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Leveraging Self-Service Solutions to Optimize Remote Learning

Denis Kovalchuk

Head of Compliance Training Solutions, EPAM
Blog
  • Business Information Services

As the world continues to cope with the new normal due to COVID-19, many educational institutions are faced with numerous questions about the start of the new school year. Fall 2020 will bring the first-ever start of a distance-learning year at some primary and secondary schools and universities, while others will offer blended options to their students. Remote learning will be integrated to some extent in all educational institutions.

In addition to the rising technological needs of faculty, administration and students that naturally come with the start of a new year, schools should expect to see an increased load on their systems as more institutions rely on online learning and displaced workers look to upskilling opportunities due to rising unemployment rates. Educational institutions and technology providers not only need to prepare for increased demand but also for the onboarding of students, faculty and staff onto new digital learning systems – remotely.

With these trends, EdTech firms are already expecting a higher load for support specialists and have hired call centers to cope with demand as EdTech organizations will not be allowed to send employees onsite to troubleshoot and onboard on the first day of class. To reduce the stress and costs associated with helpdesk and call centers, educational technology providers need to focus on providing users with a thoughtful digital adoption roadmap and user-friendly, self-service solutions. The educational industry can no longer afford to rely on legacy systems to deal with the influx of online learning: it’s time for these companies to rethink their existing processes and reinvent the tools to effectively handle the new normal.

ONBOARDING AND CUSTOMER SUPPORT VIA SELF-SERVICE AND DIGITAL ADOPTION

Self-service—any activity where customers interact with a system on their own without assistance and can solve their own problems—is vital to ensuring learner success and satisfaction as technology demands continue to grow. By successfully troubleshooting their own issues, users are able to leverage digital tools appropriately and to the fullest extent possible.

The key characteristics of successful digital adoption are:

  • Excellent initial onboarding: Users are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to start utilizing the product’s basic functionality. Learners receive an interactive, step-by-step walkthrough of the product or participate in an automated role-based e-learning training.
  • Proactive, on-demand self-service support: Users receive in-context microlearning—or embedded, context-based training suggestions—and in-app chatbot support, which may include questions and answers with training recommendations.
  • Ongoing training on new and advanced features: Learners are trained on enhancements, functionality changes, advanced features and tips and tricks.

As more and more learners move through the digital adoption process, the demand for helpdesks and IT support decreases and becomes more manageable for EdTech companies.

SELF-SERVICE USER SUPPORT MODEL

In the current end-user support model, when users require help, they might be directed to search through a support portal or some other knowledgebase of articles. When they are unable to find the answers they are looking for, often they have to create a ticket, work with a specialist in a one-on-one session or ask a friend for help, leading to an overloaded support queue and frustration. According to a recent report by Microsoft, users want to get informative, relevant, complete, quick answers to their questions upon their first contact. They prefer to utilize self-service to understand how to use the system by themselves.

When thinking about developing a self-service model for EdTech, companies need to ensure solutions are comprehensive and provide multiple points of entry to provide a seamless experience for learners. An ideal self-service model is comprised of several components, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) support facilitator: The support facilitator can resolve routine issues or recommend other self-service resources, like microlearning modules and in-product step-by-step guides – which are often easier to digest than support portal articles.
  • In-line clues and tips: These visual starting points help learners find relevant microlearning and step-by-step guides.
  • Microlearning: Easily digestible training modules, like short how-to videos, provide support for end users.
  • Step-by-step guides: These guides are integrated into products and delivered through a sequence of tip balloons, eliminating the need to leave the product screen to watch tutorials or read manuals.

Once your EdTech company has carefully considered all these components and successfully implemented an effective self-service solution, there are numerous benefits your organization can achieve:

  • Load optimization for support desks: By implementing self-service solutions, the number of basic repetitive requests and "how-to/what-is"-type of support tickets is reduced. This ensures that customer service specialists’ time is reserved for more complex requests, where they can have the most impact.
  • Reduced costs: By enabling learners to find answers to their questions via self-service, your organization can better manage the strain on your team size to optimize your budget. Additionally, companies can reduce new user onboarding costs and time to gain productivity.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: The ability to receive just-in-time answers and on-demand training reduces end-user frustration and increases satisfaction. By eliminating the need to call or email, learners can control their own experience and increase their efficiency with the tool.

Often, working with a trusted technology partner is the best place to start in creating a self-service solution and accompanying digital roadmap for your educational organization – namely, a partner who understands the EdTech landscape, as well as the technology needs required to effectively transition to remote working models. Together, you can rethink your existing processes and optimize new self-service tools to navigate the rapidly changing market and advance your learning system support capabilities.

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