Learning in the online environment has come to learners with unprecedented abilities. However, it is also a recognized fact that an absolute eLearning scenario is yet to come. A majority of educational institutions are still untouched with the eLearning capabilities. In fact, many of them are not completely untouched.
Instead, a hybrid concept is being seen in many institutions - blended learning. The concept of smearing eLearning methodologies in physical classrooms is becoming rapidly popular, as it is equipping teachers with easygoing ways to improve students' performance. This article aims at explaining how push notifications can be used in this hybrid scenario to improve the overall performance of the students.
Related article: Emerging Trends in Educational Technology
Ways to blend push notifications with regular learning
What is push notifications in Ed-tech? Push notifications are the easiest way to adopt some non-traditional yet competent ways to make learning efficient, entertaining and engaging. The ability to send alerts to the students on their phones can, in fact, assist in the seamless operation of an educational institution. Education software development is not the only way to adopt technology in education.
Related article: How Digital Technology has Changed Modern Education
There are two prominent ways that can equip any traditional educational institution with EdTech capabilities.
1. Dedicated mobile app for eLearning & student information system
Mobile apps provide an immediate mode of communication with the users. All those who have chosen to receive the messages from them, receive, whether or not they are actively using the app at that time. Be it an official notice, assignment, exam schedule, test results or anything, authorities can communicate an array of messages to the students and ensure a 100% delivery of the same.
Not just information, push messages from an SIS mobile app (Student Information System) can contain links directing users to specific pages, offering a detailed information of the notification, or asking to complete a further action. Something like in this alert from Pushmaze notification tool.
Mobile apps being used as learning and teaching tools are not new to the higher education. However, what makes an eLearning mobile app effective is the way it is utilized in the blended environment. In addition to the lectures, if mobile apps are used as SIS then not just the learners would benefit, but also the stakeholders like teachers and institution administration would be more interested in the participation.
At a time when requirement for micro-personalized edification is rising, mobile apps can permit students to access course materials, submit assignments, and stay updated with the institution's bulletin board at the same time.
How mobile app users receive alerts?
In Android - Users using an Android mobile app automatically subscribe to in-app notifications while installing the particular mobile app. However, they can change the preferences manually through app setting.
In IOS - Users with Apple phones need to allow or block the notifications manually on the first use itself. iPhone users can also change the notification preferences from app setting.
2. Equip your regular website with push notifications
One does not necessarily need a mobile app to trigger alerts to the relevant audience. The beauty of push notifications is it permits a publisher to send alerts to the users even through a website server. If the institution possesses a website or a dedicated web-based SIS, sending push notifications to the students is way too easy. A relevantly triggered message can benefit the administration as well as the student by alerting both of them of the important events.
There are web push notifications tools that let a website send alerts without demanding a mobile app.
How website visitors receive web push notifications?
A website equipped with web push notifications tool triggers a pop-up box to the website visitors asking permission to send the messages.
It works same even when the users visit the website on the mobile web browser:
Once allowed, the particular user is ready to receive push notifications from the website. The user will receive all the notifications triggered to him by the particular website.
Related article: Classroom in a Pocket? Creating a Mobile eLearning Environment
How to improve academic performance with push notifications?
Communication to parents (junior schools in specific)
For almost a decade, there's been a revolution to make learning micro-personalized; a learning designed to fit every student's academic strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. If we consider a child's overall development, learning is not just a stuff that they get in schools only. The time children spend with their parents is way too important. Learning efforts shouldn't be limited to individual kid's ability to spell or do the math. It should equally consider the thinking that goes beyond schools and reaches the places where students are distracted the most - the home. The only way to control this distraction is an easy channel of communication between the schools and the parents.
Push notifications can perform the same with much more efficiency. In fact, way better than the traditional student diary notes and quarterly organized parent-teacher meetings. Schools can send messages to the parents informing on the aspects like child's attendance, weekly test performance reports, assignments, school holidays, and much more.
As a bulletin board
With push alerts, colleges and schools can notify the students of various events that occur regularly in the campus. For instance, news alerts, campus election results, announcements of sports events, fundraising events, functions, concerts, etc.
As a deadline announcer
Educational institutes let students fill different forms for numerous activities. For instance, they allow students to fill up scholarship forms, exchange program forms, extra-curricular activities forms and much more. Schools and colleges can use these alerts to notify students about the deadlines of applications and assignments.
As a campus news source
Colleges can utilize alerts to notify students of latest news or issues going on in the campus. For example, many colleges notify their students of the issues with transportation services through traditional bulletin boards. Push alerts can be extremely useful in this particular case, to spread any news to almost every student in no time.
As a reminder service
Can be used to give key reminders to the students. Daily morning reminders can be sent to remind students of bringing photo-IDs, assignments, or any special pass.
Colleges can also remind students to submit online assignments before the deadline.
As an emergency broadcaster
The student information system can be linked to the government agencies to receive an emergency broadcast. For example, it can be linked to the weather forecast portal to get a notification like this in case of an emergency.
As exam results announcer
Students, indeed, check their results on traditional bulletin boards or websites, colleges can use push alerts to let them know that results are out.
Related article: What is the Cost of Developing an Educational App
No doubt, push notifications are a powerful tool for digital marketing. However, their recent application in EdTech is seen more as a utility than marketing. A tool that can work with equal efficiency in both mobile apps and websites is unquestionably a powerful medium to improve traditional operand of education. Just don't let your alerts become so intrusive that they lose their essence. They are effective only when well-timed and used for engaging students with relevant information. Best way to maintain this relevance is segmenting the students on different grounds, and pushing only the corresponding information. In this way, you would not scare a first-year student with an assignment deadline alert for second-year students.
This is a guest post by Marry Ann. Marry Ann is a branding consultant for PushMaze, a service that lets you send trackable push notifications for users. She is mainly passionate about building brands in all aspect of online marketing. Find her on Quora | Twitter | LinkedIn.