For one to prosper at anything one intends pursuing, a certain level of discipline and integrity will come in handy, keep one grounded and focused, especially when it comes to learning and working.
The director of Southern Business School, Albin Jacobs, says the way we work or most importantly learn has changed, and it seems changed for good as it has become the ‘new normal’.
“Some aspects of this are not mentioned or discussed, but it is essential and integral to the success of working and learning remotely. It has become the new elephant in the room, the need for discipline, integrity and trust. All of this is assumed, but these issues keep on surfacing in the most interesting of places,” says Jacobs.
He mentions that the reason organisations are hesitant to allow remote working, or schools are apprehensive to let pupils and students engage in e-learning, is because of lack of oversight.
He said this means giving employees and students responsibility or the power to self-manage.
“Empowering them to such an extent that you leave them to work without having someone constantly overseeing them or checking if they are hard at work. The same issue comes up when discussions about e-learning are held. ‘Can we trust the students?’ followed by, ‘Won’t they just cheat and use Google for their assignments?’ or ask someone else to do the assignments for them? In the present climate of social distancing, exam halls full of students are out of the question,” he echoed.
With students having to take exams online, within a certain time frame without invigilators breathing down their necks, Jacobs said this is where trust and discipline come in from the student point of view, as well as the integrity of the systems and management thereof from an institutional point of view.
Jacobs was impressed that most people are honest and if they are given the freedom to work from home, or to do their schoolwork when it suits them, they will take that opportunity.
“Instilling and empowering employees and students to fit their working or learning schedule into the day which suits them best can only lead to better results and even better self-discipline. Not everyone can work or is suited to work from eight to five; what is more important is that the work, study and assignments are finished before the deadline. It brings a whole new level of convenience into one’s life,” believes Jacobs.
Working from home and the future of e-learning and distance learning is bright in Africa, and the world’s present challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have brought it into even sharper focus.
Jacobs says as long as there’s trust and every stakeholder acts with integrity and discipline, the way we work and learn can become a much less rigid and more pleasant and productive experience.
“The new normal is the catalyst for change, and we need to embrace it or be left behind. This is the new challenge for education systems across the world, producing learners and ultimately employees that can thrive in this new normal.”