Why SA is not ready to embrace Blended Learnerships (and why it should be)
The digital revolution has completely changed the way we interact with the world. We now shop from the comfort of our own homes, have access to more media than we could ever consume, and can easily access the Internet from devices small enough to carry in our pockets.
Education is another field that has been dramatically changed by the constant advance of digital technology. People with an interest in a subject can not only find information about it through sources like online journals, websites and YouTube, but can also engage in more structured learning through digital learning platforms.
However, despite how easy it may appear for people to access these online learning resources, the reality is quite different for many South Africans. Many working-class South Africans don’t have access to the basic resources they need to engage with these digital learning platforms, including:
• Computer access at home – Many South Africans don’t have the financial resources to invest in a dedicated desktop machine or laptop in their homes. The majority use smartphones to connect to the Internet, and as wondrous as these devices may be, they may not be the best tool for accessing these digital learning platforms.
• Sufficient Internet access – Accessing the Internet through smartphones, unfortunately, brings with it the high cost of mobile data, which works out at an average of $7.60 per gig. While fixed line options such as fibre and ADSL are available and can work out much cheaper per gig, lack of infrastructure and the initial financial costs are barriers to entry for many South Africans.
So despite the desire many South Africans have to reach their full potential, they unfortunately, lack access to the tools they need to do so. This creates a problem that doesn’t just affect individuals, but also many businesses who are in desperate need of skilled employees.
This doesn’t have to be the case though. Blended Learnerships provide South Africans with an opportunity to gain both a formal qualification and work experience in their chosen field, using a cutting-edge new learning model that combines the best of digital and instructor-led learning. By providing South Africans with the tools and technology to upskill themselves in the digital age, companies can also take advantage of a number of benefits:
• Being more cost efficient –Blended Learning is a cheaper approach to training than committing a staff member or hiring an instructor to teach all the relevant content in person.
• Increasing your organisation’s BBBEE rating – As long as your employees are taking part in a Learnership that meets specific criteria, the Learnership will help improve your overall BBBEE rating.
• Offering a flexible approach to training for employees – Employees can manage how and when they choose to spend their time tackling the digital component of the qualification.
• Providing the benefits of both digital and classroom-based learning as well – Different people have different approaches to learning, with some preferring to engage with written content, while others prefer to engage with an instructor. A Blended Learning approach provides the best of both worlds.
• Tax deductions – TaxTim discusses this in greater detail here, but South African companies can claim back on taxes if they implement Learnership programmes.
While this undoubtedly is a good way to upskill individuals, companies shouldn’t have to bear the burden of this responsibility alone; and thankfully, they don’t have to. Digital learning solutions providers in South Africa can help companies employ the latest technology and tools available and provide specialised support for their learners.