Technology has been making its impact known in every sector over the years, and the impact of digital education on educational institutions is not left behind. Technological advancements have led to developments in the educational field at a steady pace that seems to go unnoticed; most times. However, the sharp shift in social dynamics has necessitated a more noticeable change in an educational institution in recent times.
Students are increasingly looking for easier ways to study, adopting various methods to improve their academic lives. From hiring writers to help them with their essay assignments to augmenting lecture notes with video resources on YouTube, the list is endless. Now that the norms have changed, the educational institution has to embrace digitization in its activities.
The first question that this article will answer is the meaning of digital education. The University of Edinburg’s Institute for Academic Development defined digital education as “the innovative use of digital tools and technologies during teaching and learning, and is often referred to as Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) or e-learning.”
This definition implies that the impact of digital education goes beyond the traditional description of learning to encapsulate other innovative technological methods used to facilitate learning. The rise of digital education has been impactful on educational institutions over the years as it brings a myriad of benefits. However, before getting to the advantages, we would briefly explain the forms of digital education and their peculiarities.
Forms of Digital Education
Digital education has been categorised in different ways into several forms, but most of that differentiation fall under these three forms:
Online learning is the form of learning whereby teachers and students communicate over the Internet without being in the same place. This form of education has increased access to education over the years and allowed more people to learn at their convenience. The main feature of online learning is that the teachers and students use technological tools such as computers, smartphones and the Internet to teach and learn.
Today, the disparity between online learning and physical learning has been reduced to the barest minimum.
This form of digital education is also known as hybrid learning. It is a combination of physical and online learning. For example, teachers sometimes supplement lectures in physical classes with instructional materials sent over digital platforms. Some of the technological tools used include video conferencing, learning management systems, learning content management systems, discussion forums, etc. Education under this type of learning system usually takes place in the form of synchronous and asynchronous learning. An example is flipped classroom whereby lecturers send videos and instructional materials to the students before the class and interact with them physically.
Under the blended learning system, students can also take their discussions online and interact with one another and their lecturers.
Distributed learning is an amalgamation of the previous two forms. It refers to the online part of blended learning or fully online distance learning. Under this system, the most important aspects of learning are done online.
The Benefit of Digital Education to the Educational Institution
There is still a lot to be explored when examining the impact of digital education in the educational system. However, no argument can ignore the fact that the digitization of education has brought immense improvement to the educational institution. Here are some of the benefits digital education brings to educational institutions.
The undeniable fact is that the more digitalized the educational system is, the easier it becomes for all the stakeholders. You can be in your bedroom and be attending a class by eight in the morning. This flexibility allows students to manage their time well and improve their productivity. Furthermore, there is no physical constraint or social barrier to stop a working person from learning a new language by watching the class’ videos during their lunch break.
Many people have concerns about the distractions caused by digital education, as students can ignore their academics when more exciting things pop up on their phones or laptops. The reality, however, is a bit different. While attending classes can lead to academics getting side-lined, it also improves assimilation. Students can attend lectures at their leisure and go back to recorded lectures to listen again.
Teachers have also learned to use learning enhancers such as visual aids to help understand concepts being discussed and improve the concentration of students. Digital education has also brought to popularity the idea of personalised teaching whereby teachers can customise learning content according to the needs of each student.
Little to no time constraint
One thing you must know is that digital education fills the gap in physical education. It solves the problem of time constraints, allowing students to learn when they are at their best. It also allows people who have other obligations and cannot go to school physically to do so while attending to other duties. This flexibility has brought about more inclusivity in education.
Other beneficial impacts of digital education on educational institutions include improved communication between the students and the teachers and among the students themselves. It also enhances students’ writing skills as they have to do a lot of their communication through writing.
Challenges of Digital Education to the Educational Institution
The growing influence of digital education on the educational institution is not without challenges too. Some of the problems faced include that:
- People find it difficult to adapt to changes;
- There is a lack of skills necessary to utilising digital education;
- Access to digital tools is limited for some people, especially in low-income countries; and so many others.
Summing It All Up
Digital education has reshaped the educational institution from what was a privilege for those who can afford the time and financial requirements to what is now available to most people. While there are still several challenges facing the sector, the future looks good if the pros continue to rise above the cons.
Laura Fields is a writer who places a great level of attention to the topic of learning. She believes in the advancement of the education field, thanks to digital developments. Laura is passionate about providing students with all the materials they need to succeed in their learning journey.