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Global Learning Council (2021). Digital Transformation of Higher Education—Global Learning Report

Author: Custer, S., Deacon, B., Herckis, L., Hesse, F. W., Hörig, M., Kercher, J., Knoth, A., Knüttgen, N., Kobsda, C., Leiser, A., Meyer-Guckel, V., Ndemo, B., Saxberg, B., Vignare, K. , & Willems, D.
Published in: Friedrich W. Hesse, Christian Kobsda & Anne Leiser, . Berlin:
Year: 2021
Type: Book contributions and chapters
DOI: 10.21241/ssoar.73580

COVID-19 proved to be a major disruption in the lives of individuals around the world, and simultane- ously served as a driver for change. Practices and systems across all sectors have been and continue to be overhauled including the higher education system. For many years, higher education thought leaders have sought to adopt digital learning with the goal of providing more access to quality education. This effort is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Education, which calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. The rapid digital shift to distance teaching in the context of the global pandemic gave new impetus to the discourse in higher education to address digital teaching and learning. As a result, questions around the value of teaching, barriers to equitable educational access, and guardrails needed for sustainable digital transformation became pressing concerns. We the Global Learning Council, the German Academic Exchange Service, and Times Higher Education have each been monitoring this shift over the past 16 months. In search of answers to these pressing concerns, we have initiated research projects that have allowed us to bring forward the voices of educators and higher ed leaders, and to develop recommendations for a digital education transformation. We believe there is a window of opportunity to use the learnings of the past months to enable lasting and meaningful change for the higher education sector. As this report shows, the moment of crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has been able to accelerate critical aspects of this change, but has also provided a clearer picture of areas where urgent action is needed. While we understand these to be universal challenges to digital learning that affect us all, solutions for these areas need to be contextually adaptive, depending also on different educational cultures around the world. As part of this report, experts of higher learning have therefore reflected more deeply on the areas of higher education governance, digital skills training, and equitable access. Our findings also show that collaboration is key to success in the competitive global higher education system. This report is intended to enable all higher education stakeholders, education institution leaders, industry leaders, and policymakers to recognize the global momentum and use the recommendations provided to embrace the challenge.

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