Learn2Grow (Hong Kong) -technology for better education
David Daoud is the CEO of Learn2Grow, an educational technology company established in Hong Kong and active in South East Asia. He is also the initiator of a loose collaboratively network of professionals in the region, called EdTech Club, that is extending globally from word to mouth. For this episode of Ideas Shots, David entered in a conversation with Adina and Alec about education and the impact of technology in this domain.
Education technology is a relatively new term for an already established practice: delivering educational programs using digital platforms.
David is specialised in both creating content for already existing digital platforms, and in consulting on the adoption and adaptation of platforms to newcomers in the game. The shift from content creation to platform integration happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. As David says “Prior to the pandemic our clients were those already accustomed to digital learning platforms who needed content that we provided. During the pandemic, a lot of smaller clients couldn’t deliver education face to face, and had to move to digital. For them, the concept was relatively new”. However, David goes on saying the the term itself is not really new, dating from 20-30 years before.
During the pandemic the type of clients changed towards small and medium companies. David explains that those who are most successful in the process of adoption are those who understand that the technology itself brings a transformation in the meaning of education, and those who are not looking for quick fixes in order to move the analog in the virtual. The transfer is almost never as straightforward as it seems.
Those potential clients who looked for a down and dirty solution to continue to train their employees from the distance, overlooked the question of how the learning itself changes with the medium. If they did not sought to understand how the method of the transfer of knowledge itself changes with digitisation, they failed the transition.
Relying on technology to find solutions for human problems is not the answer. Technology is a facilitator, not the answer, and this must be integrated in any approach that aims for a successful digitalization. The importance of human factor in the process of change is amply discussed in the conversation, with inputs from Adina and Alec who emphasize the three points for a successful transition to digital learning: good material, the spark that drives one to learn, and the excellent technology that would drive the spark.
Speaking of the spark, another important factor that is moving clients towards learning in digital spaces is simply the fun that may come with it. The clients are looking for a better experience in the learning space, more exciting, less boring!
And this is where David’s company makes the difference. Overlooking the process - and the fun of it - and concentrating only on the result is in fact counterproductive in learning. And with Education Technology, the beneficiaries learn through the process not only the content of the course but also how to relate with the new technology. It is a double folded process.
One important conclusion of the conversation is that the digitization should not constitute the strategy of the company itself, but the strategy should integrate digitization as a means to improve the operational objectives and the processes in the company.
Or, as David puts it, people start talking about solutions before understanding what their real needs are.
Speaking about the local market, Southeast Asia, David offers a detailed account of the different ways in which countries in the region relate to education technology, from Hong Kong to Singapore and India. He thinks that while the region is not yet leading, it will be in the near future. Contrasting it with USA, Australia or South Africa, the readiness of the population to engage in digital realm is different, with the latter being more accustomed to live virtually, due also to architectural particularities - the conversation unfolds towards discussing urbanism, learning and virtual spaces. At the same time the cultural approach to work - a much less common free-lancing scene - makes that digitization in general is less developed in SE Asia. However, David thinks that things are about to change, and that the region will soon know a boom in this domain.
The conversation concludes on an optimistic tone for both learning and digitization, and with delineating clear paths and responsibilities for a fulfilling life.
Digitization will continue to grow and offer opportunities for learning at any age, and it is the responsibility of the individuals to engage on the path of learning. At the same time, it is the responsibility of corporations and government structures to create the environment in which learning is encouraged, stimulated, and compensated, and the technology can play a pivotal role here, too.
Last, but not least, learning must be a collective effort that does not discriminate on age or any other criteria, since both old and young dogs can learn new tricks in a digital environment.