Category Archives: e-Education

AOSIS eLearning: Moodle Best Practice – Always have a backup

AOSIS 6 September 2022

The AOSIS eLearning Moodle Best Practice recommendation for August is to always have a backup of your Moodle site. The following two reason is why it is important to make a copy of your Moodle site:

1. Something can happen to your server

Something can happen to your server. Hardware does not have an infinite lifespan. It does not matter if it is a local server or in the cloud, it can get damaged, especially during these days of frequent load shedding.

2. Your server may get hacked

When your server gets hacked, the hard drive gets encrypted so that you cannot access your site data and database.

What is the AOSIS eLearning best practice for your Moodle site?

Good practice would be to make a copy of your site and database every morning when the site is least active. Then you keep backups for about 2-3 weeks, and this enables you to do a site rollback for the above-mentioned scenarios.

Remember to inform everyone in your team that, if they did something that would require a rollback, they must inform you immediately instead of waiting 2-3 weeks and you can still roll back to the day the site was still working ok.

AOSIS is a Certified Moodle Partner and can assist with demonstrations and to answer any questions you may have. Please contact AOSIS at elearning.support@aosis.co.za

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AOSIS eLearning: Moodle best practice – testing when you’re new to Moodle

When considering any type of software it is always best practice to first test the product before investing in it. This will allow you to see if the software features will meet your needs and in the long-term attribute to meeting your business goals.

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We recommend the following two options:

  1. A downloadable installation for either Mac (Moodle packages for Mac OS X) or Windows (Moodle packages for Windows) that you can install on your local computer for testing.
  2. An online site where you can test Moodle’s features without downloading it to your computer Visit the Moodle demo site. There are two options available for you; i) the Mount Orange School Demo which has populated courses to showcase Moodle features and to highlight the enhancements that each new Moodle version brings. You can navigate through the courses as either a teacher, admin, manager, student or parent, or ii) the Sandbox Moodle section of the site, which is. an empty (no learning content loaded) version of Moodle to experience its capabilities. It gives you a sense of the user-interface design within the latest version of Moodle. You are welcome to add learning content to the Sandbox area to see how the features work. Just note that the learning content may be available to other visitors to the site, so be thoughtful of what content you load. After a certain period of time the site resets itself clearing up any changes that were made.

We are a Certified Moodle Partner and can assist with demonstrations and to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us at elearning.support@aosis.co.za

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New program launches to ‘teach the teachers’ about technology, social media and digital potential

The rise of e-learning means educators need to upskill on digital risks while inspiring students to reach their ‘digital potential’

On World Teachers’ Day, October 5th, MySociaLife, South Africa’s leading program in schools focusing on online safety, media literacy, and digital potential, has announced the launch of a program to ‘teach the teachers‘ around the latest challenges and opportunities of a life spent increasingly online. 

The 75-minute online course uses a web-based ‘log in and learn’ approach to reveal what’s happening regarding social media, apps, trends, cybersecurity, scams, mental health and essential privacy settings. From this foundation, they can approach their students with a greater understanding and deeper interest to find what excites them in the digital space.

Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife, which was last week shortlisted for Startup Company of other Year at the GESS Awards in Dubai, explains, “We know the majority of teens and pre-teens are online more, so how are we guiding them to look behind the right doors with that screen time? While social media, apps and games are entertaining, there are also amazing websites, apps and resources to help educate, inspire, and, even make money from. It’s evident that there is a skills gap in our country already. We have to start earlier to mentor students in finding multiple interests in this rapidly evolving world of technology. Some of these students will only enter higher education in the middle of this decade, and then graduate into the workplace in 2030. Jobs will be fiercely contested and relevant skills will be central. It’s a little like retirement, the earlier you start and the better the guidance, the returns will be greater.”

“By teaching the teachers, we can help them guide their students to other ways of using smart devices that may open doors for them, ones which can lead to a love of photography or programming or analytics. If you take the amount of time spent online by GenZ and borrow just 10% of it per day and direct it towards a passion or hobby, you can generate fresh momentum. It can also help with mental health too, given the deeper purpose that students find,” McCoubrey adds.

Tough times

However, most teachers do not feel equipped to deal with the diverse aspects of a digital social life, and McCoubrey says it can feel like it’s a vast online landscape to understand, while others admit to being overwhelmed during an uncertain and difficult 18 months. “They need training that is concise and relatable, given the pressures,“ he says. 

Accessibility 

The program seeks to first explain the different dimensions of life online for students between Grades 4 to 6 and also Grades 7 to 11 – latest trends, social apps, gaming, cyberbullying, fake news, privacy and security issues. “Increased screen time can also mean increased risk so you have to know what’s in front of you as a teacher first, so you can navigate the space with these age groups,” he says. 

“Having taught this exact module myself in schools for several years and now moving teach it online, I am so delighted to make this accessible, not just to teachers in South Africa, but to other African countries. We have received interest from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya for our program. The simplicity of our learning management system (LMS) means that educators can first download a lesson plan, plus a teacher pack of tips and tools before they watch the six instructional videos. It’s all about simplicity and accessibility.”

The vantage point of listening 

MySociaLife approaches the education of digital risk and digital potential using a four-prong approach of teaching students, their teachers, their parents and psychologists, the first on the continent to do so, giving them a unique vantage point of listening to all groups and helping to bridge the technological divide. The approach has seen them shortlisted this month as ‘StartUp Company of the Year’ at the GESS Awards in Dubai, with winners to be announced on November 15th. 

Ironically e-learning, with all its benefits, has also increased the need for foundational digital citizenship skills. McCoubrey concludes: “We have seen a real increase in attention from schools this year. They have come to the realisation that e-learning, social media, gaming and smart devices are not going away. They are also more nervous of the reputational damage that can hit their schools if they don’t take a more active role. The only solution is to bring together the adults and the students in a more united approach to the challenges and the opportunities of this evolving space. 

From there, we can point students in the direction of their passions, so they can develop skills beyond their peers. You cannot see that path unless someone lights up the way.

World Youth Skills Day: Unemployment driving unrest in South Africa

Is there a way we can reverse youth unemployment in this country? 

In the midst of South Africa’s deep unrest, 15th July is World Youth Skills Day. Tragically, the country’s youth unemployment rate reached a new record of 32.6%, the highest since the quarterly labour force survey began in 2008, totalling 7.242 million people out of work. Employment lies at the centre of many socio-economic ills, given its capacity to fill time, provide purpose, generate income and drive greater equality. But employment can only be driven by skills training.  

Africa is burdened with an additional challenge: many struggle with literacy, due to the poor delivery of basic education. So, where might hope and inspiration be found in the next decade?

In our pockets.

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Smart device costs continue to come down, and new manufacturers are bringing in devices at lower costs, as well as data prices slowly dropping, meaning increasing access as we move through this decade, and more opportunity to upskill via online learning on a phone, with a growing resource of training platforms which offers free training programs like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity and Khan Academy.

But, explains Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife, South Africa’s leading digital education and media literacy program, “There are many promises various governments have made about their promise of leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), but how many understand the foundational digital skills required? You can’t just jump into robotics or coding, you need to understand what it is to be a digital citizen to embrace the free resources of the internet. Without it, you are driving a vehicle without a licence, or a map. How do you explore and grow safely?”

McCoubrey explains that the foundation is required in the same way previous generations were taught at length to hold a pencil and use those words they create more wisely. By contrast, increasingly, the internet is seeing spikes of misinformation and cyberbullying.

“With the basics in place of media literacy – understanding media, its power and influences, and fake news – as well as digital literacy such as privacy, cybersecurity and handling technology carefully, we can shift gear into exploration and expansion. We can find avenues of income. MySociaLife shows teens where they can learn photography for free, for example, and then show them where to sell their photos or videos,” adds McCoubrey.

Teens and pre-teens use the apps and devices so intuitively, and it’s a huge advantage. Some children are poor in school but brilliant online, which means there could be an alternative for young South Africans that could transcend the lack of quality basic education.

“We stand at a doorway to vault over other African countries, but we need guidance to know which keys will open it and prepare GenerationZ for a 4IR future. We need to focus on basic digital education as well before it’s too late and we miss a glaring opportunity.”

Looking at TikTok and other social media and gaming platforms, popular culture has youth fascinated and motivated, with approximately 60% of its 1bn users globally found in the GenZ age range. We already sing, dance, shoot videos and photos, why not build on this, and start to use these skills? What if we taught them how to do it safely, intelligently and with purpose. Minecraft For Education, for example, is a way to game and code at the same time, learning a new “language”.

MySociaLife approaches the challenge by not only teaching kids foundational digital skills but also their teachers and parents on how to direct youth to opportunities and realise potential, while at the same time ensuring online safety too – “two sides of the same coin.” A South African EdTech training platform, it allows schools to simply log in and learn using eight hours of video training for learners aged 8 to 18 including subjects such as online safety, privacy, cybersecurity, digital footprint, bullying and intimidation, fake news, and ways to build skills and generate income online.

The World Economic Forum listed its top 10 skills for “The Future of Work in 2025” and these included technology monitoring, use and control, and also technology design and programming, critical thinking, social influence, reasoning and stress tolerance. “We teach many of these skills to kids in schools and they respond with such energy and enthusiasm. It’s something that ignites them.”

“On World Youth Skills Day, this is a call to the government to understand both the challenges and the opportunities of media and digital literacy – and to accept how much they need to quickly grasp with regard to evolving popular culture, pre-teen and teen usage of devices simply because of the generational divide and technology divide. It could deliver a huge shift in employment, direction and momentum over time. We are completely missing this right now,” says McCoubrey.

“Even kids that are literate and have unlimited access are not fully utilising their devices and media platforms to their full potential. The outcome of digital citizenship is a more aware and responsible society because it reduces the negativity and polarity online, increases people’s ability to choose their next action, embracing the net for what it can offer – to share, to inform, to educate, to deliver income, to support, and much more. It’s apparent we would greatly benefit from this right now,” he concludes.

Creating e-Learning for English Second-Language Learners

This article has been contributed by FUEL, a member of ADESSA.

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At FUEL, we specialise in creating engaging e-Learning lessons for English second-language learners. Most of our learners speak English as their second language. This means that we have to be especially sensitive to their ability to understand the language. This includes every element of the e-Learning experience, from the writing of the narrative all the way through to the user interface design. In this article, we are going to share some of our most valued guidelines for creating awesome e-Learning lessons for our English second-language learners

Use the simplest language possible

Language use not only includes the words you use but also how you structure your sentences. We follow a basic rule: if you can think of a shorter word or sentence than what is being used – use it. If there is a simpler way of saying something, then say it that way.

If we’re using more technical terminology or jargon in your lesson, we use a specific example to illustrate exactly what you mean. Sometimes, we use a glossary section where we define these terms and explain what they are used for.

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Make navigation easy

There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing where to tap or click or how to continue with a lesson. For this reason, the navigation and user interface need to be as simple as it is instructive. Don’t leave anything up to chance. If there is the slightest chance of confusion, fix it.

Here, we think about what we want the learner to do at every step of the journey. When describing an action, we use a verb that the learner will relate to. For example, if we need our learners to select something to enter an answer, we make the wording for the relevant field something along the lines of: ‘Enter answer’. On top of this, we give the button a distinct colour that just screams action, like green or red.

Don’t introduce any elements that are distracting – ever. Here, we believe that our only goal is to help our learner understand something. If there is anything that distracts the learner’s attention from what matters – remove it.

Don’t only tell the learner – show them

We don’t expect our learners to rely on textual or verbal explanations only. We believe that the best way to explain how to do something is to show it. That’s why we love using video, and lots of simple images and easy-to-understand animations, for our learners.

Video can bridge gaps in language and ensure that if the learner doesn’t understand the wording, they can fall back onto the visuals. It’s simple, if you’re discussing an object, show it. If you’re trying to explain a difficult process, use flow charts and infographics to represent it visually.

These are just some of the guidelines that we use every day to ensure that any lessons we create are well positioned to ensure our learners keep learning. The bottom line is that for any e-Learning solution to be successful, it has to be based on knowing our learners. That’s why we strongly believe that every lesson begins with the question: ‘Who is my learner?’

Creating Effective Remote Onboarding in a Post-Pandemic World

This article is contributed by Fuel Online, a valued member of ADESSA.

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have adopted a fully or hybrid remote approach to working. With an established workforce, this is a manageable transition, however, organisations will need to think about how they effectively onboard future employees.

The dramatic shift away from established office working, to the majority of workforces now working from home, has revealed significant benefits that have led to many organisations making the change a permanent one.  Employers are realising that they can significantly reduce overhead costs and are no longer geographically limited in their hiring choices. Many businesses are also adopting a hybrid approach to capitalise on work-from-home advantages and mitigating the disadvantages. The hot desk is ready to make a comeback as businesses offer smaller, flexible office spaces for team members to drop in one or two days a week. However, the need for effective onboarding is more essential than ever. Organisations need to ensure that they can onboard future employees seamlessly.

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Identify important information

Whether you’re an experienced onboarder or just starting out, the first step is to identify the content that new employees need to know to get started. Don’t give in to the temptation to try communicate everything at once. That approach will overwhelm your onboarding programme and will likely leave you with a new employee who has struggled to retain the basic and most important information they need to function in their role. The best approach is to determine two or three learning objectives. This can be done by refining the information to cover what your new employee needs to be able to do in their role. Potential learning objectives may be:

  • Apply company values to their work
  • Identify and use appropriate tools for completing tasks
  • Follow company policies

Clear learning objectives will help you to carefully review all potential content and evaluate the value of each piece to identify what content is truly relevant to your onboarding programme and what is better placed elsewhere. These will help you to order your content into what is most urgent, informing your content creation roadmap.

Create your content

All training content needs to be informed by your onboarding learning objectives. If you have existing onboarding material that needs to be converted, it is useful to bear in mind that no content is unusable; all existing legacy content can be adjusted to suit delivery through an online training methodology, organisations just need to understand how to utilize what currently exists. An experienced online training service provider, like FUEL, is more than capable of ensuring that all existing content is revised and utilized so no skills knowledge is lost during the implementation phase. FUEL excels at successfully converting existing training content into engaging, online training modules for maximum return on investment. We offer a full-service production service, from script to screen. Our ‘Presenter to camera methodology provides a vital transitional link for learners moving from classroom-based learning to online training. Our green-screen studio is equipped with state-of-the-art camera and lighting equipment and we offer a range of production packages to meet both your learning objectives and your budget.

Assign training leaders

Assigning a Training Leader to a new employee, will ensure that they get the support and motivation that they require when making the shift to working online. For many employees who are used to having the support of colleagues in the office environment, the shift to working remotely will be challenging.

A training leader will be able to monitor the progress of learners through their modules and can offer regular check-ins with those who are struggling to adapt to the new way of working. The most unique challenge of all virtual activity, including training staff to work online, is social isolation. Check-ins help remote workers feel a sense of community. If those workers are left ignored for too long, it could potentially impact employee health and wellness and be a drag on productivity.

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