Academic and institutional readiness towards e-Learning to inform policy and practice in an evolving post-school education sector
Keywords:Post-school education & training (PSET), Restructuring-learning, Education restructuring, Policies, Practices, Affordance Theory
Prior to the occurrence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, some African higher education institutions had already adopted a hybridmode for all their programmes, including distance education. Policies and strategies were put in place to improve the practices, skills and competencies of staff and students. However, the closure of education institutions globally due to the pandemic resulted in the rethinking of current education practices and highlighted the inherent inequalities in the system. This baseline qualitative study, underpinned by the Affordance theory, explores the appropriateness of education responses that were utilised and interrogates the readiness of educators for e-Learning during the pandemic. The participants were purposively selected educators (n=11) from distance and contact African institutions. The study sought to contribute to the reconceptualisation of policies and strategies for distance education provision using e-Learning approaches, which have now become a mainstream reality for the post-school education and training (PSET) sector. Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was applied to the rich data. The findings identified the successes and shortcomings of facilitating e-Learning at a distance during the pandemic. Some participants felt ill-prepared for the extent of work required to be well equipped to use this approach. In many cases, it was felt that support strategies could have been better structured. Further analysis highlighted possible restructuring that should occur to meet the needs of educators in the twenty-first century and to survive any future pandemics through greater use of e-Learning. Evidence-based recommendations for policies are discussed.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Margaret Funke Omidire, Folake Ruth Aluko
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