Digital Education as a Factor of Sustainable Development during the
Isolation Period
Tatyana V. Mazaeva
and Alsou M. Aydarova
Department of Philology, Naberezhnye Chelny Institute, Kazan Federal University, 68-19 Mira Ave, Naberezhnye Chelny,
Keywords: Digitization, Digital Education, Edtech, Teaching Techniques, Isolation Period.
Abstract: The article under consideration investigates various types of digital education, their resources for efficient
knowledge acquisition and the transformation of teaching profession during the isolation period as a factor of
sustainable development. The goal of the research is to determine the teaching strategy under new conditions
and its objective is to examine the digital resources, their peculiarities and methods of their application in a
particular learning situation. To meet their goal the authors resort to the method of search, sampling and
systematization of the received data with a view to anticipating future strategies. The hypothesis of the
conducted research: a great variety of digital resources can and should be integrated into the traditional system
of education to achieve the utmost desired effect under new circumstances. The advanced hypothesis is
confirmed in the course of the analysis which helps the teacher to update and adjust the procedural framework
and propose further steps of development.
The isolation period made the world face new
challenges that were dramatically to change people’s
customary lifestyles as well as to affect and transform
many spheres of human activity on a global scale such
as politics, economy, medicine to name a few. It set
sweeping goals for education in particular, as it took
both teachers and students by surprise in high schools
and universities. The system of education had to
respond to meeting these challenges in force-majeure
circumstances maintaining efficiency and quality at a
high level. Cutting-edge technologies have
undeniably become the indispensable part of our
everyday life, education among them, but to combine
them with meeting educational standards in the
shortest possible time span sounded like ‘Mission
Impossible’ for many educators. Most educational
institutions were unprepared to realize e-learning
programs to its full extent despite the rapid
implementation of digital technologies in economic
and social spheres. This forced educational
experiment needs careful consideration since it has its
strong and weak points.
b 0000-0003-3790-0777
The goal of the research is to determine the teaching
strategy under new conditions and its objective is to
examine the digital resources, their peculiarities and
methods of their application in a particular learning
situation. To meet their goal the authors resort to the
method of search, sampling and systematization of
the received data with a view to anticipating future
strategies. The hypothesis of the conducted research:
a great variety of digital resources can and should be
integrated into the traditional system of education to
achieve the utmost desired effect. The advanced
hypothesis is confirmed in the course of the analysis
which helps the teacher to update and adjust the
procedural framework and propose further steps of
Mazaeva, T. and Aydarova, A.
Digital Education as a Factor of Sustainable Development during the Isolation Period.
DOI: 10.5220/0010594305840588
In Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure (ISSDRI 2021), pages 584-588
ISBN: 978-989-758-519-7
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
Digital education is a broad notion, which includes
online courses as part of distance learning,
application of new technologies, such as big data
analysis, artificial intelligence, computer-assisted
teaching, robotics achievements, etc (Bilyalova et al.,
2019). In school and university education it is realized
generally in the form of distance and e-learning
(Bagateeva and Aydarova, 2019). These terms are
often treated as equivalent, but distance learning is
mainly defined as the interaction between a teacher
and a student at a distance that includes all
educational components (goals, methods, teaching
aids, etc.) and is conducted through information and
telecommunication network (Strakhova et al., 2019),
while e-learning is intended to deal with information
as part of data base and is to apply information
technologies to process this information and transmit
it among teachers and students.
On the one hand distance learning doesn’t require
either a teacher or a student to be attached to the place
where the lesson is conducted, as long as
communication occurs on a virtual platform. The
student can allocate time to studies as he sees fit and
keep his own pace which builds awareness and
motivation. Moreover, distant technologies give
opportunities to attract high quality educators and
researchers who upload online seminars, master
classes, so the students can tap information from
different sources, have a broader outlook and
multidimensional knowledge and vision in general
(Makarova et al., 2018).
On the other hand, only face-to-face contact
enables a student to learn the information at first
hand, ask questions and have a heated debate,
socialize with the peers; live communication is more
effective to build team spirit and feed students’
imagination. There is no denying either, that distance
learning calls for discipline and responsibility on the
part of the student. Depending on the age group,
students need to be more or less supervised by the
parents, parental involvement in the process cannot
be overlooked. What exacerbates the process of
learning is that it’s more challenging for students to
concentrate on the subject under consideration
working online, the atmosphere at home is not always
conductive to studies and the teacher has to take more
pains to keep the learners stimulated. Unsurprisingly,
students need to take time to grow well-adjusted to
the new form of learning, therefore education experts
highly recommend to stick to the same routine they
used to keep before the quarantine. The teacher also
has to invest more time devising a lesson plan,
integrating visual aids, presentations, interactive
games into the normal class routine in order to spark
excitement for learning. Lack of proper visual contact
makes distance learning cumbersome so far. Besides,
the bleak truth is that, unfortunately, many low-
income families face the financial problem of
providing the child with his own PC, laptop or tablet,
so the child has to share it with other family members.
This and absence of high-speed internet connection
make the process of learning inconvenient and
complicated (Matrusova, 2020).
The negative points seem to outweigh the positive
ones, but the state of affairs only conveys public
concern, anxiety and preoccupation with the
challenge everyone is compelled to meet. There are
some issues that still have to be examined to be rated
as having either a negative or positive effect. For
example, some experts argue that distant learning
improves students’ performance in schools as long as
the workload for a day is comparatively less and
children find it easier to cope with assignments. Yet,
opponents of this view maintain that this is a far-
ranging issue and its consequences are to be evaluated
All the problematic issues induced by the isolation
period can be subdivided into several groups:
1. Organizational (related to the general policy of
organizing educational process; means of interaction
of its participants, i.e. teachers, students, parents;
means of interaction of authorities of educational
institution with educators.)
2. Information and competence-oriented (aimed at
building information competence of the participants
of educational process that will be sufficient to
achieve the desired effect in teaching and learning
under the given circumstances as well as the
preparation and representation of the teaching aids
and the course content in digital resource.)
3. Program-planning oriented (connected with the
change in curriculum, the shift of industrial work
placement and practical training for later periods,
replacement of practical training for academic
4. Content-related (the conversion of the learning
material into e-form, restructuring of the contents of
the academic programs and devising upgraded lesson
plans to meet the goals and contribute to the effective
knowledge acquisition).
Digital Education as a Factor of Sustainable Development during the Isolation Period
5. Teaching techniques-related (the determination
of the most effective ways of educational interaction
in e-learning format).
6. Material and technical (providing access to
computers with the Internet connection for the
participants of the educational process in need).
As far as the forms of digital education are
concerned, the following trends have become
extremely popular in school and university education
during the isolation period most notably:
a) Massive open online courses (МООСs). During
the corona virus period there was an upsurge in
demand for digital educational resources both in
Russia and all over the world. This format that
originated in 2008 supported by international
universities has got a new lease on life and proclaims
the idea “Education for everyone”.
The switch to distance learning helped it to
become the most popular trend of the spring 2020 and
the statistics suggests itself: in 2020 the number of
online courses amounted to 13 000 of users, and the
audience of five largest MOOCs only comprised 100
million of users. In Russia the interest in MOOCs has
soared dramatically in comparison with many other
b) Zoom and video platforms (for school
E-materials and teaching aids are not sufficient for
proper knowledge acquisition: nothing compares to
personal communication with a teacher to perceive
and process new information. Apart from classic
services with video calls virtual classrooms are
gaining more and more popularity. They are specific
in a way that they represent a uniform ecosystem
which enables the teacher to conduct conventional
group lessons in combination with one-on-one
sessions. Among other things the teacher can turn on
the demonstration of presentations and learning
materials, homework, and make good use of a virtual
pointer with the blackboard.
c) Inquiry-based learning
The framework of this trend suggests that the
student takes the lead in the process: he becomes
much more initiative, whereas the teacher’s role shifts
from “broadcasting” the knowledge to performing the
function of “a conductor”, the one who motivates,
challenges students to delve into details and makes
them leap into action. This format implies total
initiative from opting for the course of study down to
the learning and processing of material on one’s own.
It became extremely popular in quarantine because of
the limited communication opportunities with the
teacher. As for Russia, this type of learning was
sought-after in corporate and business environment
before the isolation period. Nowadays the switch to
distance learning has spurred school and university
educators to implement this approach. Education
experts and scholars agree on the idea that the
elements of this approach can be integrated into
education process for future use.
d) Mobile learning (m-learning)
This is a gadget-based approach. Most EdTech
projects are trying to adapt the content for mobile
phones to make it none the less comfortable to use
than on a computer. Reportedly, more than 90 million
Russians go on the Internet using smart phones and
tablets daily. UNESCO gives special support to
effective introduction of mobile technological
solutions in education. They created an online
collection of resources to realize school initiatives in
m-learning. In international EdTech conference
EdCrunch experts select the best educational mobile
applications within the competitive program. VR/AR
technologies, gamification and interactive
approaches are used in these applications.
Actually, the initiation of strategy BYOD (bring
your own device) in school and university education
is gaining more and more popularity all over the
world, when students use their own gadgets, such as
smart phones, tablets, laptops for educational
purposes. It enables institutions to cut costs for
equipment buying and makes education more
e) Flexible learning
This format suggests customized and tailor-made
approach where the student himself can design his
own educational pathway. This technique focuses on
face-to-face teaching without hard and fast rules.
Some Russian universities endorsed and launched
projects where students can partly determine their
own learning pathway. EdTech projects contribute
considerably to personalized learning as well.
f) Blended learning.
Blended learning is a combination of online and
offline. As a consequence the student works one-on-
one with the teacher and also benefits by making use
of online services. A series of face-to-face lessons is
accompanied by webinars and expected to have a
general chat room for students as well as enabling
students to use other online platforms. Currently the
focus of blended learning is believed to be shifted
online, though one cannot underestimate the
significant key role of traditional offline education.
The perspective of further exposure of blended
learning in post isolation period depends on schools
and universities initiative and the steps they take to
implement programs in terms of teaching techniques.
g) Flipped classroom
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
This format originated in 2000 by educators
Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams. It’s one of the
types of blended learning mentioned above and
appears to be one of the most easy-to-organize
educational practices. Students master academic
knowledge on their own at home, asking questions
afterwards in the classroom, trying to clarify and
work through difficult points, doing exercises and
laboratory assignments, conducting research and
practical experiments under teacher’s guidance.
h) Learning management system (LMS)
This trend is going to be the major type of distance
learning at schools as MOOCs imply
conscientiousness, awareness and accountability of
learners, more appropriate for adult students in
universities. Modern LMS can embrace blended
learning and allow to create customized courses, sign
students up for a course or opt for the course, consider
educational analytics, assess different indicators,
make predictions, highlight the weak points. Owing
to these technologies it is possible to conduct
personalized learning which focuses on an individual
according to his abilities, strong and weak points.
This is a type of education based on the
application of cross-subject and the applied approach
where five disciplines are integrated into a single
system of learning: S - science; T - technology;
E - engineering ; A - art; M – mathematics. STEAM-
related projects in Russia come with booming growth,
where educators teach students top-notch
technologies and engineering, programming and
robotics based on their own methods in the form of
workshop sessions. They aim at introducing project
activity into the process of learning.
j) Digital teacher
The isolation period betrayed the necessity for
teachers to master digital technologies in the process
of education. The demand for specialists with digital
skills is sure to be on the rise. According to statistics
of National Center of Financial Research the index of
teachers’ digital literacy constitutes 87 out 100 points
possible, which is a sufficiently high indicator. The
lowest indicator has the sub-index of 78 related tothe
attitude to technological innovations’. It measured
skills of handling modern gadgets and applications.
The results also reveal that Russian teachers acutely
need methodological support and counseling on how
to apply modern EdTech services most efficiently.
k) Teacher significance
Despite the enhanced growth of digitalization one
can hardly imagine any process of education without
a teacher. The isolation period has definitely affected
teaching and accelerated the creation of teaching aids
and multimedia content online. According to National
Center of Financial Research more than 70% of
teachers faced the increase of workload particularly
during the isolation period.
How can a teacher get ready for the
implementation of digital education?
Firstly, to familiarize oneself with the idea of
online courses, a teacher can take a course himself.
This experience will allow him to get acquainted with
the course format, evaluate the presentation of
content and point out common mistakes to avoid them
later. Secondly, it’s worth investigating which
platforms and devices the school or university has to
offer so that the teacher can see the big picture and
start devising lesson plans in advance. Thirdly, it
seems only rational for the teacher to introduce
elements of digital education even without its across-
the-board implementation. Making good use of
resources that offer role playing, games, quizzes will
help to keep pace with modern life and maintain
students’ motivation. Finally, keeping track of the
current situation in education on the state scale will
make the teacher keep abreast of recent changes and
use courses or programs of continuing education.
Thus, the growth of digitalization in educational
sphere appears to be the most notable. The
implementation of modern technologies that enable to
learn and teach online as efficiently as in a
conventional classroom is what the future has in store
for us. Blended learning and inquiry-based learning
are supposed to become the most popular. The
question whether technologies will be able to
substitute for a human teacher seems to be rhetorical.
The advocates of traditional education prefer to deal
with a human who passes on knowledge and
experience to the child. In the post quarantine world
the profession of a teacher will still maintain its
importance, although it will undergo some changes.
Individual educational pathway will be of paramount
importance in future. Teachers will go on mastering
new tools more actively after the quarantine, they
have to become students themselves to some degree
and upgrade their digital skills, while the teacher’s
role in educational process is going to transform as
well: the significance of a teacher as a mentor will
gain momentum and his function is going to be to
challenge students, guide the process of learning,
instruct learners to process information, search for
and find new solutions. As far as online educational
platforms are concerned, education officials admit
Digital Education as a Factor of Sustainable Development during the Isolation Period
that before the quarantine they were mainly
technically designed and projected by programmers
without regard to teachers’ technical skills. The given
situation makes specialists reconsider this attitude
and create the platform for students and teachers to
cooperate effectively rather than create an IT-
solution. The involvement of methodologists, school
and university counselors and content specialists is
mandatory under the circumstances. Meanwhile,
educational services have an opportunity to
restructure current formats and put to test new ones
and win larger audiences. Even if public involvement
decreases after the quarantine, the registered users
will still stay on a platform. All things considered, big
reforms are under way in all spheres of social life and
if history repeats itself, tried and tested methods will
come in handy, if it hopefully does not the
technologies of distant learning will be in demand
with some groups of students or even schools.
The work is performed according to the Russian
Government Program of Competitive Growth of
Kazan Federal University.
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ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure