Technology & Innovation

Digital Transformation Trends in Education

BY: Emil Capino • Jan 06, 2020

Digital technology is becoming more pervasive and it brings disruption and positive transformation in all aspects of our society. It is changing the way we do things and it is occurring rapidly that we risk not being able to support its momentum due to lack of available skills. Digital Transformation has created increasing demands for new skills and consequently, the latest content and new educational experiences which are driving trends in Education.

As transformation happens in various industries, Education is important. However, the Education industry one of the last ones to transform digitally, and it needs to catch up if we are to sustain the momentum in Digital Transformation. In this article, we highlight some of the trends that are having a profound impact on the way we learn and experience education in the digital revolution.

Digital Content. As digital technology becomes mainstream, demand for the latest digital content increases. Cutting edge hi-tech topics such as data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are on the rise. Other topics for business, health & fitness, marketing, academics, personal development, etc. are also becoming in demand as more students and adult learners are finding the convenience of accessing digital content.

Online educational courses have also proliferated and have become more accessible to students, professionals, and life-long learners. Online degree programs and virtual academies offer to learn courses that match various learning goals and styles. Digital Transformation has led to significant changes in how content is accessed, consumed, discussed and shared online. Digital content has paved the way for new learning delivery innovations including self-paced online e-learning services and new Learning-as-a-Service (LaaS) platforms. Online learning platforms not only cater to the education industry but also provide platforms for training companies and enterprises who conduct their own internal training.

Personalized Learning. With advances in learning platforms, training providers and educational institutions are now able to personalize learning which allows students to choose their own learning experience. This trend enables students to have more options in education, from school choice – public, private, charter, virtual, to options like blended learning and adaptive learning which are custom designed to suit each student.

For example, blended learning gives more responsibility to students as it is more of a discovery-based method of learning. With less direct instruction and interaction with the teacher, students can control certain elements of their learning by choosing how, where and at what pace they progress with the material. On the other hand, adaptive learning uses technology to collect information about a student’s learning behavior and then subsequently uses that information to provide instant feedback to adjust the student’s learning experience. Adaptive learning tools continuously analyze student data in real-time and automatically change what content comes next in response to how a student is performing.

Learning Devices. More and more teachers and students are experiencing the benefits of digital technology inside and outside the classroom. Imagine a learning experience whereby there is no longer a need for students to drop by the library and borrow books or to check whether a specific book is available or not. Imagine students not needing to buy paper books among a list of required course books. Digital Transformation in Education is replacing traditional learning methods with cheaper and more accessible, not to mention, an efficient way of learning using digital content and mobile devices.

Nowadays, students no longer have to go to the computer lab to access a computer. Schools are encouraging or even requiring students to bring their own devices such as tablets or netbooks to enhance the learning process. In more advanced countries, the government even provides digital devices to educational institutions. Companies like Apple even have discount programs for educators and students to make the iPad more accessible for use in education. The latest “education” iPad was redesigned to make it education-specific with new features like the Apple Pencil. It also includes “Schoolwork”, new software that allows teachers to manage their classroom digitally. Schoolwork also allows teachers to hand out digital assignments to students, such as homework, activities, and school projects as easy as writing an email.

Gamification. New learning methods use digital concepts like gamification to motivate students to learn using video game design and game elements in learning environments. Gamification in education is an innovative approach that aims to engage students and make learning enjoyable by capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. By applying game-related principles to education, students become more engaged and feel having ownership of their learning. It also makes learning fun and social as learning progress becomes visible through digital indicators.

Learning combined with gaming makes difficult subject matters more exciting and interactive. As gaming technology progresses, it is increasingly being used to enhance educational games in every discipline in both classroom and online learning platforms. Virtual game worlds provide opportunities for students to use valuable skillset to solve problems, apply new knowledge to make decisions while identifying obstacles, multiple perspectives that elicit various responses. And as students get immediate feedback from a gamified learning experience, they are motivated to keep playing and continue honing their skills.

Augmented Reality. As traditional learning processes undergo transformation with the latest digital technologies, Augmented Reality (AR) provides diverse options to transform learning environments with new methods that change the way we see, imagine and perceive the world around us through virtual time and space. AR bridges the gap between virtual and physical worlds and offers new learning experiences. AR can bring the outside world into the classroom and vice versa. Students are no longer expected to physically attend classes on campus as they can join virtual classes anywhere using AR glasses or they can be physically inside the classroom while virtually learning and experiencing the outside world.

Digital and virtual reality technologies make learning more interactive and collaborative. Technology advances in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality can significantly improve teacher instruction while creating an immersive learning experience for students that are both engaging and fun. Learning applications can transport students to ancient Egypt and allow them to discover and learn virtually. There are endless possibilities on how digital technology can transform education. Modern technology and innovative learning models offer exciting new learning experiences that were previously unthinkable.  Innovations in the education system can be achieved by combining and applying these technological trends. Imagine how efficient and effective learning can be if anyone can get access to personalized digital content that is delivered through online devices that are powered by augmented reality and gamification features. Who knows what the future of digital education can be when all these truly becomes a reality.

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