Many well meaning education benefactors and commentators in South Africa have expressed that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic online self-guided learning could solve some of the current teaching problems and address the educational backlog. What learners need, the reasoning goes, is to get free internet access to educational support materials on offer online.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, self-guided online learning is doomed to fail. Research shows an exceptionally high drop-out rate – even in developed countries. Learners simply have no incentive to keep at their studies without peer pressure, a teacher at hand or a structured learning environment.
In South Africa in particular, with socio-economic disparities and related problems, the drop-out rate would be even higher. More so in key subjects like mathematics and physical science where prior knowledge, conceptual understanding and self-motivation to succeed are critical.
The only answer, in the country’s unequal teaching environment, is a customised version of blended learning. Blended learning integrates computer-assisted online activities with traditional face-to-face teaching (chalk-and-talk).
When used by a trained teacher, this approach can add valuable new dimensions to the learning process. It can allow learners to work at their own pace and teachers to fill content gaps. Read more…