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Survival of the Fittest: What Institutions Can Do to Survive Amidst a Pandemic

Published by Afterschool.my on Oct 30, 2020, 11:43 am

On October 2nd, MOHE dropped an announcement that all face-to-face registration was postponed, and classes will be 100% online until 31st December.

While this last minute announcement ignited an obvious uproar, the decision was inevitable. Over the past months, education institutions have been forced to cancel physical classes and resort to online classes wholly unprepared and close the doors to campuses across the world in response to the growing COVID-19 outbreak.

The journey, quite frankly, has been upsetting. The pandemic has resulted in some universities and colleges shutting down for good due to shaky financial ground – i.e, unable to pay maintenance – and a drastic decrease of student enrolment, for both local and international.

However, these challenges can be overcome. While social distancing rules and strict health and safety SOPS has enforced a physical gap between the institution and students, education authorities must find a way to still attract students to the campus while assuring zero health violations especially in the middle a global pandemic. Doing so will ensure their survival.

But how?

 

The Future is Virtual Tour

A virtual tour is a form of tourism where a person may experience a setting or place without actually being there. It is a sequence of panoramic images that are 'stitched' together to create a 'virtual' experience of any location using a 360 camera. Additional sound and text effects may also be added to further enhance the virtual tour for the audience.

Virtual tours for schools and higher education institutions is gradually becoming a norm. Schools and higher education institutions can use virtual tours to present a personalized guide to prospective students. This way, parents and students are more likely to choose to enroll in the education institution with an engaging visual tour.

It sure helps as well that, according to Xcalibur360, the need for virtual tours increases tremendously for various reasons, including its ability to reach out to both the local and global student resources!

Not convinced? Then you might want to look into the one institution that adopted virtual tours and reap the benefits:

 

The Institution

Welcome to Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

A quality provider of British education, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia has brought a wealth of knowledge, integrity, and innovation to the country’s education industry. With only a 6 - year presence in Malaysia, its campus continues to deliver exceptional educational facilities alongside a welcoming student environment.

 

The Situation

For Heriot-Watt, it was important to feature its campus online to aid students and parents in visualising the study environment, alongside following an all-digital approach post the COVID-19 pandemic. Basically, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia wanted to break the physical barriers imposed on prospective local and international students by bringing its campus to their screens.

For their virtual tour, Heriot-Watt University collaborated with Xcalibur360 to engage local and international students with a guided 360 virtual campus tour, available in English and Bahasa Indonesia via mobile and desktop!

 

The Outcome

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia's virtual tour is a must-experience for prospective students!

28% Higher Traffic

One of the biggest outcomes was definitely the higher traffic. Heriot-Watt University Malaysia reported an increase of 28% for their website traffic after launching their campus guided virtual tour!

141 Leads Collected

The virtual tour also helped Heriot-Watt University Malaysia to collect an impressive amount of leads – all within a month after it was launched.

58.2% Increase in Time Spent

Thanks to the virtual tour, prospective students and parents alike spent more time browsing through Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s website, with the average user spending 20 – 25 mins per visit. It’s inevitable. Due to its engaging features, a virtual tour would definitely increase the institutions online traffic as every relevant information is plastered in a single platform.

8 Countries

And most impressive of all, the virtual tour launched reached a global market of 8 countries – including Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, India, and UAE. Despite the distance imposed, the access to virtual tours allows international students to explore the campus even before stepping foot in the country while local students can still make campus visits from the comfort of their homes. A win-win situation!

“The guided virtual tour for Heriot-Watt has been an excellent venture for us to explore and engage with students locally and internationally.” – Heriot-Watt Marketing Manager

Discover more about virtual tour with Xcalibur360 right here.

 

But Don’t Just Rely on Virtual Tours

Yes, virtual tour is the future, one can’t deny that. But institutions can also depend on other strategies such as fees reduction if they plan on surviving amidst a pandemic breakout.

At Afterschool.my, we’ve received concerns from parents and students alike regarding the tuition fees. A typical tuition fee usually encompasses tutorials and lectures, library access, computer lab access, administration work, and student support services. Institution can give out discounts to prospective parents by cutting the fees for library access and computer lab access, especially if the courses are adapting to online delivery.

 

Set Aside Profit-Hunting for Survival

Just as it came, no one can truly predict when the pandemic outbreak will finally end. The vaccine could be ready by tomorrow, but consequences of the virus will linger for a while. And these consequences will change the education industry permanently.

Which is why institutions must set aside their goal for profit and adapt to the changes in order to survive in these trying times.

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