In a continent like Africa, with a still weak infrastructure base and limited investment in education, eLearning could be the best training answer for companies. Cost effectiveness and flexibility are some of the features of eLearning that can benefit African companies, but they are not enough. In order to bring the digital revolution that the African Union imagines for the continent, eLearning must adapt to the specific conditions of the various African countries. In order to understand how to invest in eLearning in Africa, it is good to take a look at the market in question and its development prospects for the future.
The eLearning situation in Africa
Currently the eLearning market in Africa is worth USD 792 million, a tiny part of a sector worth over 190 billion worldwide. According to a report by Imarc Group, by 2024 online training in the continent will reach $1.8 billion.
These are some key elements of this market:
- 1/4 of the market is South Africa, followed by Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Kenya.
- Content is mainly accessed through mobile learning, followed by simulations, games and LMS.
- The sectors in which eLearning is most used are schools and universities, followed by businesses and government agencies.
Mobile learning with an eLearning content package seems the ideal solution to overcome the limits of connectivity on the continent. Rwanda has the first African phone factory with a Chinese OS. The main advantage is the cost. Just 20 € to stay connected and trained.
The 4A for eLearning in Africa
According to the eLearning Africa 2019 report, in order for an eLearning company to develop in the African market it must have the following characteristics, the 4 A:
- Accessible - A course must be accessible even without a connection, in off-line mode.
- Affordability - The cost of the eLearning service must be in line with the purchasing power of African companies and students.
- Ability - eLearning services must focus on the transmission of skills, including digital and IT skills in general.
- Appetite - Without eLearning content that speaks the language of the place and addresses the needs of the place, any eLearning company is bound to suffer competition from free MOOCs from major American universities
Multidisciplinary approach, preference for oral communication, and sharing are characteristics of knowledge transmission in Africa that every online course should have.
What future for eLearning in Africa?
Currently the numbers of eLearning and digitization in Africa are quite small. To quote some of the data processed by eLearning Africa:
- Only 0.15% of students have access to eLearning at the well-known University of Nairobi.
- Internet penetration is 24.9% for men and 18.6% for women on the continent (2017).
- one in two young people has no access to secondary education.
The good news is that, despite these data and known structural deficiencies in terms of literacy, health services and incomes, eLearning in Africa is still growing, as is the whole IT sector. There are currently 442 tech hubs concentrated mainly in Nigeria, but present across the continent. The aim is to promote the development of new digital technologies, including eLearning.
Further development of eLearning in Africa requires investment in mobile learning, with training content tailored to local needs in terms of both language and preference for audio and video content and social learning.