Professor Tsai Talks on the New Wave of Digital Learning in Time of Global Pandemic

Prof. Chin-chung Tsai, a well-known scholar in digital learning, was invited by President Jeffrey, J.P. Tsai to lecture on “Digital Learning in Time of Global Pandemic” at Asia University on November 30.  More than 100 faculty members and students attended the lecture.  In his inspiring talk, Prof. Tsai said that the outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly changed the traditional ways of learning because of the ban on face-to-face classes are banned; now digital learning has become increasingly vital. Digital literacy will become one of the most important disciplines for all students in the future.

Prof. Chin-chung Tsai was awarded “Honorary Life-time National Chair Professor” by the Ministry of Education this year, becoming the youngest recipient ever. Prof. Tsai majored in physics in his undergraduate days and then turned his attention to science education and digital learning for his MA and Ph.D studies. He has been awarded many times by MOE for his outstanding performance in academic research.  He published over 300 SSCI papers in international journals, and now is the general editors of two SSCI journals: International Journal of Science Education and Computers & Education. Serving as the Dean of the School of Learning and Informatics, National Taiwan Normal University, he leads an international research team promoting technological innovation to improve the quality of learning.

Prof. Chin-chung Tsai also said that the safety in time of pandemic crisis in Taiwan may ironically pose a greater challenge to Taiwan’s digital learning because of the relatively low demand on the innovative use of on-line study. He discerned three large challenges in promoting digital learning: first, how well the learning environment is equipped with hard-and software; second, the instructors’ openness to new challenges; third, the flexibility of teaching design for computer-aided instruction and students’ needs. These three elements will to a great extent decide whether digital learning can be effectively practiced in a real teaching and learning scenario. If the computer-aided instruction is well prepared and practiced, the learning outcome will be much greater than that of the traditional instruction. One of the benefits of this new learning is that teachers can teach more efficiently and student’s learning portfolios can be easily kept and analyzed to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

“What is learning?” Prof. Tsai asked a simple but very essential question to the audience. This question galvanized heated discussions among the audience.  Issues like E-pedagogy, standardized tests, educational policy making, project-oriented assessment, academic career planning and others were brought up and thought-provoking conversations were conducted under Prof. Tsai’s knowledgeable and sagacious guidance. To conclude, he suggested that everyone should try to integrate one’s own personal styles with the digital-aided learning, and develop one’s most creative and effective pedagogy in the classroom.