Research into higher-ed trends reveals changing definitions of success in higher education towards student well-being, career preparation.

Is your institution tracking these 6 global trends?


Research reveals changing definitions of success in higher education towards student well-being, career preparation

2. Institutions need to think beyond the lecture.
While students still primarily define “success” as academic achievement, faculty and administrators are looking for ways to support the whole student, with psychological well-being and access to mental health positively impacting student engagement. 

  • 50% of institutions surveyed in 2021 offer in-person or virtual counseling services, 33% hold campus well-being events and 24% utilize mental health apps
  • Compared to last year, 2021 respondents were more likely to agree that student success is much more than grades or marks, 80% vs. 75%

3. Faculty-student engagement is critical—whether in person or through technology.
Student success today requires availability of technology resources, as well as engaging content and instruction from technology-proficient faculty.

  • The top four academic factors driving student success cited by both students and administrators are quality of faculty (91%), engaging content/instruction (90%), and available technology and hands-on instruction (both 89%)
  • 71% of all respondents felt the institution’s Learning Management System (LMS) positively impacts student engagement in classes and lectures

4. Online learning needs to be intentionally designed.
As future uncertainty remains and hybrid learning becomes the new norm, creating meaningful, interactive experiences between faculty and students, and connecting students with one another will be critical for hybrid and remote courses alike.

  • For students in 2021, the preference for online learning decreased slightly from last year (50% vs. 47%), as did a positive opinion toward online learning (50% vs. 46%)
  • NORAM faculty are most likely to have access to professional development opportunities for new technology training, at 60%

5. Socioeconomic disparities impact engagement.
Levels of income and access to learning resources and technology tools continue to leave some students behind, greatly impacting how engaged students are in their educational experience.

  • 79% of respondents reported that household income has a moderate or major impact on student engagement
  • Only 6% of students from self-identified lower economic homes said it was very easy to stay engaged

6. The democratization of education begins with equitable access.
Internet connectivity is imperative, but access to technology means more than just providing devices and connectivity to students.

  • The top two 2021 socioeconomic factors that drive student success are access to the internet (92%) and psychological well-being (91%)

Laura Ascione