Even before COVID-19 changed the education sector, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology in Vietnam. In fact, homegrown edtech startups were already getting investments from both local and foreign venture capital funds pre-pandemic time.
With the sudden shift from the traditional classroom setup, some wonder whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic. Especially that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information and take less time — the changes COVID-19 has caused might be here to stay.
In this episode of Vietnam Innovators, Ruby Nguyen met with RMIT Vietnam professor Robert McClelland to share RMIT’s best practices in embracing digital transformation.
McClelland started his career as a scientist in the UK, and later found his way to pursue business learning technologies. His over 40 years of research and teaching experience at the Liverpool John Moores University opened many opportunities in traveling to Asia, including meeting his wife in Bangkok, Thailand.
Fast forward to this day, McClelland serves as Deputy Dean position for the School of Business and Management, as well as the HDR Coordinator for the College of Business and Law at RMIT University Vietnam. With his extensive background comes brilliant solutions to address the impact of the global pandemic in learning.
Opportunity to walk the talk
In early 2020, though Vietnam was not hit badly by the COVID-19, McClelland said they were already preparing for whatever the next months bring. The only alternative was to move online. And thanks to the country’s mostly young and digitally aware population, the shift was not a big of an issue, he said.
RMIT is one of the very few institutions that have successfully developed policies in introducing the future of learning in Vietnam — pushing everything online. For instance, they use educational tools that mimic social media to create a more familiar way for the younger generations to adapt. They call it blended learning.
McClelland shared they also met challenges along the way — the hesitation of students and parents in entrusting their education in digital format and how they will get value for money. But with their effective and advanced policies, highly-trained professional staff, RMIT made it all worth the while.
“With technology, you don’t necessarily need evolution; you can go through a revolution,” the professor pointed out. It means fundamentally changing and switching entirely to a new system. McClelland also shared that it has to be well-thought-through to make it happen, and people must be open to advancements.
He believes change is an important part of business and as a good manager, you have to know how to manage change.
“We are in an environment where nothing really has changed much but the way we do things is completely different. That is something we have to get used to.”