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Mobile leads e-learning revolution in Africa Featured

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Mobile leads e-learning revolution in Africa

Mobile is flourishing in Africa and local e-learning developers are increasingly focusing on apps as the most effective way to deliver learning content. According to UNICEF, next to Nigeria and Egypt, South Africa houses the third-largest number of mobile subscribers on the continent, with around 20% of the population owning a smartphone. Smartphone growth in Africa has increased by 43% every year since 2000, and experts predict that 69% of mobiles in Africa will have internet access by 2014.


E-learning is an excellent solution for the African market because it is cost-effective, flexible, and accessible. The main aim of mobile e-learning, delivered via specially designed apps, is to increase productivity by making learning available anytime, anywhere, allowing learners to absorb information more effectively, and to study at their own pace. The always-available nature of mobile e-learning empowers learners to take their own initiative and plan learning activities according to their personal goals and needs.


Effective e-learning can’t simply be transplanted from abroad, however, and must be adapted to be effective in a local context. An app designed to work on a powerful tablet device will be very different to an app designed to work on the kinds of entry-level smartphone increasingly prevalent in Africa.


E-learning app developers in Africa need to develop learning content that takes into account not only the capabilities of the devices they are building apps for, but also infrastructure. For one, bandwidth usage in Africa can be costly and broadband speeds slow. Therefore applications need to be simple and quick to load, while still delivering content to the learners in a consistent manner.


While companies may design apps to be visually appealing, there’s a danger that the relevance of their content could easily be neglected. It’s important that great care is taken to ensure that mobile tools are relevant and serve the purpose that they were intended for. Learning should always be the key objective, and education, rather than technology, should drive the decision-making process when it comes to designing e-learning apps. It’s vital that teams of expert e-learning designers and app developers be involved every step of the way and that content is always learner-centred.


As mobile capabilities continue to grow, new forms of learning will keep evolving and productivity within communities and economies will escalate. The magnitude of the impact of mobile learning is boundless in its ripple effect on society. There is no limit to what the African continent can achieve through the mobile e-learning revolution.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:38
Kirsty Chadwick

Kirsty Chadwick

As an experienced educator, public speaker and leader, Kirsty Chadwick has spent almost two decades involved in the field of education. Founder of The Training Room Online, which designs and develops innovative tailor-made e-learning material for the corporate, industrial and private sectors, Kirsty has trained, developed and inspired people across three continents.


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