Part 3 – Looking to the future with certainty at an uncertain time

In part one of our blog series we looked at the changes to technology over the past few decades and how through much of this period Tribal have successfully navigated these decades introducing solutions and products that harness some of technology we highlighted to improve efficiency and the student experience.

In part two as the pace of innovation and new technology increases, we highlighted how many processes and interactions have become digital placing greater demands and expectations upon education institutions. As a result, the tools, technology and systems needed by education institutions today are changing.

In part three we ask, what does the future hold? What can we do to continue that transformation, the use of data, yet help with the pitfalls of data abuse, bullying and the challenging issues of declining mental health?

As you might expect there is a lot of innovative technology been developed, making its way into everyday use and application. Here is just a small sample of what we can expect over the next 5 to 10 years.

Technology to Empower Education - future

But how can you navigate and understand what technology is the best to harness and integrate into your solutions to drive efficiency, and improve the experience? How can you be certain it’s the right one?

We know that you expect us to help with bringing the best technologies to you in a way that enables you to deliver real benefits to your organisations. We have been conducting some of the most extensive and in-depth research across our customer base to understand your challenges and where you want to take your institutions. We are also working with a growing number of partners to ensure that can make the most of their innovations and ideas.

In particular, we are looking at Tribal Edge as a key investment that not only looks to use a selection of these new technologies to bring some of the many promised benefits, but also to provide an open platform for connecting solutions from many other suppliers.

So let’s look at just a few of those technologies and what we are doing with them.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

What do we mean by AI and ML. These are systems that analyse large amounts of data beyond simple algorithms. They are taught to identify and classify input patterns, probabilistically predict, and are able to come up with unanticipated results. How can AI help you?

Let’s look at the results from a recent project using Tribal Edge Student Insight. A data model was created within Student Insight by combining data from a University’s student information system with other student data such as their attendance records and how often they accessed online learning systems. This allowed Student Insight to identify patterns in the student data to forecast which students were most likely to be non-returners after their first year of study.

The results – From over 9,000 students, Student Insight identified a list of 652 students who were likely to be non-returners, 517 of these predictions were correct withdrawing before coming back for their second year. Taking into account the predicted returners as well, we had an overall accuracy rate of 97%. This was done after just four weeks of the first term.

Think how useful that information would be for you.

With this data student support teams can intervene with students much earlier in the academic year. Student Insight can help support teams by estimating levels of risk on a weekly basis, identifying relevant changes, and highlighting specific risk factors to help shape the intervention.

There are many other applications of AI and ML for example:

  • Predicting outcomes. Identifying students that are likely to achieve a degree with a classification of 2:1 or 1st Class or enable staff to track student cohorts against goals to add value.
  • Early identification of students requiring support. A student’s activity, demographics and background as well as data about their course and module selection can be predictive very early on in a term, to help identify cohorts that might need additional support to be put in place.
  • Reducing financial burden on students who defer their course. If students at high risk of withdrawal can be identified before a deadline to pay tuition fees, they can reduce their liability to the Student Loan Company by rescheduling their studies earlier.
  • Nudge Technology. Combing insights with conversational interfaces and well-established communication channels such as mobile apps to keep students engaged.

You can find out more about how we are integrating this into Tribal Edge by watching the following video from our Empower Conference.

Design Thinking

What is design thinking? It is a process used to improve the design of everything from business software to consumer products and services. It is a creative process starting with empathy for users and the gathering of insight into their needs and motivations. It is about recognising that business ecosystems are central to design. It focuses on services and experiences, often mediated by technologies and channels. Students reside within service ecosystems that must interact smoothly. And the services that they experience must be supported by people, processes and core technologies.

As we build Tribal Edge, we are thinking about this. Firstly, we are thinking about how you will use the software every day. We are reducing the number of clicks it takes and the number of screens you must pull up to check information into a more efficient intuitive process. Secondly, we are creating an ecosystem that allows you to connect and integrate the services and solutions you need in your ecosystem to ensure that students get a great experience.

You can find out more about how we are using this approach in the design and development of Tribal Edge by watching the following videos from our Empower Conference.

Saas SIS

What is SaaS SIS? It stands for Software as a Service for Student Information Systems. This is software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by a provider, based on a single set of common code and consumed in a one-to-many model by all customers at any time, on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription.

SaaS isn’t a new delivery model for the education market, many HR and finance applications are already delivered in this way. However, delivering the Student Information System as a native SaaS solution is something new.

Many institutions with on-premises SIS modules are finding themselves increasingly weighed down and constricted by the demands of maintaining on-premises solutions. A SaaS model can offer a more predictable total cost of ownership (TCO), while affording more agility and innovation to meet changing student service expectations. A SaaS model typically requires adoption of standard business practices (implemented by configuration, not customization, of the software) but, in return, provides new capabilities more frequently, at least several times per year. Finally, SaaS solutions offer an improved user experience, often putting staff and students in the centre of the experience and are based on a more modern technology architecture, and have native mobile, social and CRM functionalities.

In developing Tribal Edge, we have built a strong foundation in Microsoft Azure using the latest tools and services to deliver a SaaS SIS for you.

You can find out more about what we have built and our plans for the future by watching the following video from our Empower Conference.



Facing the future with certainty

We want to help you face the future with certainty. As we begin the 2020s we expect to see next generation student information systems come to market, artificial intelligence and machine learning to change the way we process data, and processing and access speeds increase dramatically providing the bandwidth and power needed for these new technologies.

We will continue to work with our customers to ensure we deliver systems that are convenient for staff and students, we integrate new and emerging technologies to help you communicate in a safe and secure way, make more informed data driven decisions, become more efficient and improve the experience, and we provide the tools and services so students and staff can collaborate in new ways and discover new things.

Get early access or become an early adopter