How eLearning Can Be A Solution To Low Computer Literacy In Third World Countries

How eLearning Can Be A Solution To Low Computer Literacy In Third World Countries
Summary: We live in the internet age. At a time like this, lack of computer literacy is not only unfortunate, but unacceptable. Low computer literacy, however, is very much a reality in Third World countries, not just among the common masses, but also among corporate employees. This article discusses exactly that.

Low Computer Literacy: How eLearning Can Make The Difference

eLearning has the potential to transform education as well as Learning and Development does in corporate organizations; there is no one denying this fact. Watching eLearning progress from corporate training programs and smart classes to being available directly to your smartphone has left no doubt that eLearning is the future of all kinds of learning. However, before eLearning can become ubiquitous, there are certain obstacles it has to jump over. Particularly in Third World Countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and African countries like Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania etc., to name a few, the biggest obstacle facing eLearning is computer literacy, or rather computer illiteracy.

Computer literacy in these Third World countries means having minimal and basic knowledge of computers. However, in other (developed) countries, computer literacy includes an elementary knowledge of programming as well. According to very reliable sources like UNESCO, computer literacy in the said nations is around 7%, which is appalling, to say the least. In this modern world, where everything is digitalized, such low numbers of computer literacy are a substantial hindrance in the progress of any country.

You would expect at least corporate employees/learners in these nations to be tech-savvy, but unfortunately, a lack of computer literacy exists amidst them as well. A lot of these corporate learners have trouble using simple tools such as the Microsoft Office Suite to manage their files. And, unlike their counterparts in developed nations, these corporate employees have no idea how to fix common computer problems (for example, a network cable which got unplugged) as they have no knowledge of hardware, which causes hindrances and interruptions at work. Also, when such learners see their digitally educated counterparts, they get even more disheartened. How can we effectively hope to use eLearning as the prime means of education as well as Learning and Development in the future when even corporate learners are barely tech-savvy in the present?

Ironically enough, the solution lies in the problem itself. eLearning is computer-based learning, and as corporate learners use computers to take eLearning courses, they become more and more computer literate. What is needed are eLearning courses on basic computer literacy itself! But, how do you teach learners with no first-hand experience of computers (rare, but not unheard of)?

Blended learning can work wonders for such a problem. While providing digitally weak learners with eLearning courses to complete would be like asking an illiterate person to read, things are different when it comes to blended learning, and a person has got to start from somewhere. Using the blended learning model, employees with low computer literacy can be started off with classroom sessions on basic computer literacy, which can then be followed by the application of the lessons taught. Science says that the only way to retain information is by learning, followed by application. And that’s exactly what this model of eLearning encompasses! You'll be surprised at how quick these initially "digitally weak" learners catch up once they get a hang of the basics. It won't happen overnight but it is a much faster way to strengthen learners' computer literacy than traditional methods.

It is obvious that without basic knowledge on how to operate basic programs and such, learners will have a hard time taking online courses. Which is why training that increases the learners' knowledge about computers, as well as its application coupled with basic knowledge of hardware that allows these learners to fix common computer problems, are required. Blended learning is highly efficient, fast-paced and targeted, and thus will allow digitally illiterate or weak learners to quickly come at par with their digitally educated counterparts.

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