A look at the advantages and challenges of e-learning in Africa - Articles

A look at the advantages and challenges of e-learning in Africa

A look at the advantages and challenges of e-learning in Africa

E-learning is a powerful innovation – connecting students from around the world to study together. This global culture is increasingly in demand as governments and authorities recognize the benefits of connecting students and professionals across borders to drive learning and the sharing of ideas.

In places like the African continent, e-learning is changing the educational and economic climate thanks to the many opportunities it brings. Although the opportunities are plentiful, there are also some challenges that could affect its efficacy.

Here we take a look at the landscape when it comes to e-learning in Africa.

What are the opportunities?

As technology evolves and e-learning expands, so do the possibilities it brings. With the WCEA CPD Platform already a busy educational hub for healthcare workers, it’s only the beginning of what e-learning has to offer Africa. More than 3.24M courses taken since launch (January 2020).

Cell phones to facilitate learning

As more people are reaping the benefits of mobile and smart devices, it could transform e-learning and m-learning (mobile learning) as we know it in Africa. With mobile phones often more prolific than personal computers, students will be able to learn where and when they want, with copious learning materials at their fingertips. Cell phones also encourage the trend for gamification in learning which creates more engaging courses and helps students better retain knowledge.

Meet students’ needs

Online learning offers a new, diverse take on education that could help to restructure traditional classroom learning in Africa. It allows students access to higher education and interesting resources across a wide range of topics to better meet their needs, no matter where they are located. Students can experience face-to-face interaction on a digital platform with highly qualified teachers and gain access to high-quality materials. This offers a huge advantage to students who may not otherwise be able to access in-person learning.

Improve inequality and economic growth

According to Paul Prinsloo, a notable research professor at the University of South Africa, e-learning has the potential to “contribute to economic growth“, erase intergenerational poverty and address societal injustices and inequalities on the African continent”. In other words, access to better education through advanced learning tools could have the power to shift Africa’s economic climate and improve inequality.

What are the challenges?

Internet Access

Internet access is still an ongoing challenge throughout Africa, but already, huge steps have been taken to bring more connectivity. Providing internet access to all students can be expensive; however, with the help of local and foreign investments, connectivity is improving every day. Kenya is home to many offices run by global leaders such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft, whose presence has already prompted significant improvements in broadband and education.

Local educational resources

Levels of investment are falling short in terms of developing local educational content, but a shift in perspective can change this. Replacing out-of-date textbooks and resources from the UK and the USA and re-focusing the attention on the incredible wealth of local culture and authentic traditions that Africa has to offer could open doors to explore diverse new content. Targeted plans can be curated for better education standards, ensuring they are in line with national curriculums and are suitable for e-learning.

Teachers need guidance

The current teaching system in Africa faces challenges such as under-education and skills mismatch with 76 percent of African students failing to pass the lowest level of maths proficiency. However, e-learning offers an incredible opportunity for teachers to enhance their skills and understand how online tools can support and assist them positively.

Striving for greater education

Despite the current challenges of incorporating e-learning into African education systems, they are strongly outshone by the abundant opportunities. Looking at the benefits e-learning offers for both students, teachers, and the economy, the future of education and training across Africa is bright. For innovative, smart online learning, discover more about WCEA.

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