Automating Manual Loaning In Colleges

Denise Crouch

Denise Crouch

Technology within sixth forms and colleges has evolved over the last few years, changing the way students learn and access course content. I don’t need to tell you that the Covid pandemic has increased the need for online content and remote learning.

Adapting IT to quickly cope with this new way of working has given IT departments many sleepless nights. Students need to be able to access a device such as a laptop, Chromebook or tablet at any time of day, often for short periods of time.

Offering students devices to borrow from a bank of intelligent self-service lockers gives them to access a fully charged device when they need it and allows the devices to be shared.

Students often bring in their own devices and the smart lockers can also issue locker bays with charging points for personal storage. The lockers can be configured to offer a ‘mix and match’ of a variety of devices as well as personal charging bays to cater for all students.

Top 3

A recent survey conducted by LapSafe® has revealed that approximately 25% of colleges now offer their students the ability to borrow a device from self-service lockers.

Self-service lockers offer huge time saving for staff who no longer have to manually ‘check-out’ and ‘check-in’ devices. This saving is passed on to students who no longer waste time queuing to borrow or return a device.

Almost half of the colleges surveyed said their main reason for adopting self-service was to free up staff time.

What is the most popular device loaned to students?

The most popular device loaned is still laptops with only a small percentage of colleges choosing to loan Chromebooks or tablets.

How do colleges advertise the service to their students?

The most popular way to let students know that they can borrow a laptop from the self-service lockers is via internal signage, closely followed by word of mouth.

LapSafe®’s self-service Availability Dashboard monitors and reports on the availability and status of devices and lockers. This information can be shared to students via the college website or displayed on screens around the campus.

What is the most popular loan period?

Most colleges chose to loan out a device for periods of 4-6 hours, with short-term loans between 1-3 hours coming a close second. Around 13% of colleges surveyed loan devices for longer periods of 7+ hours.

Length of time for loans

What makes LapSafe® self-service lockers so special?

LapSafe®’s self-service lockers are the most sophisticated and intelligent self-service lockers available in the market and are the most popular lockers in education.

  • Self-Service allows users to borrow a device at any time of day, without staff interaction
  • LapSafe® lockers always loan the best charged device, they charge all devices simultaneously in the fastest possible time.
  • Each locker bay can be networked allowing IT technicians to update devices remotely.
  • The lockers can be integrated with the college LMS (library management system) or work stand-alone to loan a device in a similar way to a library book.
  • The lockers are intuitive and require little or no training to use or manage.
  • Asset tracking is made easy and provides security for the devices.


So, what do colleges say about self-service lockers?

Feedback from the LapSafe® Survey shows that introducing self-service lockers has made light work of managing assets and fewer devices go missing or get damaged. Freeing up staff time was high on the list of reasons to automate device loan services, together with saving student time queuing for the service. Space saving was another popular reason, by removing traditional desktop PCs colleges are able to repurpose computer rooms into flexible learning spaces.

We asked customers if they would recommend Self-Service loans to other colleges?

100% of customers said that they would recommend the service to other colleges

‘Whilst the initial investment is high the ROI is clear when it comes to flexibility, timesaving and operations’

‘Equipment is much less likely to be damaged, lost or stolen’

‘System manages itself’

‘Whilst the initial investment is high the ROI is clear when it comes to flexibility, timesaving and operations’
‘Student feedback has been really positive. A few students have commented that it’s the best investment the college has made’

‘The proof is mainly in their usage; we have received favourable comments from students’

‘I love the freedom it gives for students to choose where and how they work- that’s priceless!’

‘Students love the service, just want more devices’
‘Nice features, user friendly’

‘Students find it very useful’

Quotes courtesy of Hugh Baird College, Derby College, Farnborough College of Technology, Pembrokeshire College & Fife College.