learning landscapes in southern africa


Elearning support and training: motivating and empowering online facilitators at the University of the Western Cape

Juliet Stoltenkamp, Carolynne Kies and James Njenga, Information and Communication Services,University of the Western Cape
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Slideshow with narration (12 min)

This paper presents experiences and challenges in training members of staff on using KEWL.Nextgen (KNG) at the University of the Western Cape. KNG is an Open Source high-end Learning Management System, a product of the collaborative efforts of a number of African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The experiences are based on 32 training sessions, spread across 4 months, with the experiences learnt in each of the sessions used to improve the next one. Key in this initiative was to recognise and address the issues of users' uncertainties, resistance and opposition. The initiative was aimed at motivating and empowering the users in the use of educational technologies. We report that through the formation of an elaborate support structure, sufficient training and support, and creating easy access to the KNG has lead to the rise of lecturers confidence levels in using KNG tools. We also demonstrate that subject to an appropriate mix of the best practices in elearning, training on the tools that the LMS offers can be effective. The challenges that we have faced so far are related to ensuring and convincing some of the lecturers that their attendance to scheduled face-to-face training sessions is important. The attendance would in turn lead to the instructors owning the process and control of online learning environment and at the same time be equipped with the best practices of online course facilitation. Finally, we recommend the necessary conditions for the sustenance of both the use of the LMS and continuous training on the use of LMS that can be employed in a Higher Education environment