What is Digital Education?

Digital education in Kenya

Digital Education is defined by the University of Edinburg as the application of application of technology in teaching and learning. Also known as e-learning or digital learning, digital education enables teachers and students to use digital tools to promote collaborative learning in class. Digital learning can also be defined as any instructional practice that incorporates technology into the teaching and learning process. There are basically two types of digital education: blended learning and virtual learning.

Blended Learning

A blended form of digital education involves both the traditional and digital learning approaches. It is a type of learning that combines face-to-face classroom activities with online learning strategies. For example, learners who take part in blended learning can engage in online activities prior to attending class lessons. When the learners meet for a face-to-face discussion in the classroom, they get already have a good knowledge and understanding of the concepts to be discussed. This type of learning is referred to as a flipped classroom. Online platforms offer learners a wide range of learning resources, relics, and reading materials to prepare them adequately for the classroom discussions.

Virtual Learning

This type of digital education, which is also known as online learning, occurs exclusively through the internet. This approach is often used by students who are seeking flexibility in their studies. For example, people who are already working and would like to advance their education can take an exclusively online course to achieve their dreams of education. This mode of study is also less expensive as students do not need to pay for tuition fees.

A Case Study of Digital Education in Africa: Kenyatta University’s Digital School

A good example of an effective online learning programme is Kenyatta University’s digital school in Kenya. The school has been admitting students for digital education since 2014. All online learning activities in the University are managed by the Digital School. The Digital School of virtual and Open Learning (DSVOL) offers numerous courses for learners pursuing digital education. Each student’s portal contains all has all the required learning materials for the semester they are registered. This makes learning easier because the learner can access the course content and revision materials at their convenient time and place.

Students also take part in weekly online forums and chats in the digital school’s student portal. The learners also do their take-away assignments and submit them online using their student portal accounts. In the end, the forums, chats, and online assignments contribute 30% of the marks. The remaining 70% of the marks used for grading are obtained from doing an examination at various physical branches of the institution countrywide.

Examples of Digital Learning Tools

Some of the digital learning tools and resources used in digital education include collaborative tools such as social readers, social media, and online forums. These interactive technologies help learners discuss concepts and ideas online.

Cloud-based and file sharing networks also help learners store and share learning materials in various forms such as word processors, Zip and PDF. Examples of such file storage and sharing platforms are: Google Drive, SendSpace, and Dropbox.

The Future of Digital Education in Africa

In the near future, many institutions in Africa will take advantage of digital education a viable alternative form of education. As technology and the internet infiltrates throughout Africa, digital education is becoming a more convenient and less costly way of providing learning to the growing populations of literate people in the continent. Thus, Africa is set to take advantage of the growing opportunities for digital learning in the future.

However, much constraints and challenges abound, especially in the rural areas where electricity and network connections are limited. There is need for African governments and institutions to work towards increased power and internet connectivity to foster digital education in the continent.

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