Last updated: 07.06.13

E-learning 'on the rise' in Africa

Online training is popular among learners and educators in Africa, with laptops and mobiles becoming increasingly common methods of accessing information.

This is according to a new survey of more than 400 respondents across the continent who use the internet for learning purposes, more than half of which work for government or government-supported companies like schools and higher education facilities, writes Laurinda Luffman from SOS Children in a post on the organisation's website.

The E-learning Africa Report 2013 - which was published to coincide with the International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training between May 29th and 31st - showed a rising number of individuals are using their portable devices to access learning resources online, with over two-thirds still going on desktop PCs for everyday teaching and training.

It described one case study involving pupils from poor families in Lesotho, South Africa, where lots of individuals are benefiting from enhanced education thanks to improved internet access.

While few of the children have access to technology at home or own mobile phones, teachers at Mamoeketsi School near Maseru have found ways for students to take advantage of e-learning.

Pupils were asked to borrow mobile devices from friends and relatives and use them to send texts regarding a project about native plants and herbs, while the school has also introduced an affordable computer environment.

Not only does this allow young people to surf the internet, it also means teachers are able to use technology in their lessons and as a result, truancy levels have decreased.

Teacher at Mamoeketsi School Moliehi Sekese was interviewed for the e-learning report and said because of the technological advances, pupils no longer feel embarrassed to ask questions about something they don't understand in class as they can discuss their problems through a computer station.

She added: "There's so much that the students know about now, that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to find out before - [thanks to] technology, we're maximising their potential as human beings."