8 Ways Higher Education is Embracing the Digital Transformation
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of technology into our day-to-day lives. In terms of education, we can use technology to help our learning and development. Universities have had to adapt to many changes, the Covid-19 pandemic being the most recent.
Since the start of the pandemic, many educational institutions have moved their teaching online. Virtual learning is a new alternative way for students to learn and develop. Now with the rollout of the vaccine, many students have returned to in-person teaching. But is there a place for virtual teaching going forward? We are seeing that many educational institutions are embracing the digital transformation by continuing virtual teaching. Digital teaching has many benefits for students:
- It increases visibility for teachers to monitor how students are doing. They can keep track of the flow of how students are working on their assignments.
- Digital transformation helps students to consolidate their resources into one central place. They can easily send links and documents to each other and share information.
- Virtual learning can help productivity and efficiency by working from home. Students save time commuting to and from classes. They can access online resources at the click of a button too which is much quicker than flicking through physical books.
Now we have explained what digital transformation is and its benefits. Next, let’s take a look at how higher education institutions are embracing digital transformation.
Virtual social events
Student life is jam-packed with classes, training, and study. It can be difficult to find the time to fit in social events with such a high workload. Virtual social events play a massive role in digital transformation. They allow students the chance to communicate with each other and make memories from the comfort of their own homes. Even during the pandemic, university students could make connections with their classmates while they stayed at home. There’s definitely still a place for virtual social events in the future. And we have some ideas of social events you could run online for your students this year:
- Virtual Lunch and learn
- Table quiz
- Podcasts corner
- DIY tutorials
- Master chef lessons
These social events will help students to enjoy the social aspect of college, even if they are learning from home. They’ll also allow students to connect with anyone in the world, enriching their college experience with diversity.
Even though many universities have returned to in-person teaching, a virtual orientation is a good idea. Orientation involves all the new students coming together to meet before they start the new academic year. Unlike regular classes, this can involve thousands of students coming together at one time. This can cause a large covid outbreak at the start of the year, an experience nobody wants to start with! A virtual orientation will keep numbers on campus lower starting off the year.
As well as that, many students are traveling from different cities and countries. Some countries still require people to self-isolate when they come from abroad- even if they are vaccinated. The digital transformation will support your university to host a virtual orientation. This will support the needs of students traveling from abroad. You could also opt for a hybrid event, with some students viewing online and some in person.
Of course, orientation is a right of passage for university students and we still want to keep things interesting. Be sure to check out these virtual orientation ideas to keep things fun. The buddy blind date idea sounds fun. Why not start some romances right from orientation?
Personalized learning approaches
Before college at school, the teacher makes sure that every student is on the same page. When you go to university it can be easy to fall behind and with large class numbers, as your professors can’t monitor everyone. The digital transformation allows us to take advantage of personalized learning approaches. You might be wondering, what are personalized learning approaches? They create learning plans according to what the student knows and help them to learn in their own way. So for example, auditory learners can watch a video to learn while visual learners can draw a diagram. As students are working from home, they can access more learning aids than they do in class.
Personalized learning approaches have many benefits. They help students to learn in a meaningful way and fill knowledge gaps, rather than following the teacher in class. This will also help the student feel engaged in the lesson, improving their overall knowledge retention.
Increase in data
Higher educational institutes that operate virtually have a lot of information about their students at the touch of a button. Thanks to the digital transformation we can collect this information and produce data. This data can be used to create statistics about our students and that can help us make improvements. Here are some ways we can use data to help students learn:
- Identify what areas the student groups are struggling with. If there is one area that many students find difficult we can offer more classes and support. Afterward, we can analyze the data to see if these interventions improved student performance.
- They can also give students individual statistics on their exams. This will help teachers to understand where individual students are falling at the touch of a button.
- Many virtual platforms can create attendance lists. That way you see which students are attending which classes, and how long they stay in class.
The data will help high educational institutions to better serve their students. It can be used in conjunction with personalized learning approaches to create better teaching opportunities.
Preparing students for the future
After this year, one thing is certain, virtual reality is going to be a part of our students' lives. Higher educational institutes must prepare students to use technology in a safe way for the future. Teaching digital citizenship will prepare students on how to interact online in a polite and engaging way. Many students will go through the virtual recruitment process once they graduate and search for a job. They may also continue to work online.
Digital citizenship skills cannot be gained overnight, so we need to prepare our students for the future. This is similar to how we teach our students fundamental interview or communication skills before they graduate. But now, in light of the digital transformation, virtual etiquette is more important than ever.
There are many restraints to studying abroad. First of all, you need to get a visa, and often university fees for international students are higher. Of course, there are many benefits too, like increased diversity and a new cultural experience. There are also vaccinations, accommodation, and the language barrier. For some of us, the barriers outweigh the benefits.
However, digital transformation changes things. If you enroll in a virtual university, you meet somewhere in the middle. Of course, we know that experiencing a culture online is not the same but you still have the chance to meet new people. You can experience a new university and teaching style without facing some of the barriers.
Virtual learning will make your university class much more diverse by making it open to people from all over the world. Diversity in learning has many benefits like increasing creativity and making the students more culturally aware. It also improves cognitive thinking by promoting the students to reflect on perspectives other than what they’ve always been exposed to.
The digital transformation has also resulted in students using online support. Virtual support can assist students much quicker than having to phone or go in person. For example, The University of St. Thomas has a chat and text option for students to contact a librarian instantly. If these student support services are more accessible, it is more likely that students will use them. The more the students use these supports, the more they will engage with their learning.
Virtual learning makes it much easier for higher educational institutes to collect and analyze feedback. At the end of a lecture, they can easily add a survey to ask students how it went. This will help teachers to provide engaging virtual lessons and see what students need help with. They can use the feedback to implement changes in their lesson delivery and further support students' learning.
Feedback collection is much easier and quicker online than physically handing out surveys. Many virtual event platforms can create data out of the surveys to see if there are any common themes. Not to mention, virtual surveys are better for the environment and don’t require space for storage.
How can I virtually transform my higher educational institution?
Now that you have read how higher educational institutions have embraced the digital transformation, it’s your turn. I am sure you’re ready to move some of your students learning online, after reading all these benefits and changes. The first thing you’ll need to support your change is a virtual events platform. If you’re looking for an engaging virtual events platform, try out Remo. With our interactive features, such as breakout rooms and round tables, you’ll never look back. We offer a limited free plan so you can take a look before making any payment. You can also check out our success stories to see how other customers have used our products.