In recent years the use of eLearning in developing countries has greatly increased. According to recent data, the average annual growth rate of eLearning in African and Asian countries is set to exceed 10% from 2016 to 2021. Offline methods of training have significantly impacted the education sector where it is estimated 4.5 million students take courses online, and this number may soon rise to 18 million.
In many developing countries eLearning models are increasing in popularity. This is because they are easy to access, cost effective for the school and student, and it democratises the work place creating more teachers who, with the knowledge they learn from eLearning platforms, can teach students who do not have access to eLearning technology.
Benefits for the workforce
Companies in the developing world have begun to see the importance of eLearning to create a skilled workforce that can help attract business. The pros of using eLearning to upskill a workforce include:
- Cost effective: Due to expenses such as paying for extra materials, travel and building costs, in-person learning can be far more expensive than modern training methods.
- Improvements to performance and productivity: Employees can quickly learn new skills about the workplace and go over anything they were unsure of in their own time and at their own pace.
- Retention: By using eLearning platforms employees are more likely to remember the information they learn.
- A different training experience: Rather than being placed in classroom environments which can be intimidating and overwhelming, eLearning offers a safe environment for employees to get up to speed with the software they need to use.
Challenges for eLearning
When developing eLearning platforms for training, the opportunities and challenges of implementation in developing regions has to be taken into account. Due to the technology available, developers will have to consider designing courses for smaller mobile devices rather than desktops.
Though Africa has the potential to reach millions with eLearning platforms the main challenges hindering this are poor internet connectivity, availability of locally developed content, and lack of training. As foreign investment in these regions grows so does the potential for local governments to provide expensive internet connectivity.
Another bump in the road for eLearning’s potential expansion in Africa is the fact that while English is the dominant language on eLearning platforms, very few know English to a high enough standard, especially in rural areas. Other challenges include support of students, flexibility of training, negative perceptions of eLearning and motivation to use eLearning platforms.
The future has come
Though it may seem many countries have a lot to overcome, the future is already starting to look brighter. Many countries are investing in internet infrastructure which will help create better eLearning systems. Other countries in Asia and Latin America have begun to consider online learning as a perfect way to give people equal access to education while reducing costs.