Australian education institutions have long been early adopters of technology; however, the pace of innovation and development continues to increase, making it challenging for education providers to know where to invest and what to focus on.
Education institutions face challenges around maintaining student numbers, especially as the higher education sector has suffered from COVID-19 border closures. They must also operate as efficiently as possible to remain sustainable, while delivering excellent teaching and learning outcomes.
Konica Minolta recently surveyed education providers from a range of sectors including early childhood, primary and secondary, and tertiary education institutions.
DID YOU KNOW?
Despite many educational institutions wanting to invest in ways to improve teaching and learning outcomes, only 47 per cent of respondents said their organisation already had a digital strategy, even though the acceleration of digital has grown exponentially in the past two years and will continue to do so into the future.
Why educators need to have a digital strategy for systems and process improvement
The rate of innovation and development in technology is only increasing. That means that education providers can’t afford to remain static when it comes to the technology they use to manage the organisation and to provide teaching and learning. Doing so raises the risk of being outperformed by competing providers and, more importantly, failing to adequately prepare students for the world of work.
Determining which areas to focus on will depend heavily on the organisation and its budget, as well as the socio-economic background of the students. Providers in more affluent areas may be able to focus on emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing to deliver immersive and impactful educational experiences. Meanwhile, those in more economically challenged areas may need to focus on helping students increase their digital literacy.
And, it’s not just teaching and learning systems that education providers need to focus on. Back-end business processes can be automated and streamlined to reduce administrative costs and complexity. This can help organisations focus more time and budget on developing teaching and learning materials and methods to deliver better outcomes for students.
With education providers relying heavily on any number of paper-based processes, digitalising and automating these can have a significant impact on the organisation’s productivity. Using effective intelligent information management (IIM) solutions to do this can free up staff members’ time to work on more valuable tasks.
The case for moving away from paper
Placing increased emphasis on the benefit of digitising processes in the education space, Konica Minolta’s survey also revealed that most education organisations are labouring under a heavy weight of paperwork:
This indicates that these organisations might be wasting time on paper-based and manual processes, providing a significant opportunity to save both time and money through automation. And, when factoring in the amount of paper used in the typical non-digital classroom, it becomes clear that education providers could dramatically reduce waste and improve their environmental sustainability by developing and following a digital strategy.
Paper-based processes also create risk when it comes to continuity of education. When educational institutions were forced to pivot to online learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic, those with a heavy reliance on pen-and-paper activities suffered the most. By contrast, those that had already started experimenting with online learning and digital solutions were better positioned to make the transition seamlessly.
Creating an effective digital strategy for education providers can be challenging. However, doing so can position education providers to operate more efficiently and effectively, deliver better educational outcomes, and grow sustainably. Konica Minolta works with educational providers to help devise and implement digital strategies. To find out how we can help your organisation, contact the team today.