Leading Change in Digital Learning Environments

Before taking this course (and this program), I believed that anyone working in education could take a leadership role in digital learning.  All it would take is a passion for learning, some hard work, and anyone could lead the path to digital change.  While passion for learning is important, I now think it takes more than hard work to create a successful digital environment (which is a very different place than a seated environment).  One must understand the inner workings of digital learning and the theories behind the environment.

As I complete courses in MALAT, I realize more and more that this is a specialized field for which we are training.  It is complex since we must learn to navigate technical issues and personnel issues.  Education is never only about the content it is also about the people in, either the physical or electronic, room.  The care for the people portion does not diminish in the digital environment, if anything the need is greater.  The leader plays a larger role in this segment of learning than I initially realized.  As stated by Castelli (2016), “sharing experiences and admitting mistakes shows the human side of leaders” (p.223).  If the leader can show his/her human side to the team members they might show their human side to the students.  In my first blog post for this course, I discussed the idea of an adopting a reflective practice (Moore, 2020, para. 4).  Now that I am near the completion of the course, I believe even more in that practice.  As the implementation of changes occurs, it is critical to look back and see what worked well and what needs improvement.  Without that reflective piece, it would be too easy to repeat errors and miss repeating the positive actions.  No one wants to do that!

At this time, I am not in a leadership role; as a result, it is a challenge for me to lead digital change.  A practice I have adopted is to make changes in my own responsibilities, ensuring that I am making the changes for the right reasons (based on data, need, organizational goal, etc.).  When the time arises that I am in a leadership role, I plan on looking back to the information in this course to help me make the best decisions possible.  I hope to use an adaptive leadership style, as described by Khan (2017), as it is a flexible style.  Motivating the team is as important as understanding the technology and the data.  A strong piece of adaptive leadership is remembering to inspire the team.

Given the circumstances that we are facing, I find it noteworthy that many people who do not speak highly of online learning are facing learning and/or teach digitally.  This course has supplied us with many tools to navigate this complicated realm.  I feel fortunate that I now have those tools and I will reach out to anyone I see struggling.  I may not be in a leadership role, but that does not mean that I cannot take what I have learned and help those around me.


Castelli, P. (2016). Reflective leadership review: a framework for improving organisational performance. Journal of Management Development35(2), 217-236.  Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/docview/1767544220?accountid=8056

Khan, N. (2017). Adaptive or Transactional Leadership in Current Higher Education: A Brief Comparison. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning18(3).  Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3294

Moore, K. (2020). Attributes of a Leader [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0108/attributes-of-a-leader/

1 thought on “Leading Change in Digital Learning Environments

  1. Hi Kathy, you’ve written such a great and reflective piece. I was able to follow and gain a better understanding of the journey you’ve taken in this course. You said it perfectly when you mentioned about being a reflective practitioner. There’re always opportunities to learn, grow, and make changes. Given the fast past and technological world we live in, how do we lead in such a way that empowers those around us to grow too? Like you, I’m also not really in a position to lead at the moment, but I’m taking all the opportunities that I can to develop my knowledge and skills so that I can be as equipped as possible when the time comes. Thanks for sharing! – Eunice

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