CognizantDigital technologies must place learners at the centre of education

Digital technologies must place learners at the centre of education

The digital revolution is well under way in higher education, but selecting the right tools will determine whether institutions succeed

The Covid-19 pandemic started a revolution in education, placing the learner at the heart of the education ecosystem, according to Manoj Chawla, a senior manager at Cognizant. If they want to stay ahead, education providers need to be digitally ready and must choose the right tools to give learners the best experience.

“The whole focus in learning is towards learner-centricity,” Chawla said at a THE Live UK session held in partnership with Cognizant Softvision. The multinational technology company has spent the past nine months helping customers in higher education, education assessment and publishing meet the demands of this revolution.

The key challenge in digital readiness is “how do educators engage, how do they collaborate better with learners, how do they keep learners engaged”, Chawla said.

To assist, Cognizant has developed its four Ss framework to help education providers select the right digital tools. The four Ss are space (where teaching happens), schedule (when teaching happens), style (how teaching is delivered) and supplement (what materials supplement the teaching). “The four Ss pillars have been helping education providers across the spectrum to evaluate and pick the right digital technology tools and make all their offerings learner-centric, which is our key objective,” Chawla said.

Even though institutions need these tools, especially in light of the pandemic, they often lack the capacity to develop them in-house, said Cognizant Softvision’s head of global delivery, Matei Neagos. “We’ve seen that schools and other education institutions are typically not internally structured to deliver software rapidly, successfully or at scale.”

This is where partnerships are important. When educators and software developers work together, “the product focus team can deliver products that your users actually want”, Neagos said. This is vital because off-the-shelf solutions can do more damage than good and can deter users from adopting new technologies. “When you want to buy something off the shelf for what might be a custom process of yours, it usually doesn’t cater to a sufficient percentage of what you need, so adoption is slow, if at all,” Neagos said.

“Digital literacy is a big problem,” said Chawla, and inappropriate technology can make it even worse. “However, for learners, learning can be adapted to their digital abilities, and for educators, they effectively become learners themselves. This is about lifelong learning and learner-centricity.”

The entire session is available above and on the THE YouTube channel. You can also access all of the THE Live UK material here.

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