Home » Education » E-Learning Spurs Education Boom [opinion]

E-Learning is becoming an increasingly popular means of offering and gaining education, with Web-based learning leading the way. By 2006, 3,5 million students were participating in on-line learning at institutions of higher education in the United States.

According to the Sloan Foundation reports, there has been an increase of around 12-14 percent per year on average in enrolments for fully online learning over the five years 2004-2009 in the US post-secondary system, compared with an average of approximately 2 percent increase per year in enrolments overall.

e-Learning is also utilised by public K-12 schools in the United States as well as private schools.

Some e-Learning environments take place in a traditional classroom; others allow students to attend classes from home or other locations.

There are several states that are utilising cyber and virtual school platforms for eLearning across the country that continue to increase.

e-Learning has now been adopted and used by various companies to inform and educate both their employees and customers.

Companies with large and spread out distribution chains use it to educate their sales staff as to the latest product developments without the need of organising physical courses.

Compliance has also been a big field of growth with banks using it to keep their staff’s CPD’s level up.

In our country, schools and higher tertiary institutions are slowly beginning to adopt the model of an e-Learning environment in a classroom set-up.

The major challenges faced are the infrastructure and resources required for an effective set-up, including Internet access, reliable power source and trained teachers.

The most effective solution would be having the e-Learning environment delivered via cloud.

This simply means this is seamlessly delivered over the Internet, accessible from anywhere in the world.

It is hosted on servers at a third parties’ data centre. It would then mean that schools/institutions use the Internet to access the services.

Obviously so much work still needs to be done in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure to enable as many schools as possible to access the Internet and therefore the e-Learning resources.

Still work in progress, various players in the ICT industry are working to ensure that this is done and that Internet and e-Learning resources are accessed from all corners of Zimbabwe.

Opportunities have arisen for various players in the e-Learning arena due to the ever growing use of mobile technology.

Mobile phone penetration has shot through the roof and more and more people, particularly students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, are gaining access to mobile technology and in particular, Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones and tablets.

This means that students are able to use various online and offline resources (through downloaded resources and applications) both inside and outside the traditional classroom set up and mainly through the Internet.

A number of schools and institutions have adopted the use of tablets and computers in the classroom set-up therefore changing the normal traditional approach to education.

ZOL Zimbabwe has been very heavily involved in providing selected schools and orphanages from around Zimbabwe with discounted Internet services so that the children of our future can have the unlimited access they require to further their knowledge and enhance their education.

This gives schools the opportunity to utilise online resources and applications to widen the horizons and exposure for teachers and students to the latest information and activities.

ZOL provides reliable, secure access to the Internet via various options which include fibre (ZOL Fibroniks and ZOL Fibre) and WiMAX (ZOL Broadband).

The location of the premises determines the best solution for schools and institutions that need to be continuously researching and accessing large volumes of data and information.

There are also various home solutions available for families to connect to. Parents can ensure that their school-going children have access to the latest and best online tutorial, extra lessons and other websites that assist with school work and complementing what will have been experienced in the classroom.

The speeds offered by both services ensure that the solutions/modules are easily accessed and the experience of using the tools a smooth and enjoyable one.

As for those who are not able to afford the expensive infrastructure such as server for the hosting of the e-Learning environment, Cloud Services is the way to go. The ZOL data centre provides high value infrastructure with various options and solutions available depending on the requirements.

This means that one just has to lease a virtual server from ZOL Zimbabwe to run the e-Learning applications needed, and these can then be accessed via the Internet or an extranet.

As ZOL Zimbabwe, we stand by the mantra “You deserve to learn like this!” as students around the country definitely deserve to get the access to the best for the good of our nation’s future.

ZOL.

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