• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 7 (2021)

Digitalization of Education: Models and Methods

Digitalization of Education: Models and Methods

Title: Digitalization of Education: Models and Methods
Vladimir V. Godin, Anna Terekhova

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Cite this article as:
Godin, V.V., Terekhova, A., 2021. Digitalization of Education: Models and Methods. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(7), pp. 1518-1528

Vladimir V. Godin State University of Management, 99 Ryazanskii prospect, Moscow, 109542, Russia
Anna Terekhova State University of Management, 99 Ryazanskii prospect, Moscow, 109542, Russia
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Digitalization of Education: Models and Methods

The paper examines the possible effects of information and communication technologies (ICT) on educational institutions (four directions of impacts and four axes of measuring changes—pedagogy, technology, organization, and economics). The authors propose to use four classes of models to describe all forms of technology-based education and possible transformations of educational institutions under the influence of ICT to analyze the modern experience of digital transformation: a value chain model describing the primary and secondary activities of an educational institution; a diagram of added quality chains describing the sequence of actions carried out by an educational institution; a model of the routine loop of a teacher (employee) of an educational institution, describing his/her daily activities, taking into account the use of software products and computer and communication technology, displayed at the appropriate place in the value chain; the event chain of the process, detailing the description of the routine loops of teachers (employees) and trainees, describing the logic of their actions, incoming and outgoing information, information systems used, and all types of interactions in the educational process between a trainees and a teacher, a trainee and training material, and a trainee and his own himself. As a result, a tool has been created to describe and research all modern forms of technological education and their digital transformation.

Digital transformation of education; Digital transformation of education process modeling; Technology-based education


Education, as a branch of the economy and as a system and process of knowledge transfer, is subject to the same changes that are currently undergoing in all areas of human activity under the influence of information and communication technologies (ICT). First, education as an industry undergoes digitalization processes and becomes part of the digital economy. Second, the rapid development of ICT brings these technologies to the forefront as a tool for transforming the education process itself as a system of knowledge transfer. Third, due to its interdisciplinarity, ICTs serve as an object of study and change the content of educational programs for almost all profiles.

Possible directions of transformation of education under the influence of ICT are determined by four related areas within which it is possible to monitor changes in educational organizations (EOs): pedagogy, technology, management, and economics.

Within the framework of pedagogy, one can distinguish between traditional education, technology-based education, and hybrid models as models of convergence of traditional education and technology-based education. The field of “technologies” describes the ICT used for the educational process. Changes in the organization are associated with the use of ICT for the management of educational institutions. The fourth area of change is the economic model of delivering or providing education. The changes in education in these four directions for different but interrelated dynamics that need to be studied.

It is possible to distinguish generations of technologies and link them with educational models as Taylor (2001) did: from printed materials and distance learning to electronic content and flexible learning models. It should be noted that the educational process can be divided into following phases: (1) development of educational content and its demonstration; (2) consolidation of educational material; (3) control of knowledge and activity; and (4) assessment. In this case, the technological strengthening of the educational process is mainly associated with the use of various software products for training at the appropriate phases of the educational process, for example, tutor programs and electronic textbooks, business games, semantic networks, glossaries, simulation and digital twins, subject-oriented systems, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, test programs, etc. (Gillpatrick, 2020; Newman, 2017).

Thus, the development of ICT has predetermined the evolution of forms and methods of technology-based education and the formation of a modern environment of an educational institution. The use of technology and automation play a significant role in increasing productivity in education and will continue to do so (Berawi, 2020). Specific types of such education can be described as a wide range of forms, for example, electronic self-education through video materials; training in social networks; training in virtual environments; distance learning; e-learning environments with a learning management system (LMS; e.g., Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard, WebCT, Canvas, etc.), and with a virtual educational environment (Schmidt and Tang, 2020).

A large number of studies have been devoted to the peculiarities of technology-based education. Their systematization was carried out on the basis of the Delphi expert evaluation method (Zawacki-Richter, 2009). In research scheme, there are three levels of classification of research names in the field of technology-based education. Research classes are defined at each such level:

1.  Macro—systems and theories (access, equality, and ethics; globalization of education and cross-cultural aspects; educational systems and institutions; theories and models; and research methods and knowledge transfer).

2. Meso—management, organization, and technologies (management and organization; costs and benefits; educational technologies; innovations and changes; professional development and supervision; student -support services; and quality assurance).

3.    Micro—teaching and learning (pedagogical design; interaction and communication in educational communities; and characteristics of trainees).

These three levels, with the corresponding classes of research directions, comprehensively describe and position all research and publications. There are reviews of research that match the specified levels and classes (Zawacki-Richter, 2009; Zawacki-Richter and Naidu, 2016; Zawacki-Richter and Latchem, 2018; Fermín González, 2019; Y?ld?z et al., 2020; Bozkurt and Zawacki-Richter, 2021). These reviews highlight the concepts that repeat over time. These concepts include computer, students, ICT, schools, models or training, which combine various thematic areas and concepts, and individual and collective studies.

The modern idea of using ICT in education (in the industry, in the system, and in the process of knowledge transfer) is the example of digital transformation. First, the use of digital twins, virtual and augmented reality, human-machine interaction technologies etc. transforms the learning process itself. Second, the same technologies transform the functions and processes of an EO and therefore lead to the transformation of organization into a digital business company with continuous registration and identification of events, forecasting and decision-making based on event brokers, big data analytics, cloud computing, blockchains and smart contracts, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and other technologies. This work is focused mainly on the transformation of education itself as a system and the process of knowledge transfer.

The purpose of the work is to build models to describe the digital transformation of education and educational institutions. In the total volume of the global education market before the COVID-19 pandemic, the share of any form of technology-based education varied from 1 to 3%. The forced transition to on-line education due to the pandemic has led to an expansion of the forms and the scope of technology-based education. Most likely, this will not lead to a long-term “technological revolution” (Altbach, Wit, 2020), but it may help strengthen the process of forming a small number of elite, offline educational institutions and a large number of mass online educational projects. In any case, considering the possibilities of digital transformation of education in the development strategies of educational institutions remains important and relevant. This relevance is explained by the fact that in modern conditions, the strategies of EOs are primarily determined by the capabilities of ITC used, but formulation of innovation strategy in education to increase productivity relies on both organizational and strategic innovations and innovations in information systems (Dachyar et al., 2015).


ICT are an essential driver of the evolution of the modern education forms. Under their influence, the environment of functioning, EOs themselves, and the educational process are changing. The current phase of such an impact of ICT on the education sector is digitalization.

It is necessary to solve the problem of describing the impact of processes of manifestation of the ICT on education. Since modeling is a natural and often the only way to study the surrounding world, building models of such a manifestation seems to be a reasonable way of research. The proposed types of models allow to describe various forms of educational institutions that arise under the influence of ICT and the processes carried out in them, including the process of education with the observed types of interactions within the educational environment. Generalized organizational forms of educational institutions, depending on the nature of the use of ICT in them, are shown in Figure 4. Each of these forms will correspond to a specific value chain in terms of the routine loops used and the sequence of their use in the primary and secondary activities of an EO (mapping processes in the organization and the learning process).

Comparison between value chains with the respective value chains of competitors and the average industry value chain allows to assess the contribution of already used ICTs in EOs. It also allows to figure out in which part of the business processes and functions the EO lags behind or outstrips competitors or the average indicators for the industry. For example, in a generalized form, the value chain of a traditional educational institution is shown in Figure 2. A detailed “learning process” action is represented by a sequence of routine loops: development of educational materials, demonstration of educational content, consolidation of acquired knowledge, and knowledge control. Each of these routine loops can be transformed with the help of specialized ICTs. So, an EO that has implemented an LMS is changing all four routine loops within the learning process. And it will change the scale of the appeal to students, create technological barriers for other EOs to enter the same market, change the requirements for their own teachers and students, and much more. Further detailing of the description of the listed routine loops is carried out using eEPC models (as shown in Figure 3), which allows describing each routine loop in the following aspects: event-action (algorithm), input and output information for each action, personnel units or trainee for the execution of the action, and used ICT. Depending on the goals, the described models can be constructed, first, in the “modeling object” dimension: own EO, competitor organizations, description of a medium-sized conditional EO, and second, in the format “as is” or “to be.”

The conducted research supports educational institutions in building a tool for deciding the required portfolio of ICT applications and realizing their digitalization program. Of course, when implementing this program, an educational institution should consider the applicability of the different forms of education based on technologies in personnel, technological, organizational, customer, and legal aspects.


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