The term digital transformation has become much popular with almost every organization now wanting to implement it. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn significant attention to the dire need for digital transformation. Educational institutions and organizations are looking to provide uninterrupted, consistent learning experiences, and one of the ways to do achieve this goal is digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a way of embracing change using digital technology to enhance the educational or business process, culture, and learner or user experience. The ongoing globalization trend in various sectors, including education, has had a positive impact on the adoption of digital transformation.
Digital transformation in education can modernize the traditional learning environment. It can help educational institutions like universities develop new and better learning methods to improve student engagement and learning outcome. According to IDC, the direct digital transformation investment spending is expected to reach $7.4 trillion between 2020 and 2023.
Furthermore, companies are making record-breaking investments in digital transformation in 2022, up 65% from 2020, according to the EY-Parthenon 2022 Digital Investment Index.
Given the tremendous potential digital transformation carries, Harbinger conducted an insightful Power Hour on the “Digital Transformation of Brick-and-Mortar Universities” recently. In this Power Hour, Ulhas Bodhankar, Senior Director – Business Consulting, Harbinger Group, got into a detailed and interesting conversation with Priyanka Nair, Manager, Academics – L&D, Xebia; Matthew Alex, Founder, Beyond Academics; and Ahmed Naumaan, Professor, American Public University System.
In this session, the experts shared insights on why a digital transformation strategy is necessary for higher education in universities. They also explained the role of digital technologies like AI and ML in education.
Role of digital transformation in designing courses and curricula
Some of the common challenges universities face are high dropout rates, inefficiency of the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ teaching approach, and student disruption. However, digital solutions like extensive data analysis and AI can help build personalized learning experiences and address these challenges.
When we look at a traditional curriculum, we know how something is done but are hardly focused on why we are doing it. The traditional process only addresses the problem and is not focused on concepts, technology implementation, and other important aspects.
In universities, learners only focus on what is being taught. Ideally, they should also focus on the role of technology in improving the knowledge comprehension process. They should understand the concept and the technology that can be implemented to address a specific problem.
As of now, universities are not focused on creating an experimental learning journey for their students. Moreover, their curriculum is stitched in such a manner that it provides more of theoretical knowledge but less of practical knowledge.
For universities, it’s high time to take digital transformation in education seriously to understand learner requirements in a better way.
With digital transformation, you can expect educational curricula to be modernized for good. Students will be able to grasp content in multiple forms and have various ways to learn the same topic. Besides, they can connect with their mentors on the same platform, if needed.
Today, digital transformation technology can be applied to curriculum management in such a manner that it fills the skill gap. This itself should be an eye-opening reason for universities to implement digital transformation in education.
Improving learning and teaching in universities with digital transformation
When we talk about digital transformation in higher education or universities, there are some core elements we need to be mindful of: technology, people, and process.
For the digital learning environment to be truly productive, it needs a specially designed curriculum that involves a different set of strategies from those deployed in a physical classroom.
Digital transformation in education can massively improve any institution’s management workflows. Digitization can automate academic administration and other back-office operations. This can prove invaluable in advancing admissions, placements, student support, alumni relations, and other aspects.
In addition, digital intervention can boost communication and relationship between students, parents, teachers, and other interest groups.
Some universities are still reluctant to adopt digital transformation because it challenges their traditional teaching model. However, when decision-makers at universities understand that every student has a different learning journey and learns and perceives things differently, they will realize the significance of digital transformation in education.
Moreover, everybody prefers to learn at their own pace. When it comes to practical implementation or learning something new, students may feel the need for a live instructor. On the other hand, some students may require continuous guidance to learn a particular concept, while others may not.
Furthermore, if one approach doesn’t work well, students should have the liberty to pick their own learning map and learning method.
Digital transformation can provide universities with technologies to meet all these student needs and deliver great learning experiences. It will also offer universities a personalized way to teach and learn. This is different from the traditional method where grading is typically the king and passing a few exams symbolizes a student’s success.
In modern learning, continuous evaluation plays a key part in analyzing the learning progress, which is helpful for both the learner and the educator. Thanks to digital transformation, universities can use online learning platforms and other digital technologies to meet this need as well. Not to forget, digital transformation can help enable active mentorship for students while their learning progress is being analyzed.
Continuous evaluation is the best model for universities to adopt, not only from the grading perspective but also from the learning perspective. It will help learners excel at their future jobs and make them industry-centric by increasing their value in terms of knowledge and skill.
For universities, it will provide them a clear view of which students are progressing and which ones are not, in terms of learning. It will enable universities to create custom learning paths for students and know which students need more help with learning. This will help universities improve student success, learning results, and course completion rates.
How digital transformation helps ensure high quality of instruction
Technology has taken the difficulty out of many areas of education. Today, with a sound digital transformation strategy, universities can automate various educational processes, including instruction and assessment.
Automating the assessment review or evaluation process will save a lot of faculty time. Universities wouldn’t need anyone to check each assessment manually, and faculty can use that time to guide or interact with students.
Furthermore, the use of digital technologies can improve the quality of instruction in universities. It can help create live learning spaces to enable more convenient, flexible, and deeper learning, save study time, avoid learning gaps due to COVID-19 restrictions, and allow other benefits.
Online platforms with gamification can act as a practice ground for students to learn concepts and give mock tests in a virtual room with instant output. Apart from these facilities, online platforms can provide personalized learning features to students and at the same time help teachers engage students and ensure better learning results.
For example, in a class of 60-70 students, it is difficult for a teacher to focus on each student individually. However, by using automated, virtual, or other digital educational solutions, teachers can better connect with each student individually as well as in a group while ensuring effective outcomes.
Digital transformation has made education more accessible, and the realization strengthened in the past two years when the world had to go digital due to the pandemic.
With digital transformation, universities can digitize learning experiences, create engaging learning processes, and improve teaching methods. Whether it’s online learning, smart classroom, student performance analysis, personalized learning experience, and online exam, you can transform your educational institution in many ways with digital technology.
If you are looking for a partner that can help you implement a digital transformation strategy for your university or any other educational institution, contact Harbinger EdTech experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.