Nigerian university starts mobile learning initiative



THE UNIVERSITY OF Ibadan in Nigeria is discovering the educational and administrative benefits of delivering learning materials to its students via their mobile phones - by-passing ‘traditional’ e-learning.

Faced with the increasing need to prepare its students, via remotely accessed e-learning, for the examinations that will determine their future career paths, Nigeria’s University of Ibadan has partnered with teaching and testing specialist, the Educational Advancement Center (EAC), and the leading learning content management (LCMS) and digital repository (DR) solution provider, eXact learning solutions. EAC and eXact learning solutions have just announced their partnership for reselling the learn eXact learning content management product line and, HarvestRoad Hive Digital Repository in West, East and Central Africa.

Expanding the ‘traditional’ idea of delivering this learning via computers, eXact learning solutions has developed a system that delivers the required learning materials via mobile phones seamlessly from its LCMS infrastructure.

According to the University of Ibadan, making these learning materials available via mobile phones will produce a number of benefits for students, teachers and administrators. These include:

• The ease with which tests, quizzes and surveys can be distributed and the results gathered and analysed.
• Potentially continuous interaction in real time between the teacher and student, as well as among students, via the forum and chat room options.
• The ease with which notifications of events, dead-lines, timetables and exam timetables can be sent to each student.
• Books can be accessed via mobile phone at some ten to 15 per cent of the cost of supplying hard copies.

The University of Ibadan is also keen on extending these resources to students of other universities in Nigeria and other countries in the continent of Africa.
Cost-effective solutions for communication.

“Apart from providing an outstanding learning tool to students, the University of Ibadan will be providing a ost-effective communication tool on campus - which can be tracked,” said Muyiwa Bamgbose, the CEO of EAC. “In addition, we’ll be improving the overall quality of education in Nigeria and, possibly, Africa.”
Carin Martell, eXact learning solutions’ Channel Manager, explained: “In Nigeria – and, indeed, in other parts of Africa – some people are ‘technology shy’; others can’t afford a computer and many more cannot even find one to use. Moreover, erratic and inadequate power supplies, allied to unreliable and inadequate internet facilities, contribute to inefficiencies when it comes to using computers to deliver e-learning.

“On the other hand, 1.5 billion people all over the world - and some 80mn people in Nigeria - have mobile phones. In effect, these are powerful computers which provide an ideal delivery mechanism for learning materials,” she added.

Today's mobile phones have the computing power of a mid-1990s personal computer (PC) while consuming only one-hundredth of the energy. The simplest, voice-only phones have more complex and powerful chips than did the 1969 onboard computer that landed a spaceship on the Moon.

“Educators may see mobile phones as a distraction to learning, yet these are pocket sized computers that are nearly always ‘on’ – and that means that they can deliver learning materials anywhere, as and when required,” Martell continued. “Moreover, because of their design, mobile phones are automatically able to handle audio, pictures and video of good quality – thereby creating powerful tutorial materials.”

So, working with EAC, eXact learning solutions is transforming ‘standard computerised learning material’ into materials that were adapted to be delivered via mobile phone.


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