For any new university student, it’s safe to say their first weeks and months in higher education haven’t been quite what they had envisioned. 2020 simply hasn’t been a year anyone envisioned, and this has meant huge challenges for the education system.
There have been big hurdles to overcome and these will continue for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean institutions can’t still provide a high standard of education.
From nurseries all the way up to universities, new protocols have been put in place to keep students, staff, and members of the public safe, and technology has played a big part in this. However, the benefits of technologies such as digital signage and wayfinding aren’t limited to Coronavirus protocol; they can have huge benefits for institutions post-pandemic as well.
Responding to COVID
It’s hard to start an article in 2020 without mentioning COVID. It’s presented one of the biggest challenges to education institutions in decades, and how schools and universities respond to it will have a lasting impact on their success.
Conveying Important Safety Messages
University campuses are particularly under the spotlight because they bring together such a large number of people. With sprawling campuses, it’s important that these institutions can implement strong safety protocols, but most importantly, communicate these protocols effectively with the public.
Government regulation is constantly evolving and universities need to be able to respond quickly and appropriately. To do this, they need effective ways of communicating messages to the large number of people interacting with their campuses. Digital signage is a perfect tool to do this, allowing administrators to update messaging in real-time, and giving people access to the vital information they need.
Guiding Flows of People Through Wayfinding
The beginning of a new school year can be very chaotic. You’ve got potentially thousands of students wandering the campus looking for the right classroom, putting great strain on social distancing procedures.
Ideally, we want to minimize social interactions and one of the ways we can do this is by making sure people get from point A to point B in the most efficient way. Digital signage with Wayfinding technology allows people to see exactly where they are on a map and get clear guidance to the destination.
This can all be done through voice control, meaning people aren’t having to touch a screen or speak with a staff member to get the information they need.
Universities have limited resources at the best of the times, but COVID is putting an even greater squeeze on things. Places like the library are vital resources to students, but with social distancing restrictions in place, they have limited capacity.
Digital signage can allow students to book slots for precious resources such as the library, and gym, allowing institutions to better manage capacity. Everyone needs to be able to access these precious resources, and a booking system through digital signage can help make sure everyone has equal access.
Students understand that resources have been stretched by social regulations, but they still need a convenient way to access essential aspects of their education.
Not Just a Solution for COVID
Digital signage and wayfinding aren’t just solutions that can help schools and universities to overcome COVID; they can play an important part in making the campus experience better long after COVID has gone.
Competition for Students
There’s a huge level of competition to get students to commit to a university. Students these days have a huge amount of choice when it comes to choosing where to study, and this means small details can make a big difference.
Universities need students to bring the money in, so little details such as a student feeling comfortable on their campus visit because they have access to wayfinding is important. You might be making an upfront investment in this technology, but it pays for itself by helping to boost revenues.
The student experience is one of the most critical aspects modern-day students look at when they’re choosing a university. There are so many rankings and different metrics that are used to judge these things, and it’s something universities need to constantly work on.
Digital signage can make a tangible difference to the student experience, particularly for those people who are new to campus. The fact that you have an easy way to get directions, the ability to quickly report an emergency, and get vital updates makes people feel safe and connected with their campus.
Those campuses that continue to invest in the student experience will find they’re rewarded with greater enrolment. COVID might be the big issue at the moment, but enrolment is always going to be an overriding consideration for universities.
Digital signage and wayfinding can help educational institutions overcome the difficulties that COVID currently presents, but they can also offer huge benefits post-pandemic.
University campuses can be daunting places for both students and visitors, but with easily accessible wayfinding you make your campus feel much more accessible. It also allows you to better control flows of people while social restrictions are in place and make sure that everyone’s aware of your safety protocols.
At Meridian, we’re here to help your business navigate through the COVID restrictions and thrive long after they’re gone. Get in contact to find out how our bespoke products can help your educational institution.