Digital learning in Malaysia
What is a digital learning?
Digital learning is a learning facilitated by technology that allow students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace. With the advancement of technology, policymakers had encouraged the use of electronic medium to teach students. It can deliver lessons to students at schools and higher institutions will be fast and efficient. Normally, students will download instructions and digital content from the platform to facilitate their own learning.
However, as mobile technology getting advance, it allow the adoption of digital learning is becoming mainstream. A mobile device allow student to access more learning materials and books soon will become obsolete as digital ownership is getting mainstream. Learners in the 21st century can easily access to their lessons easily and efficient because digital learning allow them to access to the digital materials remotely and learn at their own pace and fully control their learning paths.
Advantages of digital learning
Digital learning provide many advantages as been highlighted by experts and educational psychology. Here are the advantages:
Bill Gates love personalised learning for his children. Experts had noted the benefits of personalised learning like contextualised learning can increasingly be tailored based on the learner’s own passions, strengths, needs, family, culture, and community. For example, one on one tutoring is a good example of personalised learning, but it is expensive. The shift to digital learning can be beneficial like a tutor can free up his or her time to address individual and small group needs. Also, the opportunity to customise learning sequences for each student will make education more productive. Special needs will be more quickly diagnosed, learning gaps will be addressed, and progress will be accelerated.
Expanded learning opportunities
Digital learning is democratising learning opportunities worldwide. Access to full and part-time online learning allow every student access to many world languages, college preparatory curriculum, and advanced studies. It is remarkable that thousands of university courses by the best professors are available for free to anyone with a broadband connection like Apple iTunes U and Openc Culture platform. However, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) already allow students to learn on their own pace and fully controlled their learning path with a minimum costs by paying for certification like Coursera, Edx, iVersity, and Futurelearn.
A student show what they know and progress based on demonstrated mastery not results – based. This is known as competency-based learning which is based on learning to master a subject which was advocated by Salman Khan, the founder and a CEO of Khan Academy. Therefore, it need to be flexible and need to support individual progress. A dynamic grouping, workshops, and project-based learning can add lots of collaborative learning to an individual progress model as a way of assessing a student’s competency of the subject – matter. This is because competency-based learning is hard to monitor and manage of individual’s progress on scale, but it is easy on paper and pencil.
Digital learning powers collaboration. Collaboration will be an important skill in the future as the world is getting more borderless and getting specialised. Therefore, digital learning will encourage collaboration between virtual teams to work on common goals that encourage productivity, better problem solving and innovation Social learning platforms like Edmodo make it easy for teachers to create and manage groups. Also, collaborative authoring environments like Google Docs make it easy for teams (near and far) to co-author documents and presentations by sharing files.
Digital learning in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the government policy encouraged incorporation of technology as part of their teaching from schools to higher institutions. However, there are still a gap between schools and the higher institutions because since the beginning of the MOOC that encouraged elite universities to join them. Among them will be the University of Oxford and it is growing because of high tuition fess and ballooning student debts. Malaysian higher institutions already implemented the digitalisation of education where discussions can be done through online forums, email, video lectures and assignments with a platform known as Blackboard. It increase the ease of learning of students and outreach of educators. Their purpose is to open learning through democratisation. Also, there is Open Learning, a digital learning platform which was started in Sydney, Australia which was encouraged by Malaysian government for the higher institutions to adopt Open Learning for students benefit.
However, the rates of penetration for schools are slow and stagnant despite the ministry policy and the government’s budget. School teachers never use the technology to supplement their teaching despite research showed that pupils can learn and retain information of what they have learn. According to OECD which administered the PISA test showed schools in the OECD nations, teachers don’t use technology to supplement their teaching and planning of their lessons.
But, a telecommunication company like Digi had adopted the MOOC platforms like Udacity and Lynda even Coursera through partnership through their initiative known as Digizens Academy to encourage its employees to learn and become innovative so they can adapt into the digital world to keep up with the fast changing landscape in the cyberspace. Also, their company’s main goal is to encourage their employees to become lifelong learners that will be beneficial to the company in the long – run which is be more innovative in terms of company’s outlook and be more competitive so that Digi can stay ahead of their competitors. This company managed to increase their talent retainment and scout for higher performance employees among their company’s departments and encourage intrepreneurship to sustain their company as part of Digi’s main objectives by cutting down the cost of hiring and training of fresh graduates through their management or fresh graduate initiative.
Therefore, digital learning will be the mainstream of education as the benefits can be harness if it is implement properly. This is because digital learning will prove that mastery learning will be important because it can equip skills that our future generations need for the 4th Industrial Revolution.