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The growing penetration of technology in everyday life has created a rising need for adopting digital technologies, which has prompted an interesting trend in digital transformation in education industry. The education environment has changed significantly. Extensive use of digital assets in changing the needs of modern learners and educators.
A digital transformation (DX) in the sector is the only way to enhance the learning environment to meet the changing demands.
A digital transformation in education would come with several key benefits, especially in agility, management, and competitiveness, to mention just a few. Institutions of higher learning would benefits as follows;
Yes, competitiveness is a factor in higher education. According to the US Department of Education, the number of universities and colleges has increased dramatically over the last two decades. It means that learners have more options when choosing where they’d like to pursue different courses. You need to make your university competitive to remain an attractive option.
Even in non-profit colleges and universities, revenues are critical to the growth of the institution. You must be able to raise sufficient revenue to run day-to-day activities. More importantly, many state and private institutions increasingly find themselves under immense pressure to lower tuition prices and, generally, cut costs.
Today, the student experience is critical to the university’s competitiveness and critical outcomes. From retention and graduation rates to employment rates and initial salaries, these factors directly impact the institution’s standing and reputation. They determine whether a student leaving high school or seeking a second degree would go there.
Finally, a digital transformation in education would massively improve any institution’s management workflows. Digitization automates academic administration and other back-office operations. This can prove invaluable in admissions, placement, student support, alumni relations, and so forth. Digital interventions can also boost communication and relationships between students, parents, teachers, and other interest groups.
Digital transformation is really all about managing people, processes, and technology (including content) across the institution. Here’s how to get started with the transformation;
A digitally-determined institution is one where everything centers around a culture of innovation and data use. Three things are especially important here. First, you need to learn and understand all about digital transformations. This would include determining whether you need a digital transformation or digital upgrade.
Secondly, you need to get buy-in from the C-level and management team. Most leaders are averse to change. They aren’t very prepared to abandon processes that have worked for them for a new, digital process. You must convince them to get on board. Finally, you must get community input.
A digital transformation in education cannot happen without a plan. You must identify where you are presently and where you want to be in the next ten years. More importantly, you must understand where the education industry is headed and align your goals with future trends. This means that there must be a plan or road map that is modular, scalable, and extensible.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) identifies six key areas universities pursuing digital transformation need to keep in mind. These are student engagement, student health, faculty empowerment, institution administration, funding and partnerships, and future trends (the campus of the future).
Process Maker identifies several areas around which higher learning institutions can focus their digital transformations. They suggest that you need to digitize the library by offering digital periodicals and books and deploying AI bots for conversational responses. They also suggest moving every course online, creating mechanisms for online learner monitoring, and automating administrative tasks.
This would be a good start for any institution. But, they’re not the only areas you need to transform digitally. Many universities also need a strategy to manage legacy IT systems as well as plan for security and privacy, among others.
Digital transformations often fall outside the learning institution’s traditional performance indicators. Therefore, it is vital that you think about how you’ll measure your transformation to keep at pace with your goals.
The easiest way to tackle this step is to share a compelling story about your current and desired/after state. For instance, the university may wish to change its payment options from manual checks and cash to mobile payments and e-wallets. If so, you need to show inefficiencies in the old processes and demonstrate how the new payment methods would improve outcomes such as customer (student and parent) satisfaction, cut costs, boost the institution’s competitiveness, etc.
Once you’ve addressed the four issues above, the next step in the digital transformation in education sector is to start building your digital transformation team. As with any DX effort, the transformation team will need at least five different people.
First, you need a project lead to lead the transformation process. This person must have a proven track record of managing digital transformations. Next, you need a change champion. Change champions are evangelists who help to market the digital transformation inside and outside the organization. Third, you need a technical engineer. These are industry experts tasked with leading the IT “department” throughout the transformation period. Aside from the three experts above, you also need a subject matter expert and data expert.
There’s no better time to roll out your digital transformation in education processes than right now. The majority of higher learning institutions are already in the process of or planning for a transformation. If your university doesn’t jump on the bandwagon, you may be left behind.