Possibilities and Challenges of E-learning in the African Continent
E-learning and open and distance education is growing worldwide. There is no doubt that the experiences in each region, although different and dependent on the context, can be useful to improve proposals.
According to some market research reports, in Africa the demand for products and services for e -learning (platforms, authoring tools, content development, etc.) is growing rapidly, as well as Asia and Latin America.
The use of mobile devices and smart phones by a growing number of people could facilitate e-learning and m-learning. In a similar way, it will also be necessary to expand the coverage of broadband internet and technology infrastructure, which partly depends on public policies.
The advantages of e-learning are even more clear, both in college, academic institutions (with the help of non-governmental organizations, such as the open courses on finance, intellectual property and trade offered by the United Nations) and companies, using platforms such as Moodle, Claroline and Sakai. We must also consider that traditional educational institutions in Africa will not be able to meet the students’ demand for higher education (vocational and academic), so e-learning becomes even more important.
Paul Prinsloo, a research professor at the University of South Africa, in an article published in March 2014, emphasizes that open, distance and e-learning has the potential to "contribute to economic growth, erase inter-generational poverty and address societal injustices and inequalities on the African continent.”
The international eLearning Africa conference, in its ninth year, will be held in the country of Uganda, from 28 to 30 May 2014, with the theme "Opening Frontiers to the Future" which demonstrates the interest in using technologies in education.
Another advance in e-learning is the African Virtual University (African Virtual University - AVU) with more than 310,000 students, and a wide range of online courses.
Our desire with this brief article has been to take a look at e-learning in other contexts.
E-learning trends by Kirsty Chadwick