Preparing higher education for digital transformation

October 22, 2021

Leadership-CuongNguyen-Blog-post

The embarkment of the Industrial revolution 4.0 and the situations caused by the pandemic has urged organisations, especially in the education sector, to take action and be innovative in the way they operate. The global context has forced governments and institutions to transform digitally, unleashing the power of technology to stay innovative, agile, resilient and keep up with the pace. 

On September 2021, the British Council in Vietnam and the Ministry of Education and Training partnered with stakeholders in the sector to organise a conference, aiming to prepare higher education institutions in Vietnam for digital transformation. The event featured a panel discussion titled “Digital transformation – a combined effort from different stakeholders”. Our Managing Director, Cuong Nguyen, featured in the panel to discuss about the technology that enables transformation. 

A joint effort from every stakeholder

Education technology (EdTech) will redefine how education is resourced and consumed and it will be so transformative that it will ultimately change society. Having well-defined and thoroughly considered strategies is vital. There are a wide range of activities and stages in the students’ journey that technologies can be leveraged, including: 

  • Portals and applications: the use of a suite of portals and applications across the student journey, covering admissions, student information systems, loan applications and accommodation 
  • Virtual learning environment: for students to be able to study online remotely with efficiency 
  • Invigilation and assessment tools powered by AI and machine learning: participants validation in online exams with multi-point verification including face and image recognition and key-stroke pattern detection; course assessment leveraging NLP (natural language processing) and deep learning to increase accuracy and efficiency at scale 
  • Data driven decision making: data capturing and analysis tools enabling better decision making across the organisation. 

However, with the rise of emerging technologies, digital transformation presents both opportunities and challenges, which makes it not just a matter for one institution to tackle. In fact, this requires a collaborative effort from every stakeholder including governments, educational institutions and technology providers. Outlining supporting policies and legal frameworks, drafting strategies to embrace transformation, providing technology solutions, each have been key pillars to successful transformation.  

Digital transformation through different angles  

While EdTech is one of the vital keys to digital transformation of higher education sector, there were challenges regarding technology and cost that not all universities have the needed resources and investment to implement it. This leads to the question that what other initiatives that local universities can adopt, replicate or draw on to support their digital delivery. 

Sharing his thoughts, Cuong said:

“In my opinion, digital transformation is not the investment that we make all at once. Technologies and the context changes rapidly and day by day so it will be a waste of resources and efforts if we invest in something that might change soon. Instead, this should be taken gradually, step by step. We can apply the incremental model, starting with basic steps by using simple technologies, integrating with existing resources and tools for delivering lectures, assignment, communicating with students and then evolve to more advanced solutions” 

From basic technologies such as Zoom, Google classroom, etc., the institutions can gradually enrich the digital education platform to enhance students’ experience. They can start with the Minimum Viable Product approach first to create the virtual learning environment, build tools, portals and applications that support the students throughout their whole online journey. 

Cuong shared that there are various cost-efficient ways to embrace digital transformation but the key is to have a clear strategy and roadmap. Another point that education institutions should consider is their digital infrastructure as ensuring the performance, scalability and quality of digital infrastructure is essential to the quality of online education. 

Expressing his thoughts about the role that UK–VN partnership plays in supporting digital transformation, Cuong shared that compared to Vietnam, the UK is several years ahead when it comes to digital transformation, especially in the education sector. Thus, the partnership plays an important role in terms of knowledge sharing. Pioneers based in the UK will share experiences and insight to help partners in Vietnam avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary steps. Meanwhile, it is through the strong partnership that allows UK universities to have wider access and engagement with Vietnamese students and talents. 

Stressing the importance of clear strategies and joint efforts from multi stakeholders on the digital transformation journey, Cuong concluded, "if we have a strategy that is clearly defined and the right approaches to embracing technology, digital transformation should not be something we aspire to, it is available to reach out and grab now.” 

If you are in need of a partner to accompany you on your digital transformation journey, whether it is to review and recommend alternatives to how your deliver your end-to-end admissions process or how to bring the best experience in virtual learning, we are here to help. At NashTech, our agile and solution-focused approach leverages mainstream and emerging technologies to build custom software products that are robust, scalable and secure. Get in touch today to see how we help transform your online teaching and learning experience for you and your students. 

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