The pandemic has upended the entire higher ed experience—here’s how to navigate continued digital transformation

2 key factors in higher ed’s digital transformation


Top 10 of 2021: The pandemic has upended the entire higher ed experience—here’s how to navigate continued digital transformation

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student support, retention, the post-pandemic campus, and online or hybrid teaching strategies. This year’s 6th most-read story focuses on two critical parts of digital transformation.

While most industries are becoming increasingly digitized, higher education remains noticeably resistant to digital transformation. Although higher education offers some options for virtual learning, the majority of programs still rely on in-person education. Online learning platforms are also falling behind and need upgrades to expand accessibility. Higher education has been rooted in the ability to attend in person, both for classes and for campus experiences.

That is, until the pandemic created upheaval and transformed the entire experience. In a matter of days, higher education institutions had to adapt to online learning for students, virtual appointments for student services, and remote working for staff.

Now, 75 percent of adults believe that education will fundamentally change as a result of the pandemic. That includes an increase in virtual and DIY learning opportunities, as well as remote work for professors and staff. These changes will fundamentally impact how education is delivered, and also will impact who can access it. What will this new environment look like? What is the impact on universities and colleges for students and staff? Although much remains to be determined, there are key trends emerging in regard to the future of higher education.

Future of virtual learning

There’s no denying that virtual learning will play a larger role in education and its digital transformation going forward at all levels. This is something that’s been part of the education system for years, but without any great need for improvements, virtual learning systems have remained relatively unchanged.

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