eLearning Africa 2015 – Enriching Tomorrow by Enabling Today

Centurion – This year OPENCOLLAB actively participated in eLearning Africa by exhibiting and presenting at the conference for the first time. Meeting and sharing experiences with educators from Africa extended our understanding of the challenges faced in many African countries and we were excited to see African innovation in practice.

The 10th annual eLearning Africa conference took place from the 20th to the 22th of May 2015 at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With 1,389 people from 68 countries participating, this was a gathering where everyone had one vision in mind: Enriching tomorrow through education.

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As a company that is passionate about delivering software solutions that may contribute to providing post-secondary education to all, we are all too familiar with the challenges in Africa on the one hand, such as low bandwidth and limited access to internet and the opportunities, such as growth of mobile adoption, on the other. The eLearning Africa conference highlighted the effect of these on education in Africa, but it also highlighted some basic obstacles that still need to be overcome: As the eLearning Africa debate on the last day of the conference showed with a majority vote, Africa’s challenges still lie in deciding whether vocational or academic training should be a priority.

OPENCOLLAB’s focus for this conference was on eLearning tools, with a specific focus on Synthesis. Students should be able to access content anytime, anywhere and it should be available on multiple devices: mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Synthesis is a product developed by OPENCOLLAB that integrates with the Sakai and / or Moodle Learning Management Systems (LMS). It allows the student to work offline when there is no / limited access to the internet.

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Our product development manager, Samuel Holtzkampf, presented and debated Synthesis with about 35 conference delegates and at our stand we primarily marketed Synthesis and One (a revolutionary new lightweight enterprise portal) as well as our total suite of open source ERP solutions and collaboration tools like the Open Academic Environment. Since Moodle is already very popular in Africa as an Learning Management System, our Synthesis offline solution soon became a popular attraction at our stand. Features such as anytime access to study material, sharing content when not connected and the ability to save work offline locally and auto upload when online, made issues such as bandwidth costs and connectivity issues look less daunting.

Back in South Africa now, with good memories and valuable insight, OPENCOLLAB is looking forward to rekindling all the new eLearning Africa relationships in the coming weeks.

Our thanks to the organisers for putting together this successful event.

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