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Time ripe for digital education

As the global digital wave intensifies, there is an increasing amount of pressure on South African marketers and agencies to upskill themselves with new tools and know-how. MEGAN BUGHES offers some insights on the trends, developments and opportunities available to meet this growing demand.

Currently there is an enormous growth in the number of online education facilities and offerings, with a considerable effort to make learning more engaging, interactive and attractive. Red and Yellow has identified 3 key innovations that are shaping the face of online education today, making it accessible and even desirable for the upskilling of workforces:

1. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) have become one of the biggest game changers in the world of online and distance education. This can be seen in platforms such as Coursera, Khan Academy and edX, which allow an extraordinary number of students to gain access to top level academic content, usually at little to no cost. Students are provided with lecture notes, videos and assignments from some of the world’s top universities and lecturers. This provides a convenient and accessible platform for students to develop their careers in addition to interacting and exchanging ideas on dedicated forums through World-Wide Networking.

2. Technology in Online Education

“Students learn more from taking tests than studying for tests,” Jane McGonigal explains in her TedEd talk on the Gamification of Education.

Research indicates that lectures alone do not lead to optimal long-term learning retention, and online education facilities have been built with this in mind. New technology has created learning platforms that are built for automation and immediate, personalised feedback for students through systems such as peer reviews and programmed machine grading.

Codecademy provides students with the opportunity to learn multiple programming languages. Users can test out their skills by writing the required code and can immediately see the result. The system is capable of grading the student’s code, which provides them with insight to improve their work in future.

The online language learning platform Babbel includes an integrated speech recognition tool that allows learners to test and practice their pronunciation. The sites can be accessed both from a desktop computer and an iPhone.

This kind of technology also provides the opportunity for students to learn at their own pace, in their own time.

3. Flipped and Blended Classrooms

Educators around the world have found considerable benefits in adopting what is known as the flipped or blended classroom. Instead of lecturing the students and then sending them away with homework, students are given the lecture notes or videos to go through at home, and then have the opportunity to practice and implement the theoretical knowledge in the class environment. This ensures that when they have questions or are struggling on a particular idea, the expert is available to help them through the challenge.


As online education continues to be the focus for many entrepreneurs, many more innovative advancements in this field are set to emerge. According to Red & Yellow, Stanford President John Hennessey put it quite plainly when he said, “There’s a tsunami coming.

Luckily, we’re all learning to swim.

* Megan Hughes, Academic co-ordinator at Red & Yellow.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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