Challenges in the Continuing Education Landscape

As a globally recognized brand, UCLA strives to deliver a world-class student experience. Our goal at UCLA Extension is to use best-in-class solutions in a unified way to deliver that experience.

The competitive landscape in education has reached new levels. The commoditization of information means we can no longer rely solely on the UCLA brand to sustain our business. Students care less now about where they get their information from and are more focused on convenience, ease of use, and price when deciding where to go to school. With the widespread popularity of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and YouTube educational videos, the continuing education industry has been experiencing multiple challenges.

  • Converting new students and retaining existing students
  • Delivering experiences tailored to a wide spectrum of students
  • Competing with nontraditional education platforms and solutions
  • Creating an online experience that differentiates an organization from its competitors

Within the Continuing Education industry and in the online space, there are three trends that affect the potential student today.

  • Skills Building: the scale and diversity of the independent workforce is expanding. There is a greater emphasis on building specific skillsets and supporting learning journeys over the long term.
  • Consumers want to utilize their time on their terms: student-driven learning is putting students in control of when they learn, how they learn, and who is involved.
  • Perception of Parity: Alternative education providers have entered the market, meeting the needs of those most interested in gaining a new skill set on their own time.

To be competitive, educational organizations must excel in all areas. First and foremost is instruction, along with marketing, customer service, and the overall student experience. At UCLA Extension, to be a competitive player, our digital strategy focuses on attracting new students, as well as retaining the ones we already have. We use demographics, geographic data, our target audience’s behavior patterns, and psychographics to understand their needs, likes, and wants. Engaging our audience with relevant content in the right place at the right moment will take the consumer through the decision process of awareness and consideration, and, as a result, convert the consumer into a student.

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