What you need to know to start a career in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) or eLearning.

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Electronic learning (eLearning) or Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) as in some circles referred to, sounds a new trend in the East African region. I owe the assumption to the rate of skills uptake and utilization of eLearning services in Uganda. The rest of the world including some African states have embraced eLearning as a fully functional segment of education and training at academic institutions and workplace.

Business Wire’s research and markets report 2017, Africa E-Learning Market Analysis & Forecast 2017-2022, on a regional basis, South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Kenya emerge as countries where e-learning is gaining prominence rapidly.

 TEL or eLearning is a branch in education and training that not only lends a hand to support the service of teaching and learning but also expands the job market in new ways by utilizing technology. This begs the question, is the service of eLearning a task cut out for I.T professionals?  My response is that the duty requirements of eLearning or TEL pundits are diverse and most time not rigid to the ICT profession.  

“….People cross over from widely unrelated fields with different academic specialities.” Says Tim Buff-Chief Learning Strategist and CEO at CM Group, referring to eLearning pros.

It is also worth mentioning that both evolving education trends and information Technology innovations play a central part in the development and management of Technology-enhanced Learning (eLearning).  According to Mindfield Consulting-Toronto, eLearning professionals are talented professionals who are dedicated to helping people and organizations learn and apply knowledge on a daily basis. In other words, the key to a successful eLearning career is to appreciate how people learn.

Therefore, educators have higher leverage to direct TEL or eLearning amenities but also influence the development of TEL tools and activities to effectively support teaching and learning. This should not be interpreted to mean others do not have a chance at TEL. The field is open to all persons willing to learn new procedures to support education and training. “The most effective and successful professionals are constantly learning, they take the time to apply what they have learned, and they continually work to improve themselves. Do everything you can to use these strategies, and you will find great success as an eLearning professional!” Says Joel Gardener-Faculty Instructional Design and Performance Technology, Franklin University.

The global market size of eLearning was estimated at USD 165Bn in 2015 and project to grow by 5% between 2018-2023, exceeding USD 240Bn. Factors such as the possibility of allocating a lower budget for eLearning purposes (compared to traditional education methods) together with increased flexibility in learning are expected to drive industry growth. Report by Docebo eLearning Trends for 2018.  

To give you some head-up, TEL or eLearning as commonly known is prominent with areas that include mobile learning, learning at scale, collaborative learning, open learning, Student-centered learning, and social learning among others. 

There is no turning back when it comes to applying technology to solving or supporting the centuries-old services as we know them including but not limited to education and health services. Application of technology is not meant to replace people but to support if the professionals in these sectors are willing to take the mantle and lead the race. Apparently, coupled with other factors, there is some degree of resistance that doesn’t favour anyone yet the industry is longing for pacemakers to guide the race. Get on board and be the TEL or eLearning professionals in Uganda.  

Further reading: The 23 Inspiring Tips to Becoming an eLearning Professional by eLearning Industry’s Christopher Pappas should give you some insights to safely start off the journey.

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