Challenges of Digital Transformation in Higher Education

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Transforming every sector digitally has become a sine qua non for it to successfully perform as technology increases efficiency. Technology helps in reducing cost and time therefore, it is really important to adapt to cutting-edge technology for higher education that provides seamless interfaces to students. When it comes to adapting to new technologies many challenges occur. Read this blog to understand the challenges of Digital Transformation in Higher Education.


Digital Transformation in Higher Education: What does it mean?

In higher education, digital transformation is the use of digital tools to deliver value and drive change. It is not technology for the sake of technology, but rather using technology to drive improvements and change the way things are done. The term “digital transformation” refers to the cultural, workforce, and technological shifts that are currently taking place as the diverse digital landscape influences — and changes — almost everything we do. It is not concerned with specific strategies or software, but rather with leveraging technology to improve core strategies and operational challenges.

For digital transformation to occur, there must be a foundation of leadership support. A paradigm shift to a fail-forward or continuous improvement mindset will be required for this transition. The “we tried that once before and it didn’t work” mentality is frequently frustrating. As one administrator put it, we must see previous failures as steps in the process.

When it comes to digital transformation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A CIO who understands digital transformation and is committed to the institution’s goals requires a seat at every table. This is not the troubleshooting IT director of old, who was rarely seen or heard from, but a professional well-versed in higher education processes. Digital transformation is not for the timid; it necessitates a risk management lens. The realisation that technology is the way to solve big problems and bring about widespread change is required for successful digital transformation.

Challenges of Digital Transformation

Now that we know what Digital Transformation means, let’s see what are the challenges of digital transformation for higher education:

People are accustomed to previous methods 

Since educational institutions and faculty get used to older technologies, therefore, they usually refrain from learning new ones as it will lead to a loss of time and bandwidth. It is essential to show them how newer ways are only going to ease their work and increase their productivity. Teaching them slowly and step by step will develop their willingness to learn new technologies which is a win-win situation for everyone be it teachers, educational institutions, and students. 

It is a daunting task for educational institutions 

Integrating new technologies into the system can be a herculean task for institutions as it is not just about teaching students and teachers about it but also convincing them that it is going to work out in their favour. Also, charting out the entire path for adapting new technology can be a daunting task leading to unclear direction. To ensure a clear path with measurable objectives an institution should try to keep the following things in mind-

  • What the institution wants to achieve by the end of the complete digital institution and the reason behind it. 
  • The measures, the institution is going to ensure to achieve its objectives. 
  • After incorporating the new technologies, how are they going to make the faculty and students adapt to them? 

These things will ensure a clear direction for the institution to meet its targets and have measurable objectives at the end. This will help in measuring the progress and also complete the transformation seamlessly. 

It is quite expensive

The existing disjointed systems in the institutions are not integrated well enough therefore they do not work well together and lead to scattered information and loopholes in their entire system. When the systems cannot be integrated, institutions usually refrain from upgrading their technology because it is quite expensive and time-consuming and leave this issue for the future. 

Therefore, the best way to increase their efficiency is to either upgrade to new technologies or modify the current system to integrate and overcome the loopholes in the entire system. 

Also Read: Speech on Dependence on Technology

Steps to successfully implement digital transformation 

Irrespective of the challenges, there are some ways that can help to successfully implement digital transformation for higher education

Change should start at the leadership level 

People at the top of the institution should be committed fully to a strong digital transformation that helps in progress and increasing efficiency. It is generally common to see reluctance on the part of seniors to be associated with technological transformation as they are not confident in their own IT skills. Seniors should lead by example by getting involved in every part of digital transformation.

Replacing complex systems with simpler and efficient ones 

Educational institutions usually have complex systems across various departments without any standard one in place which makes everything very haphazard be its course structure, assessment regimes, etc. Since the complexity of the systems is not challenged many things remain as they are and efficiency decreases due to red tapism. 

Therefore, it becomes essential to have standardized systems across departments to avoid complexities and increase efficiency.

Understanding the impact on people

To successfully implement digital transformation it is really important to understand human behaviour as it will be deemed successful once people become comfortable with it and adapt to it.  For this, an institution should make the teachers understand how the new system is going to ease their burden and increase their productivity. The training for the new system should be broken into small parts to make learning easy for the teachers. These small steps can help in the successful implementation of digital transformation in the institution. 

Also Read: What is the Impact of Technology on Fashion Designing Courses?

Without a doubt, higher education institutions require a digital strategy. The key is for senior leaders to play an important role in establishing a shared understanding and identifying problems and opportunities across campus while being intentional about requiring digital solutions. Standing still is no longer an option. To propel an institution forward, everyone must be on board and willing to accept the much-needed change.

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