Education technology is providing post-secondary institutions with more intuitive ways to capture and use data to support students. Traditionally, most post-secondary institutions subscribe to a number of products for data collection and scheduling; however, many of these programs are not compatible with each other so the data are often inaccessible to academic advisors. Fortunately, in 2015 the education technology market saw an unprecedented number of products merging both analytics and workflow processes. This signals a positive change for educational technology and provides institutions with the holistic tools they need to proactively monitor and engage with at-risk students.

Post-secondary institutions in the United States spend between 5-12% of their annual budgets on student services. Despite this significant investment, on-time student graduation and retention rates have not improved over the past 10 years. The data is available but academic advisors have been unable to access or integrate them into their daily workflow.

In the past year however, some educational technology leaders have introduced more holistic and accessible data collection products. The resulting technology has made predictive analytics much easier for advisors to leverage.

For example, Colorado State University is using the new integrated technology to provide more proactive support for students by improving communication and involving them in academic planning. In the past year, Colorado State has improved their retention rates from 82% to 86%, and increased graduate rates from 62% to 66%; they are just one of the institutions across the United States who has experienced similar results by leveraging the new holistic technology.

Educational technology is adapting to the needs of higher education and the result is immensely beneficial to both students and institutions. The precedent set by educational technology in the past year may destabilize the current silo model and establish horizontally-integrated programs as the industry standard.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also board member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and contributes as a communications researcher with McMaster University.