In any large institution or organization, programmatic change is often met with resistance. And this is especially true in the tradition-oriented higher education world—and especially when the proposed change is adoption of a new technology platform. This may come from fear of how new systems will impact everything from day-to-day work to policies and procedures to jobs, themselves. Resistance may also be rooted in inertia—after all, learning a new system or process adds more items to already-packed to-do lists. So if the status quo is working, more or less, why take the time to do something different?
However, we also know that technology can be a powerful catalyst for improvement in higher-ed institutions. From streamlining administrative processes to give professors more time and energy to focus on instruction to personalizing material to improve student engagement, the right technology can make an enormous impact.
So the question is, how can change drivers within higher education institutions “grease the wheels,” so to speak, to minimize resistance and streamline application of game-changing technologies?
3 Ways to Pave the Way for Technology Adoption in Higher Ed
1. Anticipate and Proactively Address Concerns
The first key to getting buy-in from faculty and staff (and even students) is to anticipate and proactively address their concerns, demonstrating that this adoption has been well thought out and is expected to have a positive impact on everyone involved.
For faculty and staff who may be concerned that new tech is a threat to their jobs, this means clarifying the ways the selected platform complements—rather than overshadows—the work they do. For example, our communication analytics platform doesn’t replace teaching, but it does empower professors to tailor their lesson plans to each group’s unique needs and provide an opportunity for more personalized feedback and support than professors can give on their own. By allowing professors to reach more students than ever before, both inside and outside of the classroom, this technology empowers them to scale their impact in unprecedented ways.
Reassuring key players that they will remain key players—and showing them how the new system will free up their time and energy to focus on the core elements of their roles—will go a long way in opening the door to adoption.
2. Provide Consistent, Convenient Support
Another source of resistance is the assumption that the new technology platform will be difficult to use, time consuming, and prone to bugs and failures. To alleviate this concern, it’s critical that users are supported through upfront training and ongoing support.
If everyone is comfortable with the system from the get-go, it’s much more likely to be embraced—and used frequently—following adoption. And when the inevitable questions or bugs do arise, easily accessible troubleshooting help will make the difference between moving forward and giving up.
3. Demonstrate ROI
Finally, to preempt skepticism over whether a proposed technology is truly effective or just fancy bells and whistles, it’s important to demonstrate ROI through case studies or, even better, through small-group trials within the institution.
For example, at Quantified Communications, we’ve had the privilege of working with MBA and EMBA programs at top schools across the country, and we’re excited to show new and potential partners some of the measurable, objective results of other engagements. When the decision makers and key players can look through hard evidence of a program’s effectiveness, that makes it much easier to justify the investment and get institutional buy-in.
If your higher-education institution is looking to adopt new technologies designed to optimize administrative processes, improve student engagement, and/or better support faculty, don’t be surprised to be met with resistance. But don’t let that resistance impede real improvement. By demonstrating every step of the way how the new system will integrate into everyday life and drive real, measurable results, you’ll be able to alleviate users’ concerns and pave the way for smooth adoption.