Can colleges meet students’ preference for digital communication?

Many campuses should improve digital communication with students, experts say.

The effective delivery of information is important in almost any environment. No matter the setting – corporate, health care, or a university – poor communication can lead to unintended and potentially dangerous outcomes. Because of the unique requirements of a university, the need to communicate successfully through effective information delivery can become critical.

Whether a routine matter, such as a sporting event; an important concern, such as class registration; or a critical instance, such as a campus emergency, understanding the most effective and timely manner in which to relay messages to students is an issue worthy of investigation.

In addition, as new and emerging digital technologies are embraced in higher education, their position within the communication mix introduces added intricacies. Of particular interest is the emerging technology of digital communication networks (DCN, also referred to as Digital Signage).

The Platt Retail Institute, in conjunction with its affiliate, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, recently released its research report titled “Communication Effectiveness in Higher Education.”

We found that students prefer to receive information through newer digital media channels including text messages, digital signage, eMail, and a school’s website. Fully 97 percent of students responded that they prefer to receive information via digital channels, rather than from a non-digital source.

Students indicated that digital channels are effective for communicating school-related messages. Another   noteworthy finding is that universities continue to use various older, less effective mass media delivery channels such as radio and television.