There is no doubt about it … education has to change. After the disruptions caused by the pandemic, South African schools have been forced to accelerate their transition and give serious thought to online learning solutions. We chatted to Accelerated Education Enterprises (AEE) group project development and marketing officer, Bridget Ward, about the future of online education in SA.
During the past 18 months, many schools and dedicated teachers have poured their hearts into adapting to teaching through applications such as Zoom and Teams. “These teachers need to be applauded. It’s been demanding and not easy! Despite this though, we are unfortunately beginning to see that this model is not sustainable. Teacher burn out, learner fatigue and sliding results are alarm bells that need to be heard,” says Bridget.
But there is good news. Technology provides a way forward and real solutions to the strained education environment. Research shows, however, that the pivot to the online environment requires more of a transformation than simply using meeting facilitation software.
“We must ‘leap frog’ over the process of simply delivering content to learners, to land in a place where learning and significant progress can be achieved in a sophisticated online environment that leverages advanced learner management systems (LMS), learning materials and teaching methods that are based on research and proven to work in the digital environment. In addition, training and professional development is crucial to equip teachers to operate in a transformed environment.”
Bridget says the great news is that an efficient online learning solution can be implemented in a school or homeschool environment. One of the key success factors is ensuring that the curriculum (per subject, per grade) is divided into pre-loaded modules of study that are presented in an age-appropriate and user-friendly way. This enables learners to easily navigate content and media-rich support materials. It is also important, she says, to have regular online assessments of smaller units of content, to ensure that deep learning is taking place.
“Assessments must be developed specifically for the online environment and leverage the advantages of technology. In addition, face-to-face teaching time through scheduled lessons, which could take place physically at school or at home, as well as individual, one-on-one interventions add to the enhanced education environment and ensures that no learner is left behind. These modern learner management systems (LMS) also provide for efficient and automated administrative support, such as automated marking of quizzes and assessments, pre-loaded lesson plans, digitised learning materials, collaborative project structures, daily progress reports, automated and individualised feedback, and flexibility to build supplementary work into courses.”
Bridget says artificial intelligence used to track progress and analyse data over time means that the individual learner’s trajectory and potential can be understood, learning gaps can be identified and personalised interventions can be developed which give each individual opportunity to excel. “Technology is opening transformative possibilities for a new way of achieving excellent and future- orientated education.”
Accelerated Education Enterprises (AEE) specialises in providing innovative, individualised, education solutions. They provide curriculum learning material and e-learning solutions for both schools and at home. Their COMPREHEND AFRICA product is a complete solution built on a world-class learner management system used by reputable organisations. A South African, CAPS-aligned programme is available as well as an international programme. The content is wholesome and values-based, ensuring that positive character traits are nurtured alongside the learning process. Christian schools and families can choose a Bible-based programme that provides a Christian education option.
Details: Contact Comprehend Africa for a live or online demonstration, 087 820 4858, [email protected]