Zyanya Bejarano
Vice President of Latin America
Instructure
/
Expert Contributor

The Education Business Beyond the Local Arena

By Zyanya Bejarano | Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:41

When the pandemic prompted every educational institution to speed their migration to a virtual learning environment, it also opened new opportunities for those who could compete with programs globally. The competition went beyond the city or country level to the international arena.

Today's increasingly challenging education landscape presents an opportunity for universities to embrace change that facilitates mobile learning, study from abroad, and become more appealing to a broader group of national and international students. As such, educators are consistently required to scale teaching across a significant student base, requiring a new delivery method. This means that technology is no longer a luxury; instead, it's fundamental to improving student outcomes. 

Technologies like a learning platform or learning management systems (LMS), not only help institutions reach more people but enable them to alter pedagogy fundamentally. Through the delivery of a flexible, progressive, and student-centered learning approach, regardless of whether students are located in New York, Mexico, Paris, Brazil, or Beijing.

This year at Instructure, we conducted the State of Higher Education report, where students and educators around the world completed a survey providing some interesting findings. For example, despite infrastructure and Internet access limitations, the use of virtual learning environments is higher in Latin America (40%) than Europe/Middle East/Africa (29%), and in the U.S. & Canada (35%).

Furthermore, educational institutions in Latin America are more likely to use an LMS for communication (83%) and to conduct classes (82%) than other regions. 74% of Latin American LMS users report that they often access courses through mobile applications compared to 61% in the U.S. & Canada, and 63% in EMEA.

Beyond this study, the cautionary tale of the fast adoption of technology in the classroom is that educational leaders must know what is needed from an LMS. It is also an opportunity to think laterally, question your processes, and introduce new ideas or ways of working. This is where the magic happens, or in technology lingo we know it as “digital transformation”.

But technology won't be enough in the new era of education. The top four academic factors driving student success cited by both students and administrators in the Instructure's study are:

1) Quality of faculty (91%)

2) Engaging content/instruction (90%)

3) Available technology and hands-on instruction (both 89%) 

4) Students' psychological well-being as a socioeconomic factor that significantly influences student success (92%)

Educational institutions need equitable access to the resources and training required for high-quality teaching and learning—from educational technology to professional development. Need strong leadership at the national level to provide guidance and support to educators as they continue to navigate the shifts in education.

Educators have been asked to do so much in the last two years, from transitioning to remote learning in less than two weeks to adopting new tools and learning new ways to teach. They have felt the burden of quickly pivoting without proper resources and training. That's why professional development will help educators prepare for the next pivot, whenever it may be.

Education technology should neither hinder nor shape your vision. Instead, the best technology should open doors to better teaching and learning experiences in intuitive and accessible ways. It should give you the room and tools to reimagine teaching and learning, introduce new possibilities for simple and effective engagement, and enhance student success.

I’ve had the fortune of working with institutions around the world in their LMS evaluations. The most successful ones are those who understand that an LMS is a toolset that should help amplify the students' strengths and accelerate their progress towards overarching goals, whether improving learning outcomes, fostering innovative teaching, enhancing institution's retention goals, or boosting enrollment revenue.

The institutions that have adopted Canvas LMS tell us that our solution saves costs, time, energy, and stress of maintaining up-to-date, secure, and reliable LMS servers while achieving their digital transformation goals. At the end of the day, I believe that technology is all about making your life easier, and that's what Canvas does. When it comes to preparing our future leaders, we want our educators in Latin America to have it as easy as possible to prepare students to compete in the global arena.  

Photo by:   Zyanya Bejarano