Many e-Learning solutions have been proposed but one of the biggest problems that are specific to the African market is that of costs. The cost of data to access information is a problem that has existed for the longest of times and one of the major reasons why, even today, e-learning still has a hard time taking off locally.
Davington is a startup that looking solve this problem entirely. The LearnersTab is a solution that aims to take e-learning offline and I must say the product is exciting. So how does this LearnersTab work?
Davington focuses on visual learning delivering Cambridge, EdExcel and Zimsec Syllabi for forms 1-4. The LearnersTab currently focuses on Sciences and English so you get the following subjects;
As these subjects are conducted in English, there are also basic English lessons on the platform but not the entire syllabus .The lessons are delivered visually and all the videos are stored on custom microSD Cards that you can use either on your laptop or a tablet/phone. Because the syllabus material (both lessons and tests) is on a memory card, there is no need for an internet connection and data costs are eliminated.Davington favoured videos and interactive lessons as they are more engaging compared to notes and the more traditional approaches and I do think it’s a great way to engage ‘new school’ kids who are not exactly enthusiastic about hard cover books.
The LearnersTab comes with two companion applications; one which contains all the lessons and then a second application that acts as a revision hub.
The revision side of things…
The second application that covers revisions is as easy to use as the one with lessons. Students or teachers simply have a multitude of customisation options to choose from and these include:
- Number of questions (Ranging from 1-1000)
- Difficulty of test
- Type of question (e.g multiple choice, True/False)
Once you have set the test you feel is appropriate your test is prepared and LearnersTab contains questions from the past 5 years and these are used to prepare your tests. After every 12 months, the application is also updated to contain newer and relevant content in case certain syllabus changes.
If you prefer to access the content online, there is no problem as all the content is accessible online as well. You’ll just have to be sure that you have the necessary data to stream the videos for all the subjects.
The most pressing question you have is probably, “how much do I have to pay for all this?” For the first year you have to part with $170 and then for subsequent years, you will pay $50 a year. One caveat is that this payment only covers the cost of the content (i.e the cards/online access). Depending on your view this will either be an issue or a non-issue. For those with kids who already have access to a computer or a tablet there won’t be any issues but for those without you’ll have to be prepared to buy a separate device for your child to access the content.
Remember Portable Cloud?
If you are a staunch Techzim reader you’ll probably remember Portable Cloud. If you don’t then let’s talk about that briefly. Like LearnersTab they sought to bring eLearning offline and they had a device that would store educational content and would allow people to connect to it and get access to that content.
The Portable Cloud had some advantages of it’s own over LearnersTab. The Portable Cloud device allowed many people to connect and get content from one device whereas LearnersTab has content tied to a single device. This means that for a school, they may end up having to buy many of these sets.
The Portable Cloud was not all rosy either. At a retail cost of $500 it’s much more expensive than a single unit of the LearnersTab and more importantly because it’s a single device, anyone wanting to get access would have to have a laptop or tablet. These are not common devices in most schools so that was another hurdle to navigate.
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