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College student engages with university online in a coffee shop

Challenges & Opportunities in Online Learning: Key Findings from University Leaders

2 min read

A new study by Juji names student engagement and recruitment as top priorities for online program success after interviewing 42 higher ed leaders. Colleges and institutions need to adopt tech solutions to streamline their strategies and personalize at scale.

Top challenges included:

  • Recruiting prospective students (45%)
  • Developing quality online courses (35%)

Nearly 30% of participants expressed that are exploring or exploring technology solutions like intelligent chatbot technology or student engagement software.

University decision-makers are incentivized to invest in suitable technologies to improve the student experience and success at scale.

“Universities want high-quality solutions that can scale and also be implemented easily and quickly,” said Dr. Michelle Zhou, CEO of Juji, and one of the world’s top experts in human-centered AI, “they are looking for solutions to scale out their online programs, they still need to maintain a high-quality student learning experience.”

College student engaging with university online in a coffee shop.

Other key findings include:

  • Top priorities for university decision-makers are student engagement solutions (39% of participants), student recruitment (23%), and online course development (22%).
  • Current human-driven solutions are tedious and difficult to scale.
  • University decision-makers and leaders expect technology guidance and easy-to-adopt technologies that can better support education and student success.
  • Of the 28 universities surveyed, only two were currently using technology solutions to address student engagement challenges.
  • Seven out of eight universities that are exploring the use of AI for student engagement or recruitment expressed that they didn’t have dedicated IT staff and they need more dedicated support from their technology partners.

Dr. Zhou continued, “Cognitive AI assistants, in the form of chatbots, are potential solutions for universities to scale-out student and prospect engagement still with a human touch. Further, no-code AI solutions require no IT resources and minimal set-up time. Not only will such solutions increase student/prospect engagement, but will also relieve university professionals from doing repetitive tasks, such as answering tens of thousands of student questions and guiding prospects to apply for an online program.”

Remote college student engages with school online.

About the Study:

The study included 42 higher ed decision-makers out of 33 online academic programs across 28 universities and was conducted during June and July 2021. Dive deeper into the findings here.


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