Stefan du Plessis, Commercial Director at Eiffel Corp. (LinkedIn)

JOHANNESBURG -  The Eiffel Corp Transform Education Summit hosted in Johannesburg recently challenged academics and administrators alike by creating awareness of the fast-changing digital world and the impact on their institutions.

Stefan du Plessis, Commercial Director at Eiffel Corp outlined how students expect learning to be consumerised and how technology enables institutions to support their students from their academic studies to career counseling to job placement.

“Mobile boosts the overall education experience.  Offering continued engagement, nudges the student along the path to student success.”

“Students are fluent in the language of digital and to ensure successful student throughput, we need to speak their language,” said du Plessis.

In South Africa, access is a key inhibitor. Universities all have a strategic focus on providing various types of access because technology opens up media-rich opportunities in formats with which most students are familiar.

According to Prof Wendy Kilfoil, Director of Education Innovation at University of Pretoria, a proportion of their students owns multiple, high end devices, the likes of which no university could provide for the majority of students. 

However, universities in South Africa need to accommodate tech rich and tech poor students.

“Tech-rich students want mobile access to resources. Those who come from resource-rich schools have been working with technology to create knowledge in a way seldom matched in universities. But the majority of students, even in well-resourced urban universities nowadays, come from deprived communities,” she said.

Most students at universities and colleges have one device that links them to the internet, but have very little data; thus, they rely on the institutions’ computers and WiFi systems for their education requirements.

“Students often arrive on campus with minimal digital literacy so they need basic training before learning the use of the LMS,” added Kilfoil.

Du Plessis warned technology alone is not enough.  “Faculty and student adoption tool kits exist, but internal marketing and change management is essential to ensure effective adoption.”