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South Africa: Online education and learning isn’t just for pandemics, it helps solve old problems

Universities in South Africa are currently looking at the future of education and learning. Rapid shift To emergency distance learning and learning in 2020 and 2021. During this time, two stories have (re) emerged. First, online teaching and learning is more difficult or demanding than face-to-face teaching. Second, it’s not as good as direct education and learning.

In the context of higher education in South Africa, these concerns appear to be closely related to staff. Burnout Syndrome To Sector inequality and complexityAmplified by urgent distance learning and learning.

There were many Issues of fairness and inequality In South Africa, pre-pandemic higher education. strategy It is designed to build a more equitable higher education system. Still, as the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us very clearly, Task Remain. Now is the time to continue to focus on tackling inequality. Quote them As a reason that does not change.

Our discussion is based on us jobs In the field of online education and learning experience About moving to emergency distance learning at a South African university during a pandemic. We have developed a support strategy for our staff and students, which has given us insight into their challenges and needs.

Online education and learning prior to COVID-19

Open distance learning Online learning in higher education Nothing new.. The pedagogically sound curriculum was offered in full online mode long before 2020. However, integrating technology into education and learning has been around for a long time. Issues We are in contact with universities around the world. Part of the reason is how online tools were sold to higher education institutions with little consideration of managing related changes.

Scholars were often “thrown into the depths” and had little educational training or guidance on the use of technology. Online learning and blended learning have become areas of early adopters and have enough courage to endure. And the expectations created by software companies have not always been met.

Emergency distance learning and learning

COVID-19 was forced to rapidly improve the skills of scholars, student Teaching and learning remotely in a way that most people are unfamiliar with. Emergency distance learning and learning Is never the same Genuine Online or mixed education and learning. The latter is usually carefully planned and designed over a long period of time before initiating a carefully crafted learning experience. Students can then choose to sign up for that delivery mode. In contrast, in emergency mode, some curriculum was minimized.

Nevertheless, the emergency shift has allowed scholars to begin to question some long-standing assumptions about face-to-face education and learning. It raised questions about the role of the classroom, teachers, and how students learn. This can lead to improved practices in the sector.

This change undoubtedly put an immeasurable burden on both scholars and students.And this came on Many systemic factors It has increased The pressure experienced by scholars over- Last 20 years.. But it wasn’t online learning that caused this tension, but the shift to another method of education and learning during a pandemic.

Student reality

Higher Education and Training Bureau Research Of the approximately 49,000 students from 24 South African higher education institutions, 96% of respondents had a learning device in 2020, and 89% of them had a smartphone. However, half of the respondents found it difficult to use smartphones for learning.

Even more shocking Another survey Over 40% of respondents were unable to purchase their food during the pandemic, about 30% did not have adequate learning space, 6% reported lack of electricity, and more than 40% Was segregated out of over 13,000 students who revealed that they felt socially.

But these realities Wasn’t new.. With emergency and remote education and learning, they have come to the fore.

Some may cite pedagogical reasons for returning to the classroom, but it is possible to refocus from these offensive truths.Reverting to the pre-pandemic method may simply be Dimming the spotlight to allow you to continue.. Rather, it insists on developing more comprehensive and better teaching and learning practices as the sector moves beyond emergency mode.

Towards a realistic view of the future

Now is the time to think realistically about the situation in the sector, leveraging the lessons learned from this turmoil. First, we need to unravel the confused perceptions of emergencies and genuine education and learning. Scholars need to reflect and learn from what has been developed in the last 18 months. They need to prevent the conversation about established inequality from being silenced.