Tag: e-learning

By Zodidi Dano for IOL

The University of Cape Town has launched an online high school which will be doing its first intake in 2022.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng made the announcement on Wednesday at a media briefing.

“The University of Cape Town is committed to playing our part in addressing the systemic challenges facing our education system. As a result, we have taken the bold step to launch an innovative online high school in January 2022, where the academic excellence of UCT can be extended to high school learners across the country.

“The UCT Online High School will create a new opportunity for learners across South Africa to choose an aspirational school and unleash their potential,” she said.

The online high school will be opening for admissions applications on Wednesday, July 21, with classes starting in January next year.

Phakeng said the university was following in the footsteps of some of the international prestigious universities such as Stanford’s Online High School. It is the first university in Africa to extend its expertise and impact to the secondary schooling market through an innovative online modality.

The online high school which was created in partnership with Valenture Institute followed nine months of discussions, research and engagements with government and other stakeholders.

The online high school will follow the CAPS aligned curriculum.

Valenture Institute chief executive Robert Paddock said the online high school was an ecosystem that would include a free online learning school platform, extensive support, expert teachers and coaches as well as a blended learning micro school (using existing infrastructure as a co-learning space with mentor supervision).

The tuition would cost R2 095 a month. The admission fee was R200 and there was an enrolment requirement.

The school would be from grades 8 to 12. However, the Grade 12 intake would be in 2023, Paddock said.

IsiXhosa and IsiZulu would be offered in the first year but more African languages would be added as the years progressed.

Grades 8 and 9 would have 10 subjects, with subjects to be added every year. While grades 10,11 and 12 would have 14 subjects. The teacher-learner ratio was 1:30.

Paddock said the online high school was created with core principal pillars.

  • Personalised pacing – Learners would have their own crafted personalised learning schedule which would be monitored by teachers.
  • Mastery- based – no learners progressed to the next learning level until they mastered the level they were in.
  • Caring teacher and support coaches – That offered the learner individual support.
  • Support and self–discipline – Learners would be held accountable to reach their goals.
  • Science of online learning – The school was designed to address the needs of an ever-changing world.
  • Data driven – Keeping track of learners’ progression and teachers.
  • Paddock said exclusive online learning was not a solution for children in rural areas.

He said there was a free Open online platform accessible to everyone for high quality education content purposely built for online work, but the difference would be that the free online platform would not have teaching support.

On the Open online platform, learners had full access to a self-paced curriculum where they could progress at their own pace through expert designed interactive notes, videos, animations, simulations, practise assignments, quizzes and more.

UCT Chair of Council Babalwa Ngonyama said: “Entering the secondary school market with an innovative blended learning solution is certainly a bold move. But it is also a logical extension of UCT’s mission to advance a more equitable and sustainable social order.

“The university’s transformative purpose is not just to change how we do things on campus, but to renew our society and give our nation the possibility of a better future. As Vision 2030.”

 

The eLearning Indaba, an annual conference that attracts speakers and attendees from around the world to venues across South Africa, held the first of its new-format hour-and-a-half long Zoom sessions last Friday, with over 500 HR, and learning and development (L&D) professionals having registered.

Hosted by the end-to-end e-learning solutions provider, New Leaf Technologies, the webinar revealed some critical insights around accelerated digital transformation, and the frameworks needed to optimise the e-learning experience. Major trends shaping a global e-learning market said to reach R5,4 trillion by 2026 according to market research organisation, Facts & Factors, were also presented.

Guest speakers included Michael Strawbridge, Global Head of Content, Networks and Members Services for The Learning and Performance Institute (UK), and Thijs Van Zundert, partner-manager for aNewSpring, a cloud-based Learner Management System (LMS) platform developed in Holland.

New Leaf Technologies Managing Director, Michael Hanly introduced his company’s approach to digital transformation which includes a wide range of over 20 000 ready-made courses available online to engage and empower modern learners with training interventions, delivered on any device, using an appropriate and didactical approach. Hanly said that by creating content and providing state-of-the-art learning technology, the company aims to grow people and their business.

According to Strawbridge, effective e-learning can lead to closing skills gaps in a business environment. The solution to this challenge lies in creating social learning opportunities, supporting business through change, upskilling in data and data analytics, and building a learning culture, with digital transformation at the heart of it all.

For effective e-learning to take place, Strawbridge presented six equally important, key priorities to consider: It is essential to have the right and relevant technology to support the latest learning methods; that a wider skill set is needed, encompassing technology, organisational and soft skills, as well as identifying proper work models to meet these skills requirements; that leadership must be adept at motivating and galvanising team members, communicating the potential of people and technology to respond to challenges and opportunities; to have a focused capture and use of data for valuable insight, linking learner performance with company goals, and garnering foresight that predicts learner behaviour which optimises outcomes; that there has to be a collaboration/shared cultural element, where people’s learning needs are understood and they feel empowered via this learning environment. And lastly, that there must be a strong foundation of infrastructure to keep learning in step with digital transformation.

In his discussion on how to help students/co-workers prepare for e-learning and training, Thijs Van Zundert pointed out the similarities between training for work and a marathon; that there is very little difference between them! He reiterated the need for determining and setting clear goals, creating a proper game plan, keeping loved ones informed and involved (as their support is tantamount to success), and ensuring one has the right program, equipment and materials to successfully complete learning goals.

According to Van Zundert, there is massive benefit in getting advice from people who have done it before you, to be realistic about the amount of training and work you will be able to get through and to keep pushing yourself to succeed. By learning to enjoy the e-learning process, the task will become fun, informative and will inevitably be a truly rewarding experience.

Given the rapid rate at which digital learning systems are currently evolving, Hanly forecast ten trends to follow in order to align your L&D strategy with your business. These include:

1. LaaS (Learning as a Service), is provided as an end-to-end solution that encompasses managed L&D services for a set monthly fee.

2. LXP (Learning experience platforms), a learner-centric, socially enabled environment that provides a personalised gateway to an organisation’s learning content through a familiar and searchable interface

3. Mobile learning, where using mobile devices allows learners quick and easy access on the go

4. Employee engagement, which strives to keep content relevant and interesting

5. Content curation, which continually updates relevant, carefully curated and well-organised content

6. Personalization and adaptive learning; targeting and addressing individual needs, providing the right training materials, and introducing training interventions at the right time

7. Immersive technology, like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) help enhance learning mediums and provide an immersive e-learning experience

8. Video-based learning – the use of video for online lectures, virtual classrooms and web conferencing heads up the digital transformation trends for 2021

9. Artificial intelligence facilitates highly personalised learning pathways by analysing the data it collects, which can then be used to understand the learner’s interests, proficiency and competencies

10. Proctoring; AI-enabled, remote invigilation, that allows students to write a test online in any location, at any time, while maintaining the integrity of the assessments taken.

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