From the various posts and articles, I have identified the following list of challenges.
- Lack of internet access: The vast majority of South Africans do not have access to internet. This is enhanced by three factors: they do not have internet enabled devices, they do not have the finance for data bundles, or there is no significant internet in their area.
- Underprepared Teachers/Lecturers: The people in charge of facilitating learning do not possess the skills to fully use the online learning platforms. We have many technophobic teachers and lecturers who will do all in their power to avoid using technology or to discredit its benefits. This is not to say that their arguments are invalid, but to say they have a natural resistance and they will probably not change in the near future. We also have another group which lacks the skills required to operate online.
- Underprepared Institutions: Institutions can be underprepared for online learning in that their policies, visions and missions do not support or include online learning. As a result they lack the infrastructure and personnel to drive the online learning initiatives.
- Lack of Skilled Personnel: Online learning requires both the technically skilled worker and the online pedagogically skilled individuals. Positions such as Learning and Instructional Designers did not exist in the past (10 – 15 years ago), hence it is not surprising that they are in short supply today. These people are the engine that gives value to online learning.
- Lack of Finance: Online learning requires a substantial investment. The infrastructure, the skilled personnel for day to day operations take up a huge chunk of an institutions budget.
- Inconsistent Power Supply: We all know that we have load shedding in South Africa. The inconsistent power supply poses a challenge of damage to online learning infrastructure. In addition, load shedding results in loads of network downtime and thus interrupting online learning.
This list is not exhaustive, and I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can expand on it.