RIYADH: Saudi Electronic University, led by President Dr. Lilac Al-Safadi, has established the Global Trends in E-Learning Forum to enhance the future of education.

“Utilizing technologies in learning will not only improve the resilience of education but offer quality and affordable learning at scale,” Al-Safadi told Arab News.

The opening ceremony of the forum is set to be held on Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. and will last for two days under the patronage of Saudi Minister of Education Hamad Al-Asheikh in Riyadh.

The GTEL Forum will bring together e-learning educators, policymakers, technology developers, and innovators from different parts of the world to develop new ways to solve digital challenges.

“GTEL is an annual event on the most important developments, trends, technologies, and practices shaping the future of e-learning globally,” Al-Safadi said.

More than 40 speakers and specialists from around the world will attend the forum and share their insights through group discussions and seminars.

The attendees will also take a look into the current modern-day technologies used in e-learning.

“GTEL promotes knowledge-sharing and exchange of ideas and enables education policy specialists, educators and innovators to explore the shifts and changes in e-education and training methodologies,” Al-Safadi added.

The forum hopes to promote the use of new technologies within the digital transformation of e-learning, aligned with the ambitions of Vision 2030.

“The digital transformation we are undergoing is a powerful tool that enables everyone to be able to access the learning they need, how they need it, and where they need it,” she explained.

There will also be a virtual aspect to the forum online where 50 global companies will participate to further the advancements of digital education and training methodologies.

Al-Safadi explained that Saudi Electronic University is the first university in Saudi Arabia to exclusively adopt e-learning strategies and technologies in education. The university is using its knowledge and skillset to host the forum.

During COVID-19, Al-Safadi highlighted that the university made a complete shift to 100 percent virtual learning in just 24 hours.

“Our mission is to transfer the latest trends and practices in learning to the Kingdom, and to share our experience in successfully moving the entire education into virtual learning in 24 hours of ministerial decision to close schools and universities,” she said.

“Despite the disruption of face-to-face activities during COVID-19, we seamlessly switched to a completely virtual environment,” she added.

The president explained that with the shift to complete online learning the university was not only able to completely aid its students but also extended their support, expertise, and methodology to other universities.

She highlighted that they can now assist educational institutions that have always had traditional learning environments towards virtual ones.

“As the house of experience in learning, our mission is to transfer the latest trends and practices in learning to the Kingdom,” Al-Safadi said.

“Today KSA is recognized and seen as influencers and partners in international digital learning policy-making and developing solutions for local burning issues,” she said.

Al-Safadi highlighted the importance of educational institutions incorporating modern-day technological advancements into their teachings to better aid their students.

“The opportunities that come with technology stimulate learning in a way that traditional learning methods sometimes can’t.”

During the two-day forum, international participants will also share their best international practices and training in innovative technologies of online learning.

“GTEL connects local and international public and private entities with pioneering ideas in e-learning and facilitates the development of networks in education and training around the world,” Al-Safadi said.

This is only the beginning for the forum, which will take place annually, she added. “We are planning to expand our reach in 2023 and invite stakeholders from around the world to join the conversation, engage with the shifts in the educational landscape and drive the progress and development of e-learning globally even more in the coming years.”

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