The Middle East and North Africa Region is the cradle of civilization. Human beings first evolved here. Science and Mathematics was taken to Europe by the Arab traders from this region. With this history, it was surprising that education was not considered the region’s strongest suit. Today, the circle has completed and a new trend has emerged to take the MENA region back to its former glory – Digital Learning.
In spite of the rapid progress this region made in nearly all fronts, education seemed to lag behind. This changed a few decades ago when many governments in the regions decided to aggressively push the education sector with heavy investments. As a result, illiteracy has been halved since 1980, the average levels of schooling have quadrupled, and the gender disparity has almost been leveled.
As part of this educational revolution, we have begun to see a rise in the use of technology as a teaching aid. Panworld Education has been supplying quality educational content for ten years and is now responsible for bringing digital learning to this region.
What Is Digital Learning?
Digital Learning, unlike traditional learning, is not just dependent on books and teachers. A significant portion of the lessons are supplemented with digital or online media. These are usually interactive and can be accessed on any device from anywhere.
The biggest advantage blended learning offers is that the students are allowed to progress through the lesson at their own pace. It also frees up the teachers as exercises are completed digitally, leaving them to focus on children who might need a bit of extra attention.
Why Is Digital Learning Becoming So Popular In The MENA Region?
To understand why digital learning is becoming so popular in the MENA region, we first need to understand the background of the education sector in the region. Therefore, before we actually delve into the why digital learning is becoming popular; humor us, as we walk you through a brief history of this region vis-à-vis education.
The Middle East and North African Region, as mentioned earlier, did not have a great deal of focus on education. This has been a recent development, with various governments investing in building a more educated future. This focus has been fueled by an influx of migrants, especially in some of the Middle Eastern countries. This has resulted in a rapid growth of population and a resultant demand on the education system. These students come from different parts of the world from varying educational backgrounds. This means the schools need to be able to deal with a wide spectrum of needs.
Additionally, since education funding is so recent, there is a dearth of institutes for higher education. Until recently, students from this region had to look to other countries for higher education. This of course was not feasible for students who were economically not equipped for the expenses involved.
So how does all of this translate to a rapidly growing demand for interactive learning solutions?
1. Recent Investment In The Education Sector Means Getting The Latest Technology:
With countries that have been investing in education for decades, investment in education typically goes more into the upkeep and growth rather than rebuilding the infrastructure. With already established systems, it is cheaper to build upon them rather than try to do a complete revamp.
The biggest drawback of the MENA countries, their previous lack of education funding, now means that whatever they invest will be in the latest technologies. This means educational technology will become a part of their educational system rather than being introduced piece-meal. This is one of the factors that have made digital learning material so popular here.
2. Rapidly Growing Populations Need Educational Methods That Can Accommodate Numbers:
The rate at which the population in some of these countries is rising means that educational institutions need to be able to cope with more pupils. Digital learning offers the simple solution where teachers need to invest lesser time for better returns.
With online course material and digital teaching aids, students can go over a lesson with a teacher and then review it on their own. The digital course material is interactive and helps students understand with visuals and videos.
This frees up the teachers to teach students who are not as quick to grasp the lesson as others. It also means they can teach a larger class without losing out on the quality of education. Blended learning also helps institutions utilize limited space by making certain lessons completely online.
3. Digital Learning Is More Efficient For Teachers And Students:
Digital learning tools help make lessons more interesting for students and can be accessed from anywhere. This makes them easier to understand and the students get the advantage of going through the lesson at a comfortable pace. Additionally, it also makes learning less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
As mentioned earlier, interactive learning solutions assist the teachers, thereby giving them more time with students who need the human interaction. It helps them plan lessons easily, teach more effectively and do it in less time than with conventional methods. With demand on the education systems increasing every year, this efficiency is highly valued.
4. It Makes It Easier To Phase Into Online Higher Education:
Most countries in the MENA region have few or no institutes of higher education. Up until quite recently, they relied on colleges and universities in the more developed nations. This obviously meant that students who could not afford to go abroad to study had to suffer.
The internet has changed that. Even as more institutes of higher education are being set up, online university courses are still a popular choice for graduation and post-graduation studies. The reason for this is the obvious cost and time advantage. Students can attend classes in a university thousands of miles away while sitting at home.
Online classes are held once a week and lessons and lectures uploaded on to the server. These are available to students at any time. They also have to pay a fraction of the fee, without the additional costs of traveling and accommodation. This makes access to higher education easy for every economic class.
Because digital learning involves a great deal of online education as well, this makes it easier to transition from digital K-12 learning to online higher education. This makes education more egalitarian and accessible to all.
5. Encourages Learning Of Technology Along With Regular Lessons:
The MENA region has had a lack of skilled technicians mainly due to the lack of educational facilities. While technology is making its way into the society not many people are technology-savvy. This is not a major issue, but having digital learning in school does encourage the students to get comfortable with digital technology.
While digital learning may not be the perfect solution, it does have some significant advantages over traditional learning methods. These advantages make it ideal for the requirements of the MENA region, which has contributed to its massively growing popularity here.