Dr Shihomeka suggested the concrete steps that Namibia has to take to move forward for better e-learning in his op-ed titled Online teaching and learning strategy formulation framework.
The message was timely and well argued. However, the proposal remained at the level of strategy that does not always translate to concrete action on the ground.
Therefore, we would like to compliment the proposal by a few insights required for the necessary impact of the strategy in an ordinary school learner’s life of learning.
Technology should not only automate or streamline learning and teaching, as we know it at the moment. Rather, technology has to transform the way that learning happens. It needs to concretize the contents, give interactive exercises and show the benefits and impact of what is learned in the real, everyday context of learners.
The quality of e-learning is the relevance of its contents.
Let us have a look at using educational videos on a mobile platform.
The conventional approach of e-learning is to mainstream the lessons on, say, a mobile gadget. Thinking of our youth who are used to playing digital games – could they care less about a lesson even if it is delivered on a mobile phone? Knowledge delivery rarely leads to learning.
Therefore, instead of conveying a full lesson given by a teacher, an interactive mobile video would be short, 2-3 minutes long, and challenge its viewer to explore the idea in their own context, maybe by experimentation. This content could be created with and by the leaners.
We suggest that the next generation of e-learning in Namibia can be designed at the schools or in other contexts outside the school in which learners come together and delivered further by the internet, in collaboration with mobile operators. This requires the constructive contribution of IT experts and content or film professionals, in addition to teachers and other partners.
Moreover, parents can also be engaged in creating interactive and stimulating
e-learning; they can link it to the culture and their everyday working life.
*Kauna Mufeti is a lecturer of Computer Science at the University of Namibia
*Erkki Sutinen is a Professor and Director of the Future Technology Lab, the University of Turku in Windhoek
*Joel Haikali is a Creative Director at Joe Vision Production & co-founder of the Creative Industry Guide Namibia