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[Column] Jens Ischebeck: 3 worth-it benefits of mobile learning in Rwanda

What is M-learning and E-learning?

M-learning is education that uses primarily mobile or electronic devices. M-learning is similar to home-schooling in the sense that you can learn anywhere. M-learning can encompass a variety of tools to help learning such as videos, podcasts, online textbooks and more. M-learning classes can communicate through text which is an easy way to learn about assignments, projects etc.
E-learning is a similar thing. E-learning means 'electronic-learning' and usually means that you are taught a course online. E-learning can encompass parts of M-learning but is usually more structured which could be a positive or a negative depending on the situation.
M-learning is one of the relatively new applications which use the new internet and mobile phone based technologies to improve the access to some basic needs or skills, such as mhealth, app based language learning or cheap online money transfers.
In both these methods of learning MOOCs could be used. A MOOC is a 'massive open online course'. These are free online courses from actual universities and colleges which could be of significant benefit for distance learners.
There is a rising amount of local and regional companies which provide products and materials for online courses and exam preparations, the classical fields of m-learning. This African providers guide illustrates a list of edtech startups in several countries.

How could this help school-children in Rwanda?

For those who live in Rwanda or Sub-Sahara Africa school can sometimes be tricky. First of all, some areas in Sub-Sahara Africa aren't very populated and therefore don't have a school nearby. This means that kids will have to trek miles everyday or won't even be able to go to school because of how far away it is. This is where online learning could help dramatically. Technology is on the rise and theses courses could not only be easy for isolated families but could also play a huge role in teaching children important information about technology. The mobile penetration rate in Rwanda has increased dramatically meaning there are now more than 8 million mobile phone users making online learning an even more viable option. Another question you might ask is the affordability of e-learning. Like I said before MOOCs are completely free and an amazing way to teach. Also, there are so many free online resources meaning lower class families will be able to afford e-learning.

Is online learning as good as school based learning?

There is a lot of information online. Some of it is good but some can be bad and inaccurate. Edtech is a study that looks through online educational resources and tries to help promote and make better online resources. Edtech promotes the use of technology for education and shows that you can learn from technology and learn from online courses just like you would in school making it a viable alternative to regular schooling. Also online learning offers resources from primary to tertiary education meaning everyone is encompassed.

Positives of online learning?

First of all, online learning is flexible. Like I've said before, you don't need to be in any classroom or go to school so it is perfect for children in Rwanda who are unable to go to school or live too far away. It is from home but there is a huge network of people who also use online learning. This means your child won't be isolated and can still have the experience of school without actually going there.

Another advantage of online learning is that it helps you learn at your own pace. In normal classrooms it can be difficult to cater to everyone's needs. However, online learning can be self-paced meaning that you can learn at your own speed. This means everything can be learnt properly to a full understanding instead of being rushed through.

Online learning is teaching young people how to use technology. Technology is so important in this day and age. The fact that young people can have an education and be taught about the essentials of technology makes for a huge positive of online learning.

Finally, online learning gives students an engaging way to learn. Some students may not pick up information well with the typical student-teacher algorithm. However, there are lots of different ways to learn with online learning. There are videos, presentations, games and a lot more to help you progress with your learning. School primarily focuses on one type of learner; online learning can teach whatever the child prefers.

Overall, online learning is destined to grow significantly in the future. It is especially good for people in places like Rwanda and has a lot of potential for different types of learning making for a more innovative and effective education!


Jens Ischebeck is an mLearning, eLearning and Online Courses specialist.

For more information about this important and exciting educational market, visit my Alternatively, if you wish, contact me directly today. Whether you are a student or teaching professional, we specialize in mobile education within Africa and will be pleased to help you with your enquiry.

By the way: If you are interested in online money transfers, the leading providers and how it works, just check my remittance site.


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