8 Ways to Implement Digital Learning Strategies

Digital learning strategy is the use of various digital platforms such as online portals, podcasts, blogs, articles, videos and the social media to enhance learning. Since education is a continuous process, everyone delights in the opportunity to keep learning with limited barriers of time and space. The internet and other digital tools have come in handy to aid unrestricted learning for young students, employees, teachers, and business people.

Everyone can take advantage of the digital assets available today to learn in whichever style that is convenient for them. People who want to earn a university degree have the opportunity to enroll in any accredited online institution.

Digital learning is powering education and training across the world. In the U.S., for example, a fully sponsored university running by the name University of the People, has been operating online since 2014. Millions of people are graduating every year with high school diploma and college degrees through digital education.

Digital learning has also enabled entrepreneurs and employees to access various learning resources for their own personal development. For instance, TED-talk is a video-based digital asset in which tutors and experts across the world can post their educative videos. A marketer can use some of the TED-talk videos on marketing to sharpen their marketing skills without paying tuition fees.

However, Africa is relatively slow to adapt to the new digital reality compared to the rest of the world. Perhaps we need to rethink how we implement digital learning strategies to maximize the potential of this new cyber environment. Here are 8 ways through which educators and institutions should implement successful digital learning strategies in Africa.

1. Have Clear Learning Objectives

Every digital learning platform should be based on clearly defined objectives. When starting up a digital asset such as e-library or e-learning website, you must be sure of what you are trying to achieve. Who are your target clients or audience? Students, entrepreneurs, schools, or government institutions?

Make your objectives specific, clear, measurable, and attainable. Rather than starting an online library of 1,000 books with no purpose whatsoever, it is better to stock 20 accounting ebooks targeting specific learners, such as accounting students in Kenya. In this regard, a digital learning strategy should be focused. It should restrict content based on the specific learning objectives and needs.

2. Management and Administrative Support

In the case of education, a digital strategy should be supported by ministries of education and school administrations for it to be successful. Digital strategy is a concern for multiple stakeholders, so it requires a good vision from the top. Senior officials in the learning institution should create a vision for digital learning and communicate it effectively to win the support of other stakeholders. A good vision and an effective communication strategy lead to sustainable digital learning strategies.

For example, if a school principal wants to initiate the use of projectors in a school, he or she should communicate the importance of the new strategy. Teachers should see the need of using projectors at the expense of white boards or chalkboards. The head teacher should also help teachers and students in the process of change by offering necessary training and technical support. This management support enables students and teachers to appreciate the new digital technology.

3. Develop learner-centered digital platforms

When developing a digital strategy for learners, ensure that it is user-friendly. The designs and technical specifications of the digital tools of learning must be easy to use and simple to navigate. For example, the projectors should be easy to project, even by students. A technical support staff should always be available to show the learners how to use the new digital platform. Communication is also key in promoting a good user experience in the digital learning strategy.

4. Promote a Digital Learning Culture

The strategic objectives and values of the learning institution should also incorporate the concepts and behaviors of digital learning. Tools and support culture should be integrated into the institution’s overall strategies to enhance an integrated culture of digital learning.

For example, when you want to implement the use of projectors in the classroom, ensure that the goals of using projectors are aligned with the school’s mission, vision, and motto. The school’s vision might be to attain a 100% transition of students to the university. In that case, the digital learning strategy of using projectors must be focused on improving the performance of each student to reach at least the minimum university grade.

5. Establish Digital Learning Partnerships

You may need to establish partnerships with other schools, learners or institutions to maximize the outcomes of your digital learning strategy. As an institution or individual, you will notice that you need to practice what you learn through digital platforms in order to learn effectively. Thus, partnership will help you share ideas with peers and develop new positive behaviors. For instance, the use of YouTube and other digital videos for learning may need the learner to go further and discuss the content of such videos with other peers in order to make the learning more complete and memorable.

6. Maintain Teacher-Learner Relationship

This digital learning strategy works well with young learners. When working with primary school and secondary school learners, communication between the teacher and the student is essential for effective learning. Do not be so overjoyed with the capabilities of digital learning that you start neglecting your responsibilities as a teacher or tutor. A teacher is a coach. You cannot run a digital programme successfully without having personal contact with learners. Teachers should facilitate the learning process, whether through digital or blended learning.

Therefore, planning for any digital learning strategy should allow teachers and learners to interact. If the learners are to use a video to learn, there must be a teacher around to guide them as they watch the video. This enables them to ask questions where they don’t understand.

7. Monitoring and Evaluation

Now assume you have decided to use videos and projectors to teach in the classroom. You have all the tools you need – laptop, tablet, and the projector. How do you know that the new technologies are actually helping learners improve their learning according to the objectives you have set? There should be a way of measuring success. It is not enough to implement a digital learning strategy just for the fun of it.

To measure performance against the set learning objectives, teachers and school administrations should assess the progress of learners consistently. Teachers should know the academic progress of their students, in terms of grades and behavior. The school administration should also monitor the development of the digital learning strategy.

Other measures used to determine the cooperation and technology skills of learners include student survey, focus groups, and other similar measurement approaches.

8. Patience and Persistence

If you measure the performance and see no or negative progress, do not make hasty decisions to write-off the digital learning strategy. Sometimes change takes time to take effect. You may eventually need to call it quits if the digital strategy does not work at all. But trust me, digital learning strategies always work if they are implemented in the right manner. Give it time to materialize and become part of the school’s culture.

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