A Learning Design Model for Africa?

Digital education products and platforms are often brought into Africa from more advanced digital societies such as the United Kingdom or the United States of America. While these products could be world-class and highly effective in the markets they were developed, they have not been conceptualised with the societal, cultural  or technological contexts of Africa schools and learners.

Dabbagh and Bannan-Ritland’s  Integrative Learning Design Model, posited in their book Online learning: Concepts, strategies and application (2005) is a pedagogical approach that aims, through a series of phases, to decide on the most  appropriate learning technologies and  learning strategies required to achieve a specific learning objective.  The three phases of exploration, enactment and evaluation form a circular model, with the learning developer situated at the centre. Each of these phases have a number of tasks or actions that need to be completed. I have illustrated them as circles within the larger circular framework in the diagram below. Continue reading “A Learning Design Model for Africa?”

The FRAME Model for developing mobile learning products

The Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) is a useful analytical lens to develop engaging, pedagogically-sound learning via mobile phones. It provides an understanding of the context of the learners as well as being a tool to test existing assumptions. These assumptions could include the types of devices learners have (feature phone, smartphone or both), the access they have to these devices and the level of connectivity and appetite for data usage they may have. The social aspect of the learners use of mobile devices is also a primarily concern, particularly in relation to their potential learning. Continue reading “The FRAME Model for developing mobile learning products”

MOOCs and Skills Training

In recent years, a global increase in access to the Internet, a demand for quality and affordable higher education and the willingness of some international higher education institutions (HEIs) to experiment with Web 2.0 tools and concepts, has resulted in the substantial growth of Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs).

These courses allow for new ways of learning skills and gaining accreditation and, as such, offer much in the way of skills development.

In this section, the concept of MOOCs will be introduced and their application for digital media skills training explored with reference to some of the major  resources available.

MOOCs: An Introduction Continue reading “MOOCs and Skills Training”

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Disruptive Change or 21st Century Innovation?

In recent years, a global increase in access to the Internet coupled with a demand for quality and affordable higher education and a willingness on the part of faculty at some international higher education institutions (HEIs) to experiment with Web 2.0 tools and concepts has resulted in the substantial growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The growth in these courses is driven primarily by issues of cost and access, as outlined by Cathy N. Davidson in her article ‘Are MOOCs Really the Future of the University?’. In parts of the developing world, in particular countries in Africa, an already-existing skills shortage is exacerbated by limited access to HEIs and the sometimes prohibitive cost of obtaining a degree. In contexts such as these, MOOCs have been proposed as a potential solution. However, the utopian vision put forward by proponents of the system – free, quality education delivered online – is countered by anxiety from some faculty members at HEIs, focused predominantly on what this would mean for the traditional university system.

Continue reading “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Disruptive Change or 21st Century Innovation?”

Using digital storytelling to teach English Language skills in South African schools

Education standards at some schools in SubSaharan Africa is poor, with mathematics and literacy highlighted as key problem areas. According to the report Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all (2014), published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Education (Unesco), almost half the children in this region had difficulty reading at a basic level.

This issue  is reflected to a large extent in South Africa. The Department of Basic Educations’ National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU), in a 2012 report, highlighted the fact that almost three quarters of scholars at schools evaluated in South African could not read at a normal level. This was attributed to a number of reasons, including a lack of reading content available in classrooms. Where schools did have books, these were often locked away in a store-room or only available for use for short periods in the class. Coupled with this is a large percentage of teachers with limited subject-knowledge and a general “lack of understanding … of what it means to be literate, and the specifications of the official curriculum” (NEEDU, 2014:10). The report concludes that programmes are needed to develop literacy and English proficiency and that for “language and the content subjects scholars should write at least 4 times a week” (NEEDU, 2014:11). Continue reading “Using digital storytelling to teach English Language skills in South African schools”