Smooth Lectures is a new e-learning platform that exclusively distributes ‘O’ and ‘A’ level new ZIMSEC curriculum material focusing on science subjects.
E-learning is all the rage right now because of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I visited the website to get a feel what they are offering.
First impressions of Smooth Lectures
The first thing I noticed was the website’s simple user-friendly layout; you don’t need to have a technical background to know your way around the site which is a plus when one is studying. The home page is straight to the point; the fact that the core services are the first thing one sees saves users time. Users can decide off the bat whether the site is useful to them or not.
Navigation is also a breeze whenever you go onto a page a bar materialises on the left side of your screen with a detailed listing of the items found on the current page. The site’s solid dull colours like brown, dark yellow and black aren’t distracting from the point of the site but you remember the experience. You can tell a lot of work went into the design, the layout makes anyone using it feel comfortable because it is well done and clean looking.
The site has five other pages that lead you to materials about; O and A level notes; past exam papers, exam tips and practical exam information. The site offers material for O level biology, chemistry and combined science. On the A level front it offers identical types of material for biology, chemistry and pure mathematics.
The site uses a topic-based approach many prefer when learning. I have to say the site does deliver, as an admittedly terrible science student myself I could see the site making a significant difference back when I was at school.
I find the Practical pages for biology and chemistry very unique; a large number of schools in Zimbabwe struggle to prep their science students for practicals due to cost of materials. Information and the tips provided on the practical exam gives students some inkling on what to expect and how to proceed.
The notes are available in pdf format which is a plus because a majority of people out there have pdf readers. Furthermore, the site has a glossary of terms section which basically explains to students what certain terminology in exam questions demands from them.
A site designed and fit for the times
I find the website’s services very relevant, it offers educational material during a time where the education process is strained by the pandemic. It is bridging a gap where some students don’t have access to learning materials and to top it all off the service is free. Just have your internet access and device ready and you are set to go.
Another aspect of the site I find favourable is their call for contributions at the bottom of the homepage. It shows just how committed the site is in enriching their content for the user. Their focus on a specific genre of subjects promotes user confidence in the effort put into the service.
It’s hard to compare the site to other educational websites because of its exclusive content; Smooth Lectures has established a niche target group which sets it apart. But since I have to, next to any other e-learning platforms smoothlectures.com holds its own.
The sites claims, “Notes, Questions and Answers and other services provided here are constantly reviewed to avoid errors, but I cannot warrant full correctness of all content”. This is where I pause for a bit; on one hand, it makes me question the quality of their service but the human in me understands mistakes happen and sees this as a tool to keep learners on their feet. To challenge information fed to them and not just cram for the exam.
One little niggle
Despite all the good things about the site, I was disappointed by some links that didn’t work. One took me to an error 404 message when I tried to view a chemistry past exam paper, another just reported that my download when I wanted to view a pure mathematics syllabus.
Besides that smoothlectures.com is a pretty impressive website, it’s worth taking the time to check out for any science student.