Canada Association of Tourism Employees

How Digital Transformation Leaders Can Change Organizational Dynamics

Digital transformation: initiate, act, maintain

The digital transformation is all the rage these days as education and training is digitized, regardless of whether it is a K-12 or a university context. Traditional lectures and physical materials are being replaced by interactive activities with synchronous and asynchronous lessons in different LMS, not to mention the multimodal display of knowledge and skills. Teacher training is no longer limited to workshops where specialists sit together and enjoy a cup of tea. Instead, they also exchange professional ideas with cyber coffee in cyberspace.

In fact, the digital transformation is taking place much faster in various educational contexts than in the past. To be successful, we need to build a collaborative and forward-looking team of teachers in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases. Instead of a one-off transformation, the role of digital executives changes the culture and future of the company.


In the planning phase, analytics are usually used to analyze learners’ needs. However, not everyone may recognize the needs despite hard evidence, likely because some SMBs or less ambitious educators have failed to repeat the concern. As leaders of digital transformation, we should always firmly believe that digital transformation, when properly performed, is an inevitable part of meeting the needs of 21st century learners. To get the team on board, they could be shown stories of successful transformations as well as how they were in the team leader’s own classroom with evidence. The successful transformations on a local and international level combined with official guidelines would help teachers recognize the vision and needs of digital transformation. Once the culture of sharing is built and examples are shared, they can better visualize the transformation and align themselves with the visions they want to achieve.

After the vision is agreed, we go from why to who, what, when and how. The concrete planning, including the results of the digital transformation and the schedule, could be determined. Some optional outcomes might be included for the able or ambitious educator, while setting the prerequisites so the whole team knows what the basics are and what to do if they want to stretch. Both physical and human resources could be specified to alleviate the worries of those who take longer to adapt to the transformation.

One notable point is that sharing experiences can be a success or a failure. During innovation there are successes and frustrations. Open sharing could inform the team during the ongoing renewal that frustrations are inevitable but will bear fruit in the end. It is this openness that enables the team to share the passion for digital transformation and recognize the legitimacy of the lead in leading the change.


Ongoing support plays an important role in building a collaborative and enthusiastic team. In addition to the workshops, additional individual or cluster mentoring could be offered for improved and remedial measures. There could even be regular peer moderation sessions for exchanging ideas, and the sessions could put the team in charge of the transformation. In this case, the responsibility for leading the digital transformation is gradually transferred from the team leader to the entire team, which really sows the seeds. The digital transformation is not an isolated case, especially given the new normal in the post-COVID world. In the long run, it would be an advantage to provide the team with this mentality.

Once the teachers are open to the exchange of ideas in the community of practice, the dynamics of the organization become more alive. Since digital transformation is seen as an unprecedented bold move, there are too many variables such as the teaching style of teachers and the learning style of students, and learning modes vary in synchronous and asynchronous environments. The instructional design in higher education and K-12 are also completely different. Regular check-ins during implementation allow educators to see a broader picture and opportunities and prepare them for the next wave of innovation in a different context.

Dream big, but start small. It is recommended that you use a convention that educators are familiar with. For example, authoring tools like Nearpod are easier to get started with because they can incorporate existing PowerPoint materials that will be used by the educators. Padlet could also replace the students’ writing on the board. Throughout the transformation, don’t forget to express appreciation, and like with learners, a bite-sized transformation can help them develop a sense of accomplishment. So start off simple and small and make sure the chunks are manageable.


In addition to sharing and presenting internally, it is now far more common to celebrate national and international success through webinars and virtual professional sharing communities. The digital transformation is simply taking an unknown path. It’s not uncommon for learners to be more creative than expected, and some transformations can produce surprising results that were unknown to us at the planning stage and lead us to the next innovation. The chemistry in exchange opens doors to numerous development opportunities, since cross-institutional projects could possibly mean more human and financial resources in the next transformation.

The next mini-innovations could also be led by aspiring EdTech executives. The role of digital transformation executives, rather than leading a one-time successful innovation, is to build a ladder for EdTech’s future executives and a digital transformation culture within the company.

With the above suggestions in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases, I am sure that the dynamics of the team and ultimately the organization could be changed to create a cyberspace that truly meets the needs of 21st century learners.

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