The Pan African E-Network Project: A New Learning Culture


Nundoo-Ghoorah SUNITI
Joyejob TARA


ABSTRACT
This paper sets out to explore the paradigm shift in learning culture brought about by the advent of online learning in the mostly print-based ODL system at the Mauritius College of the Air (MCA). It delves into the perceptions of learners and MCA staff involved in a range of undergraduate to Master’s programmes forming part of the Pan African e- Network Project that wires 23 African countries with top-ranking Indian universities through synchronous and interactive state of the art technology. Learners across five of the disciplines offered through tele-learning and a team of MCA staff participating in programme delivery were surveyed through questionnaires and interviews to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. For most of the respondents this new learning ethos has induced an acculturation process requiring radical reconceptualisation of prior notions about teaching/learning. MCA staff, too, have had to learn conducive behavior patterns to consolidate existing support services. Survival in this new learning environment where the tutor is a remote on-screen entity, where e-books replace printed material, where connectivity can be a daily struggle, demands another mindset, another set of values enabling learning and fine-tuned ICT skills. Socialisation with tutors and fellow learners is possible through links in Facebook and Twitter. However, learners still tend to feel somewhat isolated. It is proposed that an e-platform be set up to link up learners as a mutually supportive learning community engaged in the construction of knowledge.


KEYWORDS: New Learning Culture, Tele-Learning, Values Enabling Learning

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