Leveraging low-code to strengthen education institute’s digital ecosystem

-By Bharath Kumar B

As institutes reopen campuses, a new way of operating emerges, with digital at its core. It’s now a universal truth that technology is more than just an enabler—it has evolved into a necessity which helps organizations thrive in this era. 

The metamorphosis

The education sector has come a long way in its digital journey—from being heavily dependent on paper, and handling data collection manually to adopting remote learning and taking online assessments. 

Institutes are also realizing that going digital goes beyond hosting virtual classes. The industry has reached a stage where modern institutes are looking at reengineering their processes. This will help them enhance their digital ecosystem and make their operations more efficient and data driven. 

Modern institutes are recognizing that a digital-first mindset can help them pour their energy into what they do best—share knowledge and enhance learning. Routine tasks can be automated, and processes can be reimagined. These processes can range from admission management, library management, and timetable scheduling to communication, event management, examination control, accounting, and other admin tasks. This will give them more time to focus on essential work, like curriculum design and student experience. 

Current challenges and the sweet spot 

Currently, schools and universities face two primary bottlenecks in progressing in their digital journeys: First, the education sector has preexisting, rigid legacy infrastructures which become a hurdle when introducing new processes. This is because traditional infrastructure doesn’t allow the user to add new modules easily or modify the existing ones without any technical expertise. Second, they don’t have large IT teams, but the demand for custom applications from different stakeholders keeps rising. This overburdens the IT team. This is where low-code technology can be leveraged by institutes to overcome these challenges and create a digital-first approach to education. 

When it comes to the education sector, the sweet spot lies at the intersection of technology and pedagogy. This is why the sector needs a solution that not only tackles the challenges mentioned above but also helps enhance the experience for students. Additionally, some aspects that can be made more efficient with the help of digital technologies which becomes hurdles in the sector are: the communication gap between students and teachers/professors, a lack of instant report generation, the inability to make data-driven decisions, weak IT guardrails, and loss of data.

Enter low-code.

This technology helps individuals with little or no coding experience to create applications and solutions with the help of a drag-and-drop visual builder. But why has it become so popular? A good analogy for low-code would be to think that what Canva did for design, low-code will do for application development. Low-code helps individuals automate and build solutions faster, and they don’t need prior developer experience—just business logic. 

Every institute has an “X factor” that’s unique to that particular organization, and that is what makes them successful. A prominent pro of low-code is that it respects the uniqueness of institutes. Going digital with low-code is much more than just automating processes—some platforms even give institutes the ability to build complex, scalable, and highly customized solutions. Additionally, many low-code platforms aid cross platform availability, as one doesn’t need to spend time creating a separate mobile app; it’s automatically available.

Keeping pace with the VUCA world

While most restrictions have been lifted and schools and colleges are gradually opening up, institutes must still contemplate a looming fourth wave. The crucial question? Where do we go from here and what’s the next stage for us? 

Many believe that the future of education is hybrid: a mix of in-person classes and virtual sessions. However, there are two aspects that can make or break a hybrid education system. One, if there is a discrepancy in the pedagogical coherence between students and instructors. Two, to mitigate digital burnout, a balance has to be struck with an optimal use of remote learning to be able to provide students with authentic social experiences and peer-to-peer learning, as well as socializing. 

At the end of the day, it’s about the experience shared by students who are digital natives—which is why technology must play a vital role going forward. This could include classes becoming more immersive, the expansion of networking and guest lectures, more efficient operations, automation of mundane and repetitive tasks of teachers and admins, or going paperless with digital solutions. EdTech is the future—and low-code ensures that institutes can keep pace with the times. 

The author is the head of marketing and customer experience for Zoho Creator. 

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