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- This topic has 8 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 6 months ago by Peter.
Many Higher Educational institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa have attempted online learning of some sort, with mixed results. Many are quick to blame infrastructural challenges, such as poor electricity and weak internet connection for the failure of online learning. Some may add poor access of learners and lack of skills. Few people think the courses themselves and their creators are to blame. What do you think?
Thanks for kicking this off 🙂
I’m curious about what it would mean to say that an online course has failed eg
– very few people want to take the course?
– most participants drop out?
– nothing/ very little is learnt?
– very low completion/ pass rate?
Any thoughts from anyone in the seminar?
In the context of conventional Higher Ed in Africa, the first option may normally not be the cause, except for courses tagged “electives” or optional. Yet, required/compulsory courses often fail, when offered online. So participants drop out? Yes, that’s one way. Nothing or very little is learnt? Yes to that too. When you see the logs showing access as well as the level of activities, you know that not many people patronized the course, and not much was learnt. Finally, very low completion pass rate? Yes too.
More frustrating really is that for such failed courses, the instructor is often forced to address f2f even issues that were meant to be handled online.
1.Apathy towards online courses in Nigeria can be traced to low level of affordability of access to Internet among people that online courses are designed for.
2. Poor connectivity which usually led to frustration
Kola, those are the most predictable reasons. Yet, when you consider that most people provide their own online access, and engage actively on social media (facebook, whatsapp, twitter, LinkedIn, etc), connectivity and problem of access alone would hardly keep people away from online courses. There must be something more fundamental. And that’s what we intend to discuss from Tuesday. Well done for your observations.
In the formal institutional setting, it would be rare to talk of an online course failing.
1. The fear factor may limit learner subscription to any course – fear of the technology and the unknown (i.e. staying within the comfort zone).
2. However, it is possible for a so-called ‘online’ course to fail if the course tutor thinks a course is online because the contents are kept in a repository e.g. in a VLE or s/he sends materials to students via email and receives responses via the same medium.
3. In the case of (2) above the results, 2,3,4 mentioned by @tony above would happen, and the course might fail.
Participants may wish to check the following links and may work out a design model/template/guide for their contexts. These complement the exposition of the Learning Design process by Jerome earlier today. We may also refer to the seminar and workshop hosted earlier by e/merge Africa on Carpe Diem and 7Cs of Learning Design: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/full-guide/learning-spaces; https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/using-technology-to-improve-curriculum-design; http://www2.le.ac.uk/projects/oer/oers/beyond-distance-research-alliance/7Cs-toolkit.
Hi Jerome, Peter and Kolawole,
So many reasons here why online courses might fail – and most of these would be predictable to anyone with basic experience of online teaching and learning. Are the universities which go online without basic requirements in place just badly advised/ unaware of what is needed? Is there some level of fantasy where sensible, reality based planning is required?
Absolutely Tony, some HE institutions that I know here were pressured and pushed into adopting so-called e-learning by tech tools and hardware vendors. An institution I’m familiar with had a stock of smart boards installed in classrooms with scant electricity supply; no one knew where the software applications were as the accompanying laptops had been converted to administrative tools; no one received training in using them, and within the year, the boards served only as white writing boards with students using indelible marker pens.
HE leaders seem not to know where to go for advice; not many realise that e-readiness is a pre-requisite, which involves technology infrastructure, positive attitude towards technology adoption among a crop of early adopter-academic staff who are prepared to take ownership of the change process, digital literacy programmes for staff and students and continuing professional development for staff, curriculum transformation from f2f to technology supported learning-teaching environments, and a crop of educational technology support staff, among others.
Our experience here in FUTA and the challenges we continue to grapple with indicate that HE institution leaders need to be made aware of their limitations and the opportunities that abound in regard to technology support of education in Africa, and the imperative to get it right from the word go.
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