This activity addressed the challenges of e-learning for West African users. The design-thinking approach (figure below) was used to evaluate educational concepts and e-learning solutions. The aim was to develop solutions in co-design workshops with both students and lecturers from academic institutions in West Africa. The challenges of virtual learning and teaching were discussed, with possible solutions being proposed while taking into consideration software and hardware limitations. The two aspects of the 2020 e-learning activity are outlined below.
Step 1: Online workshops with students and lecturers:
These workshops included a creative process, where participants jointly defined problems and ideated possible solutions. Design-thinking is a process that promotes teamwork towards a common goal, thinking differently and coming up with creative and innovative solutions. The participants were users of e-learning tools, i.e. researchers, lecturers, and students from West African institutions. The goal was to outline appropriate e-learning tools (software and hardware) that would address the needs of the West African partner institutions given the technological environment (e.g. limited/unreliable internet access). Central themes were the didactic and methodological use of e-learning tools and their application in online teaching.
Step 2: Pilot testing of e-learning solutions
In NEWAL Phase 2 (2022), software and hardware solutions that can incorporate the design and functionalities developed in the design-thinking workshops will be used as a basis for NEWAL virtual webinars and workshops. The actual usage and functionality of the developed e-learning solutions will be assessed and if successful, these e-learning solutions will serve as a basis for the formalization of e-learning collaboration within the CLOC West Africa network.