“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
South Africa is leading the drive for digital learning on the African continent. With a harrowing past that once undermined certain sectors of our society, and prevented their educational growth, today’s technology allows individuals from every walk of life to learn, grow, master and prosper.
With an abundance of technical smart devices, super speed internet and the way educational content is delivered, the landscape of how we interact and consume information is so advanced that digital learning highlights increased efficiency and productivity. Advances in this space are being made at a monumental rate and have laid the foundation to give everyone an opportunity to be part of the vast terrain that has the potential to impact numerous sectors in South Africa greatly.
Gone are the days of the traditional methods of teaching where ‘one size fits all’, today we are more conscious of personalising the experience while opening up access. This presents a rich, fulfilling environment that exposes people to a world beyond a classroom, with the opportunity to engage and interact globally.
Contemporary technology and the dynamic digital learning space is constantly evolving, and due to this, delivery and offerings will keep improving and broaden the scope for greater learning that will empower more individuals.
Five ways that digital learning has created an inclusive learning environment
1. Navigating the digital landscape
Where individuals previously had no access to technology and information, for reasons including culture, race, age, geography and class, today digital learning opens the door for everyone to participate and learn. Technology goes hand in hand with digital skills and quality education and this can catapult those who study online to familiarity with digital capabilities. “The technology advances of the past decade have laid the foundations for learning that harness the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. It adds up to an accelerated, personalized and transformed learning experience that puts the learner squarely in the driver’s seat,” maintains Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, Senior Vice President of Global Research at PageUp.
2. Gateway to online learning
Digital learning gives the potential untapped population of learners the opportunity to get involved, and caters for those who are unable to afford full-time classroom-based further education. Mobile device proliferation has allowed digital learning to flourish with those who previously were unable to participate. South Africa has a finite amount of educational institutions with a limit on intakes, so the reality is that digital learning for many individuals is the only viable option. “Traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have all-but dissolved. Knowledge is there to be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and commitment to stick with it,” says Vorhauser-Smith.
3. Growing South Africa
Digital learning is an essential tool for bringing excellent quality education to disadvantaged communities and has the potential to generate more professionals and entrepreneurs from a vast range of communities.
4. Save for a rainy day
Digital learning saves money as you are not immersed full-time on a university campus. Initial costs when studying on campus include administration fees and books, but online learning means that so many more students can learn and grow, without straining university resources, and being unable to come up with substantial fees. As this method of learning and discovering grows, digital learning will become the norm and “training costs will reduce, and learning efficacy increase, as new technologies become mainstream in the near future,” states Vorhauser-Smith.
5. Motivated, inspired and empowered
“Today’s liberated learning landscape comes from being able to sate your appetite for knowledge anywhere, anytime, on your mobile device of choice. As technology continues its march up the exponential growth curve to become better, faster and cheaper with each release, ever-smarter devices will integrate learning seamlessly into our lives,” reveals Vorhauser-Smith. Students immersed in digital learning are more engaged, motivated and the use of interaction and multimedia encourages this.
Vorhauser-Smith concludes that, “we are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver”, and how exhilarating that your personal online learning journey regardless of age, class, culture, race and religion is coming to fruition and allowing you to leave a legacy.
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