DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AT HIGH EDUCATION: ARE PROFESSORS OF THE SOUTH EUROPEAN AND SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES PREPARED FOR THAT?
The higher education plays a fundamental role in the society transformation in all of its dimensions, namely teaching, educational management, vision and creation of business and professions. The expected evolution/transformation in terms of the potential introduced by the adoption of technology and virtual approaches to the teaching-learning process (TLP), m_learning and u_learning, are still in an embryonic state. Since, these approaches are used, professors do not sufficiently exploit their potential and the objectives for which they were proposed.
The massive use of mobile devices (MD) associated with other technologies (cloud computing, big data and social media), allows educational institutions to go beyond incrementing and updating the TLP, enabling a deeper knowledge of the stakeholders (students, professors and other elements), and in this way to predict difficulties in several intervention levels (educational, management, etc.) in institutions. In this context, the technologies presented above, pillars of Digital Transformation (DT), are driving organizations, including high education institutions (HEI), to the next level of digital customer engagement and IT-enabled business processes, products, and services.
Educational systems in developed countries have promoted strong policies and strategies to address the educational needs of the 21st century. However, these needs are difficult to implement/operationalize, namely with regard to new teaching methods in HEIs such as active methodologies that to meet the type of students which are coming to the higher education level.
As MD and ubiquitous computing technologies create a unique learning opportunities, m_learning is increasingly seen as an advantage for TLP in HEIs, since its characteristics meet the characteristics of these students, named Generation Z. Fundamentally, m_learning is based on the use of MD anywhere at anytime and the prevalent use of portable technologies facilitates the TLP when and where students intend to access learning materials. Furthermore, the capabilities of MD have led to the emergence of technologies that have opened up new possibilities in the TLPs, namely Augmented Reality (AR) and Gamification (G).
As a result, the successful integration of m_learning technologies in education require the perception of these technologies by professors, and it is possible to formulate the research question “How do professors percept the importance of m_learning in DT?”. In this context, the aim of the study presented is to investigate if professors, in South Europe (SE) and South America (SA), are using m_learning with AR and G apps, and how they can be used to promote student’s engagement inside and outside of the classroom, in particular to prepare the students for DT. To this end, the research carried out used the quantitative methodology. The selection of the quantitative methodology is justified by the need to collect the opinions and attitudes of the respondents, i.e. the study was descriptive in nature, and the data collection was carried out with the use of a questionnaire with 41 questions. From the obtained results it is possible conclude that in both continents the behaviors are quite identical in the receptivity of the use of MD to increase the commitment of the students in activities inside and outside the classroom. Nevertheless, it should be noted that SA professors have less prior knowledge then SE about use of AR and G apps on a MD.