The first interaction many California community college students have with the colleges is online. Yet historically, many of the systemwide student-facing technology platforms have unintentionally prioritized institutional data needs over the student experience. By not instilling a sense of connection and competency within prospective students in an often unfamiliar environment, their initial online experiences with the California Community Colleges can contribute to feelings of confusion, incompetence and isolation at a time when self-efficacy is essential to moving forward.

In response to this challenge, and to a core commitment in the Vision for Success to “Always design and decide with the student in mind,” the Student Journey to Success Project was launched in 2018. The project was a joint effort by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (Chancellor’s Office) and the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation), with funding generously provided by College Futures Foundation and the Stupski Foundation

Philanthropic support allowed for the project team’s partnership with renowned design and behavioral science consultancy, ideas42. ideas42 provided the project team with a one-day Master Class in behavioral science, as well as guidance on how to apply behavioral science learnings to key points along students’ educational journeys to get them on a path to success. The multi-phase project included:

  • A landscape analysis of student-facing matriculation tools
  • Development of student personas
  • Student journey mapping

Through the Student Journey to Success Project, the Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation have laid the groundwork to transform the student user experience (UX). Additional philanthropic funding from College Futures Foundation is supporting the system’s development and launch of a Student Centered Design Lab. The California Community Colleges now has a centralized location for: 1) gathering authentic and diverse student feedback; 2) incorporating it into the (re)design processes of student-facing technology platforms; and 3) providing the colleges with student centered design and UX best practices. 

Download the full report, The Student Journey to Success Project: Applying Behavioral Science to Improve Onboarding, now from the Foundation’s website.

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