Digital technology has become an essential part of our everyday life and work activities. The digital economy is creating new industries, and employers seek out the digitally talented who have the knowledge and skills to drive innovation.
To keep up, educational leaders are reshaping existing e-learning policy into a broader and more organisationally-focused digital strategy that develops digital capabilities and harnesses the potential of digital devices and services.
What you can do
Our experience with colleagues in further and higher education have revealed five top tips to shape your digital strategy.
Digital technology offers practitioners exciting ways to engage with students, and efficiency gains for senior leaders. The choices can seem endless.
Adopting technology without a clear rationale or procuring the wrong technology can be costly and discouraging. Our guidance on key technology questions college leaders should ask will help leaders develop a clear strategic rationale and avoid time-consuming mistakes.
Where an established digital strategy is in place, our digital strategy review can help you decide where your organisation is on its digital journey.
Get staff and students involved
Two heads are better than one. Technology's agile nature means people have witnessed a rapid transformation in the way we work or pursue our leisure time. Think how catch-up TV has transformed the way we consume content. In a typical educational environment, it’s not unusual to find smart devices accessing multiple platforms that have an ever-expanding range of content.
Our members recognise that establishing digital capability is hard, and success can’t be left to handful of digital enthusiasts. Dr Ross Parry from the University of Leicester describes how they recognised this challenge and started the process by forming a diverse steering group of people from across the organisation to reflect together on digital capabilities.
Develop a digital culture
Our members said the biggest challenge they face is establishing a digital culture - one that will shape and support a positive attitude to digital innovation. It takes time (and hard work) for ideas to take shape and it's important that leaders create systems and processes that encourage digital-first thinking.
Our guide to developing organisational digital capability offers practical advice on taking the first steps to developing your digital culture. Your digital strategy needs to be an inclusive one and our quick guide a strategic approach to inclusive practice in education is an ideal starting point.
Speak to your stakeholders
You can be sure your students' and staff's experience with technology will have shaped their likes and dislikes. Everyone has their favourite devices or preferred software and universities and colleges bring together many professions and disciplines.
Members have found that stakeholder groups typically have different digital needs and establishing and understanding what these needs are can save time and money. Our guidance on stakeholders selecting technologies provides further advice on involving stakeholders. Additionally, our quick guide on strategic approaches to managing change can help leaders and stakeholders prepare.
Plan to develop the necessary capabilities
Put simply, a strategy is a plan to achieve a worthwhile goal. However, the most successful strategies consider the resources that are needed to achieve that goal. Our members said they found that people development must be given far more attention when adopting, embedding and normalising digital practice.
To support an Education 4.0 experience, you'll need to conduct a thorough review of existing business processes for digitisation and developing an IT infrastructure. Our building digital capability service provides practical tools and models to guide your digital development. There is also a space for leaders to share their experience with each other through a dedicated community of practice.