How is the education sector dealing with digital transformation?

Published: 26 May 2020

How is the education sector dealing with digital transformation?

In a matter of months, we have seen how COVID-19 has affected the education sector and millions of students around the world. With the rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, many countries have been forced to close nurseries, schools or universities, leaving education in the hands of homeschooling.

The saying that in every crisis lies an opportunity has never been more true, however. Perhaps it is time to start opening the doors of innovation and digitization to a sector so attached to traditional methodologies. Although it is still too early to foresee the long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the education sector, we are seeing indication that digitization could have a lasting impact on the learning methodology.

It is not that the educational sector has done nothing in matters of digital transformation, but it is still in a phase of experimentation and growth. Students and teachers are still waiting for the so-called EdTech to become mainstream. Now is the time to step on the accelerator of digitization: 

  • Is the design of the courses and the LMS (Learning Management System) platforms updated to respond to the current paradigm? Experts believe that this type of software remains the same as it was 10 years ago and that it has not been adopted to new technologies. The software contains not only outdated presentations and content, but lacks as well  audiovisual content and digital interaction. In addition, the applied methodologies do not respond to the new forms of digital consumption and the much sought-after user experience, which would help educational institutions, teachers and students.
  • On the other hand, how can educational institutions accelerate the adoption and digital transformation of the most traditional institutions?

The educational landscape has never been very dynamic when speaking about digitalization, but especially nowadays, when we are seeing that education needs to adapt quickly to keep content, trends and channels up to date. We have a hyper-fragmented education sector that has to be prepared to promote digital transformation within the private ecosystem (companies, academies, etc.) and the public institutions (schools, universities, etc.). 

The first step for companies specialized in education and LMS is to clearly understand what is happening with the digital transformation and why it is so important to build the infrastructure to suit the needs, behaviours and trends of all learning stakeholders.

What are the key factors that will digitize and shape the future of the education sector?

  1. User-centric approach to understand the complexities of this industry with so many players:
    • Teachers: The adoption and use of management platforms is key in the quality of education.
    • Students: How to adapt to new technologies? How to maintain the degree of interaction necessary to motivate learning and an easy monitoring of content? How is the user experience?
    • Institutions and their workers: How easy is the adoption of digital tools? Does it facilitate the management of students, professionals and basic administrative tasks, such as payments?
  1. Omnichannel experience: Directly linked to the above, the truth is that we are in the era of omnichannel, where the boundaries of offline and online are blurred. If the focus is on digitalization, what will happen when students will come back to schools and face-to-face classes? The introduction of digital transformation should not replace physical teaching, but rather complement and enhance it.
  1. The importance of big data: The ability to process and shape data is essential; it is already at the business level. This will undoubtedly be transferred to the educational field and will be key to creating a more modern educational system, truly adapted to the needs of all stakeholders and focused on personalizing the educational offer.
  1. Integration of the appropriate technology: As we already said, this should be adapted to the different actors that operate in this field. It’s essential to offer fast adoption and easy integration.
  1. Dynamism and agility: We are living in an ever-changing world, and now more than ever, we have learned that our lives can change in seconds. That is why agility in projects is key in adapting to new challenges, promoting them and providing solutions more quickly. Methodology and technology are decisive in this regard.
  1. More sophisticated business models: The user must become the center of the strategy. At SlimPay, we believe in the subscription models, based on recurring income, which allow companies to enjoy a higher degree of fidelity than other models and also grant some leeway when unexpected situations like the one we are experiencing occur. 

In addition, this is a model that allows you to collect a lot of information thanks to the fact that subscriptions boost repetition, which can pivot on a more personalized experience and user engagement. And without a doubt, a fundamental part of this user experience is payment, which becomes a commodity, almost invisible, and makes the service stand out. However, do not forget to have the best payment gateway to secure frictionless experience.

In short, we need to evolve toward a modern and powerful education sector that is capable of promoting continuity, fidelity and quality learning. It should be complementary to physical education in the case of schools or universities, and that favor the use of technology and content. To do this, companies must respond to technological disruption by creating new learning initiatives and adapt to the new needs of students, teachers and administrations.

Undoubtedly, it is not an easy task. But digital transformation and technology are there to serve this development: microlearning, videos or mobile will facilitate access to the highest quality knowledge for all and enable a very rapid adaptation to change.

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