Bringing Digital Transformation to Education: Challenges and Solutions

Digital transformation is steadily moving across the planet and conquering one industry after another. The severe impact on businesses of different domains brings new opportunities to the table. Digital transformation allows its adapts to maximize operational efficiency, increase the levels of collaboration, and reduce expenses in the long run if embraced in a proper manner.

Elinext is a software development company that operates across several industries and focuses on technologies that go hand by hand with digital transformation adoption: data analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technologies.

We’ve decided to explore digital transformation across one of our industrial sectors, and have chosen the domain of education.

Source: pixabay.com

We are going to figure out the main challenges educators and corporate learners face while entering the new digitized world and have a closer look at how it is possible to overcome these barriers.

Also, there is too much information to release it in a single post, and we can’t omit our digital transformation trends observations, so we’d expand this post, and will release the continuation next week.

As for the subject of the article, we’ll explore corporate learning as well as digital transformation across the classrooms of schools and higher education institutions in the US and Europe.

Digital transformation in education: The challenges

To begin with, we’d say that there is enough prejudice about digital transformation – and enough reluctance in its exception, but we’ll get to that a little later.

Here we try to figure the most obvious obstacles on the way to digitalization. After we figure out the issues, we’ll talk about their solutions

Resistance to change across educational institutions

70% of Deloitte respondents from government sectors felt their digital capabilities lagged behind the private sector. That means, private companies are experiencing the boom in digital transformation, or does it?

Well, not quite. Most of the companies in the UK, Europe, and the USA are unwilling to embrace digital culture in their activities. Decision-makers are prone to make their steps towards digital maturity. Employees also don’t want to leave their comfort zone.

KCOM Enterprise claimed their 43% respondents believe digital transformation is a nice way to boost  their competitiveness and nearly every third company has the budget dedicated to it,

“It is positive to see that organizations are embracing cloud technology as the path to innovation, and they recognize some of the challenges holding them back. However, too many are stopped from giving their all to innovation projects by fear of failure,” that’s the comment of Stephen Long, managing director at KCOM Enterprise.

The goal of the executives is in persuading the stakeholders that the efforts are worth the end benefits in the educational sector.

Lack of skill, knowledge, and personnel for pain-free digitalization

For smooth digital transformation, educational facilities have to possess enough skillful employees. The situation is critical on the market. European Commission assesses the number of unfilled jobs in the European ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector at 756,000.

Source: insights.ehotelier.com

UK situation is similar: employers are failing to fill 43% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) vacancies due to the existing digital skills gap.

Also, The World Economic Forum estimation is groom: 54% of all employees will require significant reskilling by 2022.

Educational institutions and companies that invest in corporate education must focus on continuous learning and upskilling their staff to make maximum of their available people’s resources.

Absence of digital transformation strategy

Education is no different from other industries in a way that it needs a firm strategy and a starting point to adapt to digital transformation. Usually, this is a significant change across many spheres of operations. So the starting point and a solid strategy are very difficult to find and develop but are also absolutely necessary.

Unstructured Data

Digital data and its analysis insights possess immense value. Metrics offer schools and colleges, as well as corporate training new methods of getting revenues, saving budgets, and other useful things.

However, data could be difficult to store and interpret, also, there are other problems with possibilities of data being skewed or siloed. That makes insights received upon it inaccurate – one can’t rely on it.

There is a lot to be done to receive timely, precise, and organized. Also, one had to figure which tools (what types of software) might help organize and analyze data correctly.

Bad compatibility of tech in the educational sector

There are tons of standards, infrastructures, and technologies that run across educational facilities and businesses. It is very hard to keep up to them, and even harder to put all the information together.

Some of the educational systems and institutes use old-formatted learning materials that are rarely compatible with the new digital devices. The level of compatibility requires developing new standards.

Source: elearningindustry.com

Also, upgrades of the current infrastructure often require plenty of effort, time, and money. Cloud infrastructure could significantly save budgets and serve as a solution in digital transformation efforts.

Eventually, digital transformation ends up bringing more value than spend on its adoption, but it imposes certain risks and is expensive on many occasions.

Digital transformation in education: The solutions

Now when we’ve established the challenges, let’s try to explore the solutions that could help to overcome them in the educational sectors.

Invest in the personnel: hire and train your current employees

We’ve discussed the digital skills gap in detail, hope that you are convinced that the talent pool is thinner than one would have expected in the educational sector.

If we’re speaking of educational facilities, their goals should be focused on the upskilling of their graduates so that they could succeed professionally.

Companies involved in corporate learning should implement a digitally-driven learning programme that would enable staff to receive skills to evolve their roles within the business. That would help business transformation big time.

Internal investments into employees upskill are very helpful. It also helps if the communication inside your company is a well-oiled machine – that way educational processes will be precise, and the investments will be justified.

Develop a solid strategy

After you’ve got yourself personnel that is capable of enabling digital transformation, you need a proper strategy to start bringing your educational digitalization ideas to life.

Source:slideshare.net

Aside from adequate leadership, a solid digital transformation strategy requires collaborative work after your organization has identified core business aims and goals.

The strategy also includes technologies and methodologies to achieve innovations. After your educational organization possesses this knowledge, you need a firm step-by-step action.

Here is how this plan looks in the US on a national level. As you can see, this is a massive document that was designed by real professional educators.

Bring in automation

Education is the sector that is yet to find its digital maturity. More than half of B2B companies are adopting tech as part of their overall strategy.

Notable time limits and the absence of enormous budgets can put a restraint on the modern educational institution.

Automated systems solve these issues, partially or entirely. When the workflow operates automatically, it is able to increase productivity and decreases long-term costs in a geometrical progression.

Integrate and leverage digital data using the latest formats

When dealing with data of big masses, it is important that all this information be stored, transmitted, and analyzed as fast and effective as possible.

It’s essential to be able to integrate and leverage your data sources seamlessly. Seamless flow and understanding of the colossal amounts of student-led data can be transmitted with the help of the latest e-learning standard called The Experience API (or xAPI).

Source: elucidat.com

It is a new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has, both online and offline.

The specifications that existed before were difficult and had limitations, but the Experience API is simple and flexible. It has lifted many of the older restrictions.

“Mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning are just some of the things that can now be recognized and communicated well with the Experience API,” – that is what they claim on the official website of the standard.

This is also confirmed by the industry leaders and influencers. 

Adoption of edtech tools helps educational institutions to segment data and understand

student behaviors to improve their schedules, curriculums, processes.

Siloed data is not that big of a problem really if you know how to deal with it.

Experiment with emerging technologies

Education is an industry that is very open to new technologies. Educators are willing to experiment and adopt the whole range of new tech.

Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, VR and AR, chatbots, and machine learning are top of the list of such technologies.

Don’t forget about the cloud. Cloud computing is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation as cloud-delivered processes offer institutions increased mobility, process efficiency, and serves cost optimization.

To be Continued…

We’ll describe the use of technology in learning later on.

Also, in part 2 of the article we’ll talk about the digital transformation trends of 2020.

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