Learning design in African Higher Education

Presenters: Sandhya Gunness, University of Mauritius, Jerome Dooga, University of Jos (Nigeria), Nicola Pallitt, University of Cape Town (South Africa)

Time and Date: Wednesday 20 September 1 pm SAST

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Many higher education institutions are adopting some kind of blended and/or e-learning accentuating the need for the learning design of educational materials. There are variances in how colleagues in universities across the African continent define the meaning, processes, roles and work of learning design and learning designers. In this session, a panel of individuals involved in learning design in different capacities at their institutions will report back on the survey results in progress below and respond to the following questions:

  • What does learning design mean at your institution?
  • Who does it?
  • Which design processes are used? This may include particular models (ADDIE or other formal models) or approaches.  
  • What kinds of work do you think the role of ‘learning designer’ entails?
  • Does such a role exist at your institution?
  • If this role (or roles) does not exist, is there a similar job title where people do this kind of work? i.e. instructional designer
  • How do learning designers in Africa enter into this role or profession?
  • What kinds of professional development opportunities exist for local learning designers?  
  • Is learning design different to teaching with technology or technology integration? How so?

Call for participation:

We invite you to share a perspective from your country by completing this short survey https://goo.gl/forms/ZolTfgVeiELQsiEk1  Share media to expand on these answers using an online mode of communication of your choice on the Facebook page for this event. We would like to crowdsource these along with your responses to be used in the following ways:

  1. To be reported on during the online seminar – event facilitators will work with the e/merge Africa network conveners to collate your responses and media for insights on emerging trends, similarity in approaches across countries, etc.
  2. Shared during our workshop at eLearning Africa
  3. For research and evaluation purposes conducted by the e/merge Africa team

You are welcome to use any mode or media to supplement your responses to the google form survey. We’d particularly like some videos or photos. But more generally, anything that can be created with an app or software that can be shared on Facebook that expands on your written response. Share your media on the Facebook page.

Tool suggestions:

Screencast-o-matic for narrated presentations or screencasts: https://screencast-o-matic.com/download

Vocaroo (flash-based voice recorder): https://vocaroo.com/

Suggested photos:

Images of colleagues engaging in a learning design process, a screenshot of an online course at your institution, students interacting with online materials inside or outside of the classroom, lecturers collaborating on or designing materials


Sandhya Gunness is a lecturer in the Open and Online Learning at Centre for Innovative and Lifelong Learning at the University of Mauritius. She teaches Primary and Secondary level teachers about OER and technologies so that they can improve their teaching practices. This is formalised through an online module delivered within the BSc Educational technologies programme at the University of Mauritius. She is currently doing research on the extent of teaching transformations and whether this can be sustained in Mauritian Schools through Open Educational practices. She is also interested in Collaborative Networks and how these are linked and enhanced through Open Educational practices.

Dr. Jerome Dooga is an English Lecturer at the University of Jos in Nigeria. He is the e/merge Africa Regional Coordinator for West Africa and Commonwealth of Learning (COL) eLearning consultant to the School of Education at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). He trains fellow academics in Jos in the eLearning Fellowship programme to use technology for teaching and research. He holds a PhD in English and received postgraduate training in Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town. Jermons has presented research papers at various fora in a range of African countries and has published widely in the field. He is also co-authoring and editing a book on technology in African Higher Education and has won national and international awards for e-learning.

Dr. Nicola Pallitt is a lecturer in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town. As part of the unit’s course and curriculum design team, Nicola is involved in a variety of curriculum innovation initiatives and assists university staff with blended and online learning design. She co-teaches on programmes in educational technology and assists with staff development workshops. Nicola is a member of the e/merge Africa team, an online professional development network for educational technology researchers and practitioners in African higher education. Nicola’s research interests include ePortfolios and multimodal assessment, digital games and game culture in the Global South as well as the intersection between culture, learning and technology. She is passionate about the study of digital social interaction and participation in various contexts more generally, although she is currently mostly involved in Higher Education.

Please sign up for this session here:

Seminar series: Researching Culture, Learning and Technology (CLT)

Presenters: Session 1: Angela Benson, Leshell Hatley, Deepak Subramony and Joe Terantino
Session 2: Bodi Anderson, Amy Bradshaw, Akesha Horton and Michael Thomas

Time and date: Two part seminar with two one hour webinars. First webinar: Tuesday, 17 October, 1pm SAST (South Africa), 6am – 7am CT (US) and Thursday, 24 October , 1pm SAST (South Africa), 6am – 7am CT (US)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Interested in exploring the intersection between culture, learning and technology? This 2-part seminar will be presented by members of the AECT Culture, Learning and Technology (CLT) Division. The first seminar will provide an overview of different types of CLT research, introduce frameworks for researching CLT and the importance of this kind of research. The second seminar will discuss international examples of CLT research that represent the types discussed in seminar 1 and illustrate how particular frameworks were applied and/or how the practice was situated. The diversity of students in African Higher Education institutions and elsewhere means that researchers are well placed to start exploring this intersection in their own contexts. Sign up for this seminar series and join a growing global conversation! Everyone who signs up will entered into a contest to win a free e-book version of the edited volume, Culture, Learning and Technology: Research and Practice. One free e-book will be given away at each of the two seminars.

Representative Chapters
Select HERE for full book details 

  • Revisiting Instructional Technologists’ Inattention to Issues of Cultural Diversity among Stakeholders
  • Hip-Hop Music as a Pedagogical Tool: Teaching with Hip-hop in Global Contexts
  • How cultural factors influence the use of social constructivist-based pedagogical models of distance learning: Examining Japanese online collaborative behaviors
  • Culture & Computational Thinking: A Pilot Study of Operationalizing Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) in Computer Science Education

Resources for interest:
AECT-CLT Virtual Community

Speaker bios & profile pictures:
Session 1: Angela Benson, Leshell Hatley, Deepak Subramony and Joe Terantino

Angela D. Benson (Ph.D., Instructional Technology, University of Georgia) is an Associate Professor at The University of Alabama in the US. Her current research investigates the role of culture in technology-mediated learning spaces. She has published more than 40 academic publications and presented more than 50 academic presentations, primarily addressing issues of power and politics in online learning environments. She regularly teaches courses in instructional technology foundations, instructional design, online course development, software development and technology management. She has also facilitated more than 50 educational technology workshops for higher education faculty and staff, including a recent session with 30 Chinese scholars in Shenyang, China. Dr. Benson is one of the editors of the book, Culture, Learning and Technology: Research and Practice, and President of the Culture, Learning and Technology Division of AECT.

Joe Terantino (Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition & Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida) is Director of the Language Resource Center at Brown University. His expertise lies in teaching methodology, second language acquisition, distance learning, and computer-assisted language learning. As a passionate user and researcher of instructional technology, he is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and the development of intercultural competence.

Dr. Deepak Prem Subramony is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Educational Technology (ET) Graduate Programs at Kansas State University’s College of Education. His areas of scholarly interest include social/cultural issues in ET, equitable access to ET, the impact of ET on minority and non-Western learners, as well as culturally cognizant ET practice and change management. He has been closely associated with the CLT Division’s predecessor group Minorities in Media (MIM) since more than a decade ago, and served as MIM’s President from 2007 to 2009. In 2014 he received the CLT Division’s McJulien Scholar Award. Currently he is serving as the CLT Division’s President-Elect Designate.

Leshell Hatley Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD and is the Founder and Executive Director of Uplift, Inc., a nonprofit STEM education organization. Uplift offered the first mobile application development course to middle and high school students in the US and is one of the first organizations to offer after school courses in Lego Mindstorms Robotics in Washington, DC. She and the students in her research lab at Coppin State, the Lab for Artificial Intelligence and its Applications (LAIA), won the 2016 USA White House HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Maker & Innovation Challenge and she recently led the first Coppin State Team to compete in the NASA Swarmathon. She is a passionate computer engineer, educator, and researcher who continuously combines these three attributes to create innovative approaches to teaching STEM concepts to students between that ages of 3 and 73. With over 16 years of teaching experience, Leshell leads teams of enthusiastic students, dedicated volunteer instructors, and teams of engineering to achieve award winning success, national news coverage, and innovative technology product designs.


Session 2: Bodi Anderson, Amy Bradshaw, Akesha Horton and Michael Thomas

Bodi Anderson currently is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Indian River State College. He has also taught at Northern Arizona University, as well as Kwansei Gakuin and Meiji University in Japan. He received his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University in 2012. He has also has a M.A. in Applied Linguistics with a focus on Computer Assisted Language Learning from NAU and a B.A. in East Asian students from the University of Arizona. He continues to present at major conferences and publish in the field of educational technology. His primary research interests include cultural issues in online with a focus on East Asia and distance learning and game based learning and immersive virtual environments.

Amy C. Bradshaw , Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology & Technology at the University of Oklahoma. Her scholarly interests include social and cultural implications of instructional technologies; visuals for learning and instruction; scaffolding higher order and critical thinking; and educational philosophy. Her teaching practice reflects commitment to integrating equity and social justice with instructional technology. She has served as Editor of the Journal of Visual Literacy, Guest Editor for TechTrends 47(6) (special issue), Guest Section Editor for two issues of the ETR&D International Review, President of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA), and President of the International Division (ID) of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT). She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies (parent organization for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education) and as the Vice President of Research & Publications for AECT’s Culture, Learning, & Technology Division.

Akesha Horton, Ph.D. is a Learning Design, Development and Innovation Coordinator for the United States Air Force. She earned her doctorate degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University’s College of Education. Dr. Horton is an alumni of Fulbright-mtvU Scholar program. In this role, she worked with Australian based hip-hop artists to develop and implement educational programs that served underrepresented youth. While in Australia, she helped launch the first completely online program in Indigenous Education at Macquarie University.
Dr. Horton has been an active agent in a plethora of teaching and scholarship experiences in the educational arena, including in-school and out-of-school urban settings, higher education, instructional design, e-learning, and curriculum development for K-12, university, non-profit and small business settings. She has served on the board of national educational organizations in the United States, as well as a volunteer in the nonprofit sector. These collective experiences led to her research interests which explores the intersections between learning, technology, and culture for youth and young adults. She currently serves as a mentor to educators who have completed the Google Certified Innovator program and is the Vice President of Communications for AECT’s Culture, Learning, & Technology Division.

Michael K. Thomas, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he serves as faculty and qualitative methodologist. Thomas’ primary research interest centers on the cultural dimensions of technology implementation in learning contexts and what this means for the design of technology-rich innovations for teaching learning. Three key questions with respect to this are (a) What are the central concerns of teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of technology in learning contexts? (b) What do they do to continually resolve these concerns? and (c) In what ways does culture play a role in the design and implementation of technology-rich innovations? He is particularly interested in video games and gamification in learning environments and was a primary contributor to the Quest Atlantis project funded by the National Science Foundation. He is currently the P.I. of the CySec Project for designing games for middle school students learning cybersecurity. This project is also supported by the National Science Foundation.

To sign up for one or both webinars and to stand a chance to win a free eBook please sign up below:

7 September: Learning and Teaching in a Technology-driven world

Presenters: Carla Aerts, University College London, UK
Time and Date: Thursday 7 September 2017 at 1 pm (SAST)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

In our second sessions we will take a bit more of a dive into Learning in a Technology-driven world and what that means in terms of:

Changes in teaching and learning – what are they, might they be, or are they really changing? Are we retro-fitting rather transforming?
The concept of learning outcomes? What do they really mean for the different education stakeholders in technology supported education scenarios?
Can technology really support learning outcomes?
The myths vs the reality? Quantitative, qualitative and longitudinal evidence? Is it really there and what does it mean?
The hubris of the technologists vs the resistance of the educator.

This session aims to highlight some of the benefits and the challenges in technology supported learning, questions the claim of the technologists and reflects on some of some of the questions that moving into a future of education may need to address, not in the least teacher education.
If you missed out on the first session in January 2017 you can view the recording here

Carla Aerts is Director of Futures at Institute of Education – University College London




Please sign up for this session here: