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Digital Transformation in Higher Education: Drivers, Success Factors, Benefits and Challenges

Galina Robertsone, Inga Lapina
Institute for Quality Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management, Riga Technical University

Abstract. Digital transformation (DT) is rapidly penetrating all spheres of human life, and higher education is no exception. This process is inevitable and ensures competitive advantage and other benefits for Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in case of success. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HEIs worldwide were forced to completely transform their working methods and go digital in a very short period. Some institutions are more successful in this transformation by possessing the ability to overcome DT challenges and combining internal and external success factors.
This research aims to identify what drives digital transformation in Higher Education Institutions, what benefits are there for them, what challenges they need to overcome, and what are the success factors of digital transformation in higher education.

Design/methodology/approach. The current study employs a two-phase methodology: an umbrella review of scientific literature and a synthesis of independent experts’ opinions using the Delphi method.

Findings. The research has identified several drivers, benefits, success factors, and challenges of digital transformation in higher education not mentioned in the previous literature. A few drawbacks of digital transformation were also recognized during the study. The COVID-19 impact on DT in HEIs was briefly discussed.

Research limitations/implications. The theoretical conclusions are based on the results of an umbrella review of the literature, which were then compared with the experts’ opinions. Future research shall be performed by analysing the current research findings with the findings from other empirical studies on the topic. More in-depth research is recommended in the field of digital transformation drivers and the adverse effects of digital transformation in higher education.

Practical implications. The research results allow management and academic personnel to have a fresh look at the factors that foster or hamper the digital transformation and further development of Higher Education Institutions.

Originality/value. The research complements the body of knowledge about the drivers, enablers, and effects of digital transformation in higher education which are not studied widely enough in the existing literature. The findings of the study provide new insight into the development of higher education in the light of digital transformation.

Keywords: Benefits, Challenges, Digitalization, Digital Transformation, Drivers, Higher Edu­cation, Success Factors, University

Authors Note
The authors would like to thank the following individuals for their expertise and contribution to this research: Jean Pierre Segers, Janis Mazais, Jelena Titko, Lienite Litavniece, Rosita Zvirgzdina, Inga Juknytė-Petreikiene, Annika Sundback-Lindroos, Armand Faganel, Muhammad Asif, Everard van Kemenade, Mikus Dubickis.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2022. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2022. 1135 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-911-1