Current Learning Method In African Universities And How Heels And Tech Is Changing The Way We Learn

Current Learning Method In African Universities And How Heels And Tech Is Changing The Way We Learn

Until the covid 19 pandemic in 2020, learning in African universities was pretty traditional.

Students register for classes and attend lectures in a classroom. Studying was mainly from handbooks, lecturer’s notes/slides, and textbooks. And in many schools, there’s an attendance cutoff mark before students can write exams.

Many (non-private) universities and tertiary institutions didn’t consider or include the Internet and other e-learning methods in their curriculum. Not until 2020.

Even right now, education in these institutions has returned to what it was pre-pandemic. While it is the norm, this method of learning is exclusionary, outdated, and needs to be improved on.


Problems With the Traditional way of Learning in African Universities

  1. It is exclusionary: requiring students to be present in a physical class every single time they have lectures is exclusionary not just for people who have difficulties learning things this way, but also for others who may have extra responsibilities. for Example, mothers with children. Having to attend classes with a child on your hips/back isn’t the best way for mothers to learn, especially because the learning part becomes almost impossible for them in this situation.
  2. It is difficult for everyone to follow up with it: everyone has different learning capacities, some students require extra attention, some require one-on-one and interactive sessions, and some require practicals to fully understand what they are learning. The traditional method of teaching in African universities overwhelms students with knowledge, reading materials, and theories. Making it difficult for many to understand. This is why ‘cramming to pass exams’ is such a common concept here.
  3. It is outdated: if African graduates are to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world, then they need a form of learning that’s not only digital-centric but one that’s focused on retaining knowledge, as well as developing necessary skills to succeed in the real world.

How’s Heels and Tech is Changing The Traditional Learning Method

At Heels and Tech, all our courses are taught using a digital cohort learning system.

(It’s important to note here that while we aren’t a university, we provide Boot Camp and certification training for women looking to learn tech skills.)

Our cohort system involves communal learning for all our students – a limited number per course – where it’s easier for them to not only join in from wherever, but also engage with each other and learn from each other.

Students and their teachers also have a relationship so it’s easy for teachers to follow up with and carry along each student. A cohort learning system ensures everyone is learning at the same pace and nobody is left behind.

Our system also includes a lot of practicals and presentations. This way students are practicing and implementing all they learn while also learning how to defend their processes in a professional setting.

You can read more about cohort learning here.

How African Universities Can Implement A Cohort Learning System

Running an EdTech startup and a university differ. While typically those who sign up for and join our courses have access to digital tools like phones and laptops, not every university student in Africa has the same fortune.

That’s why cohort learning can also be implemented offline.

If you’re an education consultant or even a lecturer looking to improve the learning process in your schools and classrooms, here are some things you can do:

  • Do a survey of how many students own or have easy access to digital learning tools. If this is a majority, then virtual cohort learning may be possible for you.
  • Make classes more interactive and engaging. Encourage debates from students. You could even task students with the responsibility of teaching a class.
  • Include practicals in your curriculum. While theories are good, practicing a thing makes it easier to stick to and also more relatable.
  • Encourage group projects. This could be group assignments where everyone plays a role. Even group discussions in class where students can be monitored. If possible, these groups can be made really small eg 2-3 per group so it’s easier for everyone to have a role.
  • Make course materials diverse. Instead of long handbooks filled with boring information, include YouTube (and other) videos, articles, podcasts, etc as part of the learning resources

Changing the way learning happens in our tertiary institutions will require a lot of processes. But as an educator, you can start small by implementing some of the above steps in your classrooms.

When learning is more engaging, it’s easier for students to learn and also a more rewarding activity for teachers.

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Chat With Us on WhatsApp