The The Covid-19 Pandemic and Digital Transformation in Zimbabwean State Universities: Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for the Transition to Online Learning
During the Covid-19 pandemic peak, emergency online learning and investment in educational technologies became eminent for universities to remain relevant and serve their various stakeholders. Though there are several studies on the educational institutions’ responses to the pandemic, these studies cannot be aggregated as key factors such as national, cultural, institutional, and continental contexts signify fundamental differences in possible opportunities, challenges, outcomes, and implications of implementing online learning in universities across the world. This study explores the implementation of online learning in Zimbabwean State universities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The reconstruction of the quick e-learning implementation and the lessons learned can be used as a foundation to inform the post-pandemic journey into building a resilient education sector that is digitally strong to function in the future. Employing the pragmatism research philosophy that crystallised through a sequential mixed method research design, the study found that the sudden move to online learning had some digital, organisational, and pedagogical opportunities, challenges, and implications. The opportunities include improvement in the quality of education, synergy, and flexibility in learning. Challenges encompass the lack of resources, poor technological infrastructure, poor internet connections, power disruptions, and expensive internet data. The study recommends investment in digital infrastructure, training of students and lecturers, psychological support, blended learning, and incorporation of educational technology and fourth industrial revolution tools in the university curriculum such that the key stakeholder (student)is fully served while upholding quality in teaching, learning, and assessment.
Copyright (c) 2023 Favourate. Y Mpofu; Amos Mpofu
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