“For us at FutureProof SA, that silver lining is the digitalisation of education. In 2016, Frost & Sullivan released a report, Digital Education: South Africa’s Economic Imperative, that stated that South Africa’s education system was based on traditional methods developed for the industrial era – and that these methods were no longer relevant in a digitalised economy.”
Even more concerning was the fact that our trained workforces needed to be able to compete in a globalised environment – something our education system was not doing. The report concluded with the statement that a digital education system was the only solution that could address the education system in South Africa, and that tackling this head-on would also address many of the other challenges our economy was facing.
“Four years later, very little has happened in this space – until now,” says Illingworth.
Covid-19 has taught all of us that the future of education is digital. We all knew it, but no-one was actively implementing it.
“If we want our learners to come through this crisis stronger than they were when we entered it, now is the time to embrace digital. We don’t have a choice. The question is: how well we will make this shift?” she asks.
Illingworth shares five ways to make the most of e-learning. If you’re a student, start thinking about what your new world of learning looks like – and if you’re a parent or educator, support your young learners in this journey.
Digital learning is not just classroom learning through a computer screen. Classroom learning has a built-in monitoring system. Learners are all together, and they’re being watched. You have to do the work. Online learning requires far more self-discipline, willpower, motivation and time management skills. The good news is that these are all excellent skills when you enter the working world. Embrace digital – it’s a new world, but it’s full of benefits.
To become an effective digital learner, embrace the following:
Reliable internet connectivity is a must, but most of the other platforms you will need are free. You’ll need to set up an email address and have access to Skype, Zoom and other platforms that your educators will use.
As we’ve highlighted, online learning is not the same as a classroom environment. It’s impossible to spend all day on Zoom calls for example. Instead, you need to advocate for your learning needs. This will only be possible if you are also responsible and meet your deadlines, however.
Most learners lead heavily scheduled lives – parents, teachers and class schedules tell them where to be and when to be there. One of the biggest benefits of e-learning is flexibility, but this comes with a large degree of responsibility as well. To succeed as an online learner, time management is critical:
You’re no longer sitting in a classroom, which means your online experience can be very lonely, or incredibly rewarding if you collaborate and join discussion forums, discuss ideas and challenges with your peers and support each other.