The story of digital transformation in higher education is one of trust and perception.
Most conversations about digital transformation involve things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented/virtual reality, facial recognition, 5G, internet of things (IoT), and quantum computing. In higher education, figuring out which technologies can have maximum impact for students and staff is the ultimate goal.
However, adoption of new technologies in higher education can be a slow process. Sometimes there’s a lack of trust, driven by perception, that acts as a roadblock to success. Plus, there’s usually a fair amount of skepticism that can erode trust which leads to a circular loop of questions like: “Will this technology do what’s been promised?” “Will we actually be more efficient?” Will we lose our jobs?” “Will we have enough time to do this?” “How will this tech actually change things?”
These are important questions as long as they don’t act as anchors against valuable change. And, it’s usually perception that influences whether or not skeptical questions turn into barriers to implementation. So how do you get to a point where you can ‘trust the tech?’
In my role with GeckoEngage, my job is to provide thoughts on how to move past organizational skepticism (on chatbots in particular) and get university leaders to understand how what’s perceived as futuristic or an add-on is actually a right now, always-on, game-changing technology that enhances the student experience.
The similarities of getting people to understand the value of chatbots in higher education remind me of what it was like when I spent a decade emphasizing the value of social media: The tech might change, but the issues around trust and perception are familiar and consistent.
For example, I recently read a series of tweets about how admissions staffers have high rates of burnout and turnover. One potential ‘future’ solution was suggested: