Challenges and Opportunities in Digital Learning: Perspectives from the Arab World

Hanadi Traifeh
Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam, Germany

Raad Bin Tareaf (Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam)
Christoph Meinel (Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam)

The plethora of challenges facing the education sector in the Arab World is resulting in significant gaps in outcome and quality between the region and countries with similar levels of economic development. However, the past few years witnessed a gradual trend of improvement propelled by an increasing adoption of digital learning. The widespread of the Internet, the increased number of mobile devices (especially smartphones) among Arab youth and the improvement of some educational institutions’ technical infrastructure, led to a thriving online education landscape. This paper provides a systematic review of Arab digital learning and MOOCs platforms, and highlights the current challenges and issues faced by learners and providers. The paper reports the results of a survey of Arab students and life-long learners about their digital learning experiences. Analysis of the survey data shows that despite its growing adoption, digital learning is still in its early stages compared to that of the developed countries. The paper discusses the identified opportunities for improvement and the potential benefits and advantages for both learners and digital learning providers. The paper concludes with a discussion of future research directions.