Digital Education Transformation: This article aims to give education professionals a complete roadmap on how to transform your educational institution.
What is Digital Transformation?
A digital transformation will look different for every company and for each industry.
However, broadly speaking, it describes the integration of digital technology into each area of the business. It results in core changes to how a business operates and delivers their products or services to customers by taking advantage of the technological advancements.
Within a company itself, it requires a cultural shift in how processes are completed. Employees have to become accustomed to experimenting regularly with their processes and even sometimes fail in their efforts to innovate. Businesses might even find that they must sometimes step away from their old processes, that they knew worked well, in favor of experimenting with innovative solutions that have not had the same extensive testing.
It is only by adopting these best practices and fully integrating the employees into the mindset of digital innovation that brands can remain at the forefront of their industries and continue to serve customers with the care that they have come to expect.
READ: The types of digital transformation
What does it mean for the educational institution?
Businesses and schools find that they often embrace digital transformation from different perspectives. For businesses, this adoption is often a matter of survival. Customers expect businesses to provide them with evolving personalized care that mirrors their technological priorities. In the wake of the pandemic, this has only been magnified further, as the ability of an organization to adapt to disruption in supply chains, changes in customer expectations, and adjust to time-to-market stress, became a critical component of thriving as an organization.
For educational organizations, digital adoption can help institutions become more competitive. In the wake of the pandemic, people have begun to realize the far-reaching power of education-driven technology. As the digital world requires educators to find new ways to incorporate and integrate technology into the teaching practices, the schools that manage this the best will naturally rise above the others.
READ: Digital transformation in education: Switzerland is a leader
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed digital transformation?
When the novel coronavirus struck, it forced societal changes around the globe. Nearly overnight, governments issued orders that limited large gatherings of people, restricted in-person business operations, and encouraged people to work from home as much as possible. In response, businesses and schools alike began to look for ways to continue their operations remotely, thanks to the internet. They turned to various collaboration platforms and video conferencing capacities to remain engaged with their colleagues, clients, and students while working from home offices.
Exploring the key changes can help people understand how organizations can embrace their digital transformation and what parts of these changes will likely be here to last.
- Greater investment and prioritization of technology
- Paying attention to employee and customer experiences on technology
- Inspiring a ‘spring-cleaning’ of technology to streamline investments
- Increase in use of automation to improve the customer experience and build contactless services
- Viewing technology as a means to innovate and thrive
- Greater investment in cybersecurity
Recent developments in technology and education
Society and the professional world continue to evolve and change with the growth of technology and the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This, in turn, has had a tremendous impact on the educational sphere, leading to a number of growing trends in the world of education. For educators to properly engage their students, they must remain abreast of these latest changes and key factors that affect learning in the classroom. Their understanding of these trends can help them create more effective learning environments.
As teachers prepare themselves to implement these latest education developments, here are the five most important trends with which they should familiarize themselves.
- Technology in teaching and learning
The growth of technological capabilities means that a variety of media and learning-support tools now exist to help students receive a high-quality education through the Internet.
- Soft skills training
In an effort to prepare students for their future careers, schools must have the training in place to help students nurture and grow in these skill areas.
- Decreasing attention spans
To keep the attention of Millennials, the content presented to them must have excellent visuals and dialogue along with an interesting storyline that will hold their attention. This younger group cares more about the narrative and the visual nature of the content that interests them than other age groups.
- Facilitating learning versus teaching
The best teachers will be those who can help students take ownership of their learning.
- Life-long learning
This offers chances for schools to grow as they create new programs and adult learning opportunities to help their alumni thrive within the changing professional space.
READ: 5 Trends in education to watch out for in 2020
READ: Top 8 digital transformation trends in education
The challenges of digital transformation in education
1. People are used to the status quo
Educating people on digital transformation, teaching them the skills needed in easily digestible chunks, and helping them understand the benefits for them and their students by completing this transformation remains the key to earning their buy-in.
2. A lack of a clear strategy or direction for the digital adoption
A transformation of this size can feel intimidating for many within the institution. Leading the educators and administrators forward, however, will see the best success when a solid strategy can make it clear what the school wants to accomplish and the major points and steps they will focus on to achieve this objective.
3. Incomplete knowledge of the skills needed to achieve meaningful digital adoption
The skills gap remain an important consideration when trying to successfully transform educational institutions. Therefore, schools need to find ways to incorporate key learning opportunities into their digital transformation plan. Including workshops and seminars that will empower educators and administrators to take advantage of the full potential of education will play a vital role.
4. Unclear data pictures for the institution
Thanks to the sheer amount of data available online, educational institutions do not have to worry about a lack of information about their students, their classes, or the school as a whole. Unfortunately, many institutions lack the capabilities to fully integrate this wealth of data. They often collect it in silos. A key part of any digital transformation needs to include breaking down these data silos to gain a complete understanding of how students interact with the school.
5. The capability of existing systems
Since technology has already begun to infiltrate the world of education over the past two decades, many educational institutions already had a variety of different tools and systems that they used to employ some limited forms of technology. Unfortunately, since these systems were not used as an integrated system, many of the systems do not work well with each other, which creates a mismatched system across the institution.
Therefore, schools usually need to find that the best path toward will be to upgrade or otherwise adapt their current systems to enhance their compatibility and make it possible for the system to work together.
READ: Digital transformation challenges in education institutions
COMING SOON: How to avoid digital transformation challenges & pitfalls in education.
Digital transformation framework
Although digital transformation will vary widely based on each organization's specific challenges and demands, there are a few constants and common themes that all business and technology leaders should consider as they embark on digital transformation.
Discover useful resources for education professional to explore each of these topics:
Customer / Student experience
Culture and leadership
Digital Transformation Roadmap for E-learning
Faced with these challenges for digital adoption in education, schools want to know more about the path forward that will allow them to modernize their institution and overcome these hurdles.
Here are the steps that can help any school upgrade its digital capabilities.
In the pre-planning stage, start by formulating ambitions and aligning the company’s desires with market information and long-term goals. This is the moment to conceptualise what you really want to achieve as a company.
During the ambition stage, analyze the market, formulate the needs and desires and make sure to create an integrated direction, an understanding of the prospective impact and size of the potential project. It is recommended to address some significant questions in this stage and see if answers meet a clear rationale. Main questions to be addressed in this stage are: 'What do we want?' and, 'Why do we want this?' Most often ambition is born out of desire not out of need, therefore within the ambition stage it is essential to align the what and why.
The design stage requires diving into a variety of options and pre-analyzing the potential impact of all stages of your developments. It is key that your desired transformation meets (market) demand by the time of delivery and beyond. Change, development and go to market, might take a long(er) time and it is important in the design stage to make decisions based on resource availability, ownership and potential outsourcing partners, in order to avoid delays, miscalculations or false planning.
In the decision making stage, all possibilities of the design stage need to take shape and there should be no room left for ambiguity. There are often changes and disruptions in a change-process, and it’s very common that the road of a digital journey (re)shapes along the way. However at this stage, it is the time to activate actions.
The last but also the most crucial step before your launch, is to plan in advance the delivery and implementation. After the design stage, a clear plan, transparency on responsibilities and objectives are defined and ready to move to the implementation. Resource upskilling, debugging of the program, prepare for the “what if” scenario; in this step you build a solid foundation for a successful launch.
The exciting part! If done well, all the hard work in each step of the digital roadmap will pay off. Many digital transformations do not run as planned and that includes the launch stage. At this stage, it's quite common that some smaller components might still not be in place or are not yet fully operational. It is key that the customer does not really notice these imperfections.
When your program is up and running, is successfully meeting the cohort targets and has increased efficiency in the entire process, it is time to review and redefine your digital capabilities and ambition.