Friday, 5 December 2008

#OEB08 the elearning in Africa session

Some random notes, hoping that you can make sense of them.

Moderated by Shafika Isaacs from South Africa. Shafika is a very energetic and knowledgeable person with an amazing humor (yes, I love humoristic people its seems, because I keep filtering those out of the crowd). And very engaged in elevating global poverty.

In Africa the main revolution is a mobile revolution. Unfortunately we underestimated the use of mobile phone. 95% of mobile cell phone use is for social reasons, so it would be interesting to put out much more useful content with evidence of developmental impact. Reaching the bottom billion in Africa is crucial in lifting the world from poverty and degridation.

E-Learning Experiences in Africa

Jan Beniest, World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya

A man with a yellow ‘debardeur’ (Flemish word I keep in because he is Flemish speaking and such a word brings it home for me).
Web-Based Courses for Capacity Strengthening in the Agricultural Sector in Developing Countries

CGIAR and eLearnikng

In Africa there is a lot of pressure to put all of the content online.

Knowledge banks, but these are resources that people need to access individually.

(eradic notes, but they give an idea on what is said)

With this project they wanted to use standards to make these resources accessible. So they use open standards (yeah!).

Ariadne in Leuven, you can search for CGIAR and at the same time you can search on other resources (international). This way agricultural learning can be improved for all interested. They host it under a Moodle site.

Agricultural: 6 week preparitory period which was face-to-face (expensive course) 1 week problem solving workshop. To get everyone on the same wave length and afterwards the online content came in.

‘Contextualizing agroforestry’ from within

These courses become relevant because mathematics, language topics were mixed into agroforestry making everything much more contextualized, much more comprehensible to all the learners.

No accreditation, no certificate so the course was intrinsically motivational. From the 40 starters 30 finished all the courses (so purely on personal interest: IMPRESSIVE)

Learners got into the subject matter much quicker.

Because of the previous online contacts, it was much easier to work with them during the face-to-face part.

Access and and navigation was NOT an issue (in regard to the common understanding of low resource areas).

A network was build an was seen as a positive surplus.

Future: looking at mobile possibilities, other locations to distribute these courses.


Dr Herbert Thomas, University of the Free State, South Africa
The E-Learning Manager as Prophet: The Curious Case of a Developing Country

Emphasizes the need for internationally acceptable quality standards from government side.

96% of students own a cell phone รณ 57% own pc at home. So you can easily see the potential of mobile learning.

Management needs to drive the change within eLearning.

Paul Landers, Ericsson, Sweden
Mobile Learning for Africa. The Millennium Village, Rwanda, Case Study

Mobile course on one of the millenium goals that Ericsson was involved in.

80 million in Africa 2007

+46 million in first half of 2008

What is the benefit of having a 3G network if you do not provide interesting content.

So they started looking at village clusters.

Child mortality issues were used to construct a mobile course. SCORM compliant and distributable.

The latest evolutions in mobile use:
Presence ·
Geo positioning ·
Mobile tv ·
Whiteboarding (sharing applications) ·
Blogging ·
Instant messaging

Daniel Richard Stern, Uconnect, Uganda
Rural Community and Family-Oriented Education by Mobile Computing with Portable Solar

Daniel is kind of a paternal figure. He has done amazing things in his life (lived and aided junkies in Geneva, lived in a cabin amidst a wooded reserve without many facilitations (together with his family), lived on one of the highest mountain tops in Switzerland together with his six sons and surviving from the earth…and now living in Uganda). He has a big grey beard and likes to talk.

One of the main problems in Africa is access to electricity. So new energy techniques can be beneficial.

Solar power is one of them.

He suggests that if you understand the meaning of life, you will be a secure learner and you will find what interests you.

Self-directed learning is the future and will keep on inspiring learners.

Self-reliance is important for learners and facilities.