Christensen Institute and Intellus Learning, taken from eCampus News.
Don’t Be a One-Size-Fits-None Institution
Different students attend higher education for different reasons. Understanding a student’s “Job to be Done”— the reason people “hire” products or services in a given situation—in partaking in postsecondary education is critical to helping students stay on track for graduation.
The reason why is if a college doesn’t understand what a student is trying to accomplish, then it doesn’t know what experiences it needs to provide during the application process through graduation. And if it doesn’t understand what these necessary experiences are, then it is likely to integrate the elements of its enterprise in ways that are irrelevant to what students are trying to accomplish.
One of the core reasons many students struggle at certain colleges and universities is that these institutions have historically tried to cater to lots of people with lots of different jobs in an effort to be all things to all people. As a result, they aren’t structured in a way that is optimized for any particular Job and often become a “one-size-fits-none” institution.
Once a college understands the Job that its students are trying to do, it can organize around the experiences necessary to get that Job done by stitching together the right resources in the right way. This extends from creating academic programs tailored to students’ Jobs to optimizing the learning experiences within those academic programs, and from building the proper physical spaces to optimizing a student’s social supports.
Tools are emerging to help colleges affordably create these experiences. Colleges can use Intellus Learning to help faculty members choose content that is optimized for each student. Noodle Partners can help schools customize their online offerings. Emerging learning relationship management systems like Fidelis Education and Motivis can surround students with mentors and coaches to support them through college and into their careers. And Civitas Learning harnesses data to help colleges provide the right supports at the right time for the right student.
It’s early in this revolution, but understanding the Job is increasingly allowing institutions to use a range of tools to optimize a student’s experience and realize success.
Michael B. Horn is co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute. He is an advisor to Intellus Learning and serves on the board of directors of Fidelis Education.