Institutions of higher education have increasingly diverse student demographics and leaders are looking for new, scalable ways to serve their students. As the cost of digital technology goes down, more programs are looking to digital learning tools to improve learning outcomes and increase accessibility and flexibility.

The new High-Tech, High-Touch report, which Intentional Futures produced, highlights promising examples of digital learning from a set of diverse institutions across the US. This report outlines 5 strategies currently used to drive human-centered digital learning at scale.

High-tech, or digital, learning can provide flexible, accessible content that meets students’ individual needs, and enable online and supportive learning communities. Institutions can make the most of high-tech solutions by pairing them with high-touch, or student-centered, solutions. As we gathered examples of successful digital learning programs at higher education institutions, we discovered that these two approaches, when used in tandem, catalyze digital learning initiatives aimed at improving student outcomes such as retention and knowledge acquisition.

Deans, provosts, and faculty can use the report and its tools to talk with their schools about digital learning models. Digital learning leaders can use the accompanying workbook to aid the thought process of building and scaling a digital learning initiative.

This work was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We thank these individuals and organizations for their support and expertise: Dr. Maria H. Andersen, Dr. Nori Barajas-Murphy, Tyton Partners, SRI International, EdSurge, New Media Consortium, Online Learning Consortium and The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Many faculty members dedicated their time and efforts to inform this research. We thank them and their schools:

The American Woman’s College at Bay Path University, Austin Community College, Cedar Valley College, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado Technical University, Northern Arizona University, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, St. Petersburg College, Seattle University, University of Illinois-Springfield, University of Mississippi, Virginia State University, Dartmouth College and Hampton University.

We hope that the insights from these institutions’ experiences will aid in the design and development of digital programs at other institutions.

Download the report and workbook here: