We live in a culture marked by instant gratification. But it should come as no surprise, because we’ve been pursuing it for hundreds of years. From the Industrial Revolution to the Machine Age to modern digitization and every advancement in between, the goal has been easier, faster, and more accessible solutions. We’ve just mastered the art of streamlining existing technology and turning it into a better version of itself (i.e. the internet).
Instant Gratification vs. Hard Work
There’s no doubt that society as a whole has grown to expect instant answers and access to information at the touch of a button. When that’s the norm, it’s easy to dismiss the notion of hard work and patience. Putting in the proverbial 10,000 hours seems excessive. Such a culture masks the reality that success requires years of effort and dedication.
Many schools are afraid of enabling students to expect instant results when it comes to learning, searching for a job, and developing a career, and rightly so. Colleges and universities have a responsibility to instill a culture of hard work and dedication while providing the best possible student experience. It’s a tough job. In a sense, schools want to equip students with every resource they need to succeed. Most institutions have developed robust, comprehensive student services. At the same time, they don’t want to hand-hold.
The Question Institutions Should Be Asking
Institutions deliberate over implementing new technology that could feed expectations for instant gratification. Yet the question should not be, “Will this technology cause students to expect fulfillment the second they want it?” Instead, leadership should ask, “Will this technology better equip students for success?”
Instant gratification is often a by-product of new technology, but that shouldn’t deter colleges from implementing new tools that make processes more efficient and effective. At EVAN360, we believe the right technology can shape the student experience and improve retention. When students have the opportunity to connect with the right person for support exactly when they need it, they are better equipped to work hard, complete their degree, and achieve success in the future.
Consider the student who goes to class in the morning then straight to work until 10pm. Or the student who has to pick up their kids from school and can’t study until after they’re in bed. What happens when they need help after hours but the tutoring center is closed and TA’s aren’t on campus? They can’t get the help they need, and it’s no fault of their own. It’s discouraging and hinders success.
Why Instant Is Better
What if students could access the support they need exactly when they need it? Instead of not knowing where to go or waiting for a scheduled appointment, imagine if students had a surefire way to connect with an advisor, tutor, or counselor in minutes, even after hours. By answering questions right away through one simple app, colleges and universities instill trust in students, letting them know they can always find reliable, timely support. Students will know 1) exactly where to go for help, 2) that they can count on someone to show up each time, and 3) that faculty and staff are their allies.
The ultimate goal is to support students as they navigate the road from applicant to college graduate. Adopting more efficient and effective technology serves a greater purpose than just keeping up with the latest and greatest innovations. It’s all about equipping students with the resources they need to complete their degree. There’s nothing wrong with offering instant, more accessible support, especially if it means more students have the opportunity to stay in school and fulfill their education and career goals.