The silence is deafening…no one wants to pay, not the government, not students, and not their families. We have a big task ahead of us to show the value in learning and development. There is value, and we know that but the big challenge is to demonstrate that value to those who are paying for it. The purchasers of higher education are the same as any other consumer, they shop around and they want value for money. So how to we show our funders that there is value in what we do?
Firstly, clearly and concisely explain our products. These are our academic programmes, and they have lovely titles, Master, Bachelors and Diplomas, but it is often less than clear what a student who signs up will get and what they will be able to do upon completion.
Secondly, have an active programme of learning with significant learning experiences for students. Students need to spend time learning new knowledge, practicising their skills and receiving plenty of personal feedback.
Thirdly, support students to learn, develop, grow and perform. Ensure our resources and services support their performance tasks.
Fourthly, evaluate student performance in a range of different ways. Performance can be assessed by teachers, employers, classmates and they can self assess their own performance.
Fifthly, demonstrate our student, teacher, course, and programme acheivements to our stakeholders, the agencies, students, and families who fund and support us.
Sixthly, benchmark ourselves against other providers, and commit to a cycle of continous improvement.
If we are able to easily demonstrate our student achievement and demonstrate what we can do up against our competitors then we will have a more convincing argument for those who are paying for higher education. So set up policies, procedures, processes and systems that support this model.