Livia Mihai, Content Manager, CYPHER LEARNING

One of the biggest challenges any educational institution is facing today is keeping up with the fast-changing digital teaching methods.

The world is moving faster than ever thanks to the many advancements of technology, yet the educational system can’t seem to react fast enough.

From preschools to high schools to universities, too many such institutions are struggling to progress at the desired rate towards embracing digital. Further Education is also affected.

The thing is, changing is hard. Adapting to new technologies, new teaching practices and demands and new methods in an established organisation is even harder.

WHY is changing so hard?

There are at least two reasons that are so deeply engraved in the general mindset of what education and educators should be like that make the situation as it is.

1.Culture

Perhaps more poignant in Higher Education, where academic tradition and the quality of educational programs speak for themselves — but not entirely absent elsewhere — administrators and boards consider that what has worked in the past will continue to work in the future.

But hope and denial are not strategies. People in the future (today’s students, that is) will have to deal with even more technologies — and more advanced ones — than we have today. Learning how to navigate tech now will definitely be useful then.

2. Digital Skills Gap

Furthermore, there is an IT skills gap in both students and educators. According to a report by Hart Research Associates, many students are overestimating their tech skills, compared with employers opinions.

Even though we generally consider students to be tech-savvy, many are quite dysfunctional when it comes to leveraging online tools for in depth research and learning.

Faculty bodies have their own struggles with tech. Even though there are plenty who integrate tech in their instruction, still too many fail to do that successfully.

Just replacing paper and pen with laptops or tablets won’t cut it. The most challenging part is making tech engaging enough so that learning is transformed and students get improved academic results.

Together, these two reasons — a change-resistant organisational culture and a tech skill gap in both those who learn and those who teach — make overcoming digital challenges in education so hard. But even though change is hard, it’s not impossible.

Overcoming digital educational challenges: A success story

Any journey begins with a first step. And change is a journey. The first step in overcoming the digital challenges in an educational institution is to choose the right tech tools. More precisely, to choose the right learning management system.

The e-learning market is expanding and there are plenty of vendors out there. The best ones come with a comprehensive set of features that allow for much more than managing students’ grades.

Educators can create, deliver and keep track of the success rates of their instruction, while students can actually enjoy learning. Of course, neither such systems are perfect, as every educational organisation has its specific needs, but many of them add new features and improve their software solution constantly.

Adler College is a private bilingual school in Puerto Rico and they wanted to become a more technology learning-based institution. Adler College has been transformed from a book-based to a technology-based teaching school — thanks to an LMS.

"We wanted to create a learning community made of students, teachers and administrators, all working together to help and support each of our students, in and outside of the classroom." said Dr. Oscar Vázquez Meléndez, Chief Learning Architect at Adler College.

They chose NEO LMS. NEO offered the right tools the college needed to create a space that allowed Adler to measure the learning accountability as a result of teachers activity, and students proving that they were mastering the concepts taught. In a few years Adler College have created a learning community involving students, teachers and administrators.

Conclusion

The right ed-tech tool can help any educational institution to overcome any digital challenge. It may be hard to find the one that constantly adapts to changes within the industry while meeting the needs of teachers and students, but success stories like the one above are set to be more numerous.

Livia Mihai, Content Manager, CYPHER LEARNING

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