Article provided by the Skills Development Corporation (SDC)
Johannesburg, South Africa – April 2020: Amidst the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, SDC (Skills Development Corporation) had to very quickly implement their distance learning solution to ensure learners would still be able to continue their studies. More than one week into the lockdown, SDC announce an incredible 94% attendance rate.
Having had to adapt so rapidly to the digital way of learning highlights how important digital literacy skills are currently, irrespective of the field of study. The students and staff at SDC who are now able to cover theoretical content remotely have embraced distance learning and have displayed significant commitment towards their continued personal development and learning. “What’s even more encouraging for us, is seeing how students from remote, rural areas are responding to their new digital classroom and facilitation processes,” says Melissa Van Aswegen, Operations ETQA Manager at SDC. “Having to embrace digital solutions was a concept that seemed almost impossible not so long ago, yet some of our students are logging in as early as 7am and only logging off after dark with consistent engagement across their subject or course programs,” says Melissa.
Like with any change, it often comes with its set of challenges too. For SDC, this comes with limited electricity supply for students in the informal settlements where devices can’t be charged or connected for extended periods of time. In addition to this, those learners lack computer literacy and need extra assistance so have needed to find alternative methods to keep on top of their work. “Despite the challenges, the lengths our students – and facilitators have gone to assist our learners has been nothing short of extraordinary. Some facilitators are teaching entire concepts telephonically when required, especially for those learners without the necessary digital tools at home,” says Mikaela. “The assistance we have been receiving from our facilitators has made the digital process easier, although access to smart devices and data prices has been a challenge,” says Jason Donovan, Marketing Level 4 learner from SDC.
Students have remained incredibly positive and motivated throughout this period of uncertainty. “Every individual has a purpose in life and such opportunities being given should be grabbed with both hands to reach your goals,” says Kamohelo Ramalope, Business Administration Level 2 learner. She also adds, “The experience has been a good one because it gives us an opportunity to learn new things from a different perspective and in a different environment which makes you stronger mentally.”