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Accelerate with the brakes on

15th September 2020

Recent pulse surveys across the education sector has highlighted a vast range of digital maturity states across campuses globally. There are both benefits and pain points to implementing new technologies at speed and many universities and colleges have found themselves accelerating the future of their technology and working practices quicker than resources allow. But do the advantages of this really outweigh the disadvantages? Is there not a better way to meet these challenges? How can you achieve digital maturity at a rapid but safe speed?

COVID-19 forced campus closures all across the world and as a result education was forced to change dramatically with a distinctive rise in e-learning. E-learning however is not new, the term has existed since 1999. Older still is the concept of online education. This notion is over 170 years old and originates from a correspondence course offered in Great Britain where the instructor sent lessons and received students’ completed assignments by mail. Thankfully we have come a long way since then, but recent events have precipitated a move towards remote teaching, and at a rapid pace.

It has been long established that communication and engagement are key to attainment and from growing in popularity and use over the last ten years it was recently documented in a report following the ‘The edtech Sofa Sessions’ that tech platforms are now the second most popular communication tool after email. 

The recent rise in demand for such technologies has increased ten fold but not all solutions need to be completely new. Aggregating the information a student needs on a daily basis and presenting it in a single interface simplifies access and reduces complexity. Surfacing and managing existing key information systems in one easy to access place reduces resource requirements and project implementation time. Introducing new systems may seem to offer your institute the solution it requires but in already unfamiliar territory the risks of further uncertainty are great when done at speed.

Whether education is delivered entirely online or via a hybrid learning model, a socially-distanced environment is one that we are faced with, and that means institutions have no choice but to adapt.

Now is the time to accelerate your digital strategy to achieve digital maturity and you need to do this at a safe speed ensuring you have the freedom to move at a pace that suits your organisation and goals. Going too fast or too far away from your current provisions risks your strategy failing fast too. The optimal way to achieve success is to implement some out-of-the-box technology that you can evolve over time. You should seek to take on board feedback to continually evolve.

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