Just as the birdsong outside my window heralds spring growth in the garden, so too September ushers in new opportunities for growth in learning and development. I have written about cognitive dissonance in previous newsletters and this month I’m stirred with the notion of discontent – a longing for something new. This is what the energy of spring does for us. We want something new and we create fresh results. Plants rise from dormant seeds and bulbs, insects metamorphose and the birds and the bees… well … they do spring things. We develop fresh resolve to improve our health and well-being, our relationships, vocation, time and money.
Bespoke Online Learning
Wits DigitalCampus is constantly upgrading and updating the opportunities for online learning. This semester, another step on the learning journey was taken. A client in the insurance industry asked for more and our learning development team stepped up to deliver a tailormade blended learning option, but before I describe this, let me offer some global context.
I was delighted to read about online tertiary learning in Africa in the late August edition of University World News. Online learning is an exciting space to be in at the moment. Africa is “the most dynamic e-learning market on the planet” according to a report, Educating the Masses: The rise of online education in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Stefan Trines, research editor for World Education News and Reviews). Many African countries are recognising the education capacity gap of traditional universities and investing in online education, with many universities offering MOOCs (Massive open online courses). https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190816144515896
Already one of the leading South African universities, Wits has developed an online learning platform beyond MOOCs that is more effective in retention and throughput.
Aiming for Africa
With many countries like China inviting African students to study abroad, an increasing number of African students are choosing to remain in Africa for post-secondary education (UNESCO report). South Africa is the preferred destination. Living conditions in South Africa, along with favourable living costs and simplified visa regulations, are among the reasons for increased African enrolment in South African universities. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190816144515896
Solutions to Campus Capacity Constraints
Yet the traditional campus university has capacity constraints. Not only are thousands unable to access places in university degree programmes, but when they turn instead to employment, they realise the need to be upskilled to meet service level agreements (SLAs) and contractual obligations. With a full-time job, how can these folks get the education that they need?
A recent graduating class of Laweh Open University was told, “Distance education is the solution to addressing the educational needs of students who could not be admitted to public tertiary institutions. African universities need to adopt new ways of teaching through technology. Otherwise they may be rendered irrelevant and unable to compete on a global scale.” (Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, former deputy minister of education in Ghana) https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190816144515896
Wits DigitalCampus offers an alternate way to study part-time and still earn a Wits University certificate. Employers who choose to support their staff in this enjoy the benefits of Category B recognition.
Wits DigitalCampus Blended Learning
Ensuring we remain relevant and adaptable to the needs of our clients we have embraced the need to blend our learning experiences and bring the best of Wits to our clients in a richer learning experience.
The joy in the birdsong outside is echoed in my reflections on the most recent course.
Listening to feedback
The feedback from the students, was enthusiastic, as they engaged wholeheartedly with the joy of lifelong learning. We explored real everyday work issues like what happens when we fail to really listen to a client and almost alienate them and lose their business. We challenged stereotypes and old mind-sets, rethinking the many languages of apology and assertiveness. Students are now empowered to take the theories and principles of Business Communication and apply them in their workplace. The company has benefitted with these freshly motivated staff becoming more effective in their communication, from emails and interpersonal communication to client-facing walk-in encounters and telephonic customer support. More effective, engaged and committed staff lead to greater client retention and all-round satisfaction with a high standard of work being delivered.
A student who had been discouraged and on the brink of burn-out was able to work through some key issues and apply prioritising in order to meet service level agreements. Another student shared an “aha” moment with the quote:
It is our attitude
Not our aptitude
That determines our altitude
Bespoke solutions for corporate clients
We invite you to contact our team to find out more about how we can tailor our courses to your needs. The value-add of our online learning has been celebrated by our graduates. Memories of their positive feedback are as uplifting as the chorus of birdsong that celebrate spring.
Business Communication Skills Lecturer
Wits Enterprise & DigitalCampus
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