According to a report published by Research and Markets,
“The Africa e-learning market reached a value of more than US$ 792 Million in 2018, exhibiting a CAGR of around 14% during 2011-2018. The market for e-learning is further expected to reach a value of US$ 1,813 Million by 2024.”
However, the elearning market growth rate varies across African countries.
Kenya is one of the African countries where elearning or online learning has been gaining prominence rapidly and consistently. In 2009, Kenya became the first country in the sub-Saharan region to introduce digital content for elearning in schools. Also, the country has been leveraging educational technologies (edtech) to improve the quality of secondary and higher education by implementing elearning.
We can assess the elearning landscape in Kenya using a slew of parameters – access to education, improvement in quality of education, and delivery of elearning. Also, we can measure how the educational institutions in Kenya have been leveraging elearning by overcoming many constraints and barriers. Also, there are many instances that highlight the transformative impact of elearning on underprivileged students in Kenya.
Assessing eLearning Landscape in Kenya: Growth, Challenges, and Success Stories
Kenya was among the African countries that were affected hugely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, Kenya is one of the countries where less than 2% of the population is fully vaccinated. The lockdowns and shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made it essential for educational institutions in Kenya to switch from traditional learning to elearning.
The shift transformed the elearning landscape in Kenya in a short amount of time. Also, the shift accelerated the growth of the elearning market in this African country. Many educational institutions still leverage elearning to keep students engaged while schools, colleges, and universities remain closed.
But the lockdowns and shutdowns created opportunities for most educational institutions in Kenya to experiment with cutting-edge edtech. Also, many educational institutions make students acquire knowledge and skill using cloud-based elearning software – learning management system (LMS), virtual classroom software, online examination software, and ready-to-use digital library.
The declining cost of the internet and increasing electrification rate will help educational institutions to continue online education after the COVID-19 pandemic. But they have to implement strategies to make elearning solutions accessible to more students, ensure knowledge acquisition and retention, and improve the overall quality of education.
We cannot assess the elearning landscape in Kenya accurately without considering the challenges or barriers in elearning implementation. No educational institution in Kenya can make elearning sustainable without overcoming a slew of barriers. The policymakers must help educational institutions to overcome some of these key barriers to elearning adoption in Kenya.
The educational institutions in Kenya have been digitalizing educational content and learning materials since 2009. Hence, access to multi-format digital content is not one of the key barriers to elearning implementation in the country. The lack of technical skills is often cited as one of the key challenges. Both teachers and instructors in Kenya lack the adequate technical skill to use the elearning solutions efficiently.
Also, most educational institutions in Kenya lack both infrastructure and resources to replace conventional learning with elearning in the near future. The policymakers have to upgrade existing IT infrastructures of schools, colleges, and universities to make elearning accessible and sustainable. They can easily overcome constraints related to infrastructure and resources by investing in cloud-based elearning solutions.
At the same time, policymakers can make millions of students acquire knowledge and skill over the internet only by improving the electrification rate and access to the internet steadily. These initiatives and investments are essential to transform primary and higher education in Kenya by leveraging many elearning benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created many opportunities for Kenyan policymakers to work on the obstacles in elearning implementation. The authorities can make policy changes and upgrade infrastructure to make millions of students access quality education and higher education in the post-pandemic age.
Local Success Stories
The educational content digitalization created opportunities for many edtech companies and startups to offer their cloud-based elearning solutions to educational organizations in Kenya. Many edtech startups update and customize their cloud-based learning management system and virtual classroom software to cater to the precise elearning strategies of local schools, colleges, and universities.
At the same time, many local edtech companies also leveraged the opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic to launch innovative elearning solutions. However, there are many instances when students became successful professionals in Kenya by acquiring knowledge and skills through elearning before the COVID-19 pandemic.
For instance, Julius Yego – a Kenyan track and field athlete – is popularly called “Mr. YouTube” as he learned how to throw a javelin by watching online videos on the popular video-sharing platform. Likewise, Walter Akolo accessed and leveraged digital educational content to become a successful freelance writer and internet marketer in Kenya. He now helps Kenyans to earn money online through his website FreelancerKenya.
Such local success stories highlight the transformative benefits of elearning to millions of Kenyan students. In addition to reducing overall cost, elearning will make education accessible and affordable for millions of students in Kenya who lack both resources and funds. However, educational institutions have to keep in place robust strategies to ensure no sacrifice in the quality of education while implementing elearning.
The consistent growth of the local elearning market depicts the elearning landscape in Kenya clearly. But the educational institutions in Kenya have to address many existing and emerging challenges to leverage the elearning benefits fully in both the short and long runs. The policymakers have to improve access to electricity and the internet rapidly to make elearning sustainable in the East African country.
Both policymakers and educational organizations can make elearning accessible to millions of students in Kenya by leveraging cloud-based elearning solutions provided by leading edtech companies and startups. In addition to overcoming infrastructural constraints, cloud-based elearning solutions will make it easier for educational institutions to deliver elearning successfully by keeping learners interested, engaged, and motivated in a variety of ways.