The Place And Role Of Em-learning In Multi-mode Delivery Of Educator Training In South Africa
Steyn, Hennie J.
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In any country in the world, the business and responsibility of, as well as the challenge to the education fraternity are to provide quality education to all. Therefore, quality teaching and learning should be provided to assist all learners to acquire the required competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) at the highest possible level in order to fulfil their respective and diverse roles in life (Steyn, Steyn, De Waal and Wolhuter, 2002: 34). The point of departure should be to provide quality education in such a way that it is accessible and affordable to all. The quality of education is to a large extent determined by the quality of information transfer and the quality and quantity of support that the learners receive to master the outcomes of their studies. The developments in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provide a real opportunity to improve the quality of information transfer and teaching support that learners can obtain. However, the real challenge for education in the developing world, and even in the developed world, is the level of accessibility, affordability and complexities of ICT (Dreyer, 2005: 4). The result of the ability to provide assessable ICT in developing countries is the ever-increasing digital gap that deeply influences the quality of education of less affluent people and the difference in quality of education between developed and developing countries. At the North-West University, Faculty of Education Sciences, the decision was made to provide enriched teaching and learning to a particular group of teachers via an off-campus blended teaching and learning strategy. Within the limitations of affordability and access, the decision was made to use the multi-mode teaching strategy (including some types of modern ICT) to support the students and to enhance the support that the learners obtain. The aim of this article is to report on the reasons, development and implementation of the project as well as initial results. Attention will be given to the nature and contents of the ADP-programme, the theoretical framework that was used to develop the strategy and the nature and content of the multi-mode teaching strategy that was employed. The method of research that was used to develop the teaching and learning strategy particularly applicable to this programme was that of a process of iterative and systematic critical reasoning. Based on the critical reasoning, it was through an combined (and not necessarily initially decided upon) application of several (applicable) scientific methods and processes, such as observation, analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction that the strategy was developed (Stoker, 1961: 62-90; Mouton and Marais, 1989: 102; Mouton, 1996; 77-78; Harden and Thomas, 2005: 258; Bensley, 1998: 3; Ennis, 1987: 9).