Digitalization of Teaching and Learning: Experiences and Opportunities in Selected Higher Learning Institutions in Zambia.

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue IX, September 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Digitalization of Teaching and Learning: Experiences and Opportunities in Selected Higher Learning Institutions in Zambia.

Rose Chikopela1, Francis S. Sikanyika2 , Cynthia N. Kalizinje3 , Grace Sondashi4
1Zambia Institute of Special Education, Department of Hearing Impairment, Lusaka, Zambia
2Bwalya Mponda Secondary School, Department of Guidance and Counselling, Lunga, Zambia
3Royal Monze Institute of Medical Evangelism, Department of Philanthropy, Lusaka, Zambia
4Libala Secondary School, Department of Guidance and Counselling, Lusaka, Zambia

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Abstract: The study was undertaken to analyze higher learning institutions’ e-learning policies post COVID-19. A descriptive research design was used. The sample comprised 10 administrators and 15 lectures in 10 Universities, and 30 students who were randomly selected. Data was collected using questionnaires while analysis of data was done using SPSS to obtain descriptive statistics. The study revealed that Universities have e-learning policies in place and are prepared for digital teaching and learning. The study established that lecturers and students prefer traditional face-to-face learning to e-learning. Though e-learning has opportunities in the COVID-19 era such as time and cost effective, and enhancing learning to a larger crowd outside campus, it is expensive to many institutions of higher learning due to high costs of maintenance of equipment, software and training of staff on online teaching. In addition, learners also find it challenging to use e-learning platforms due to factors such as poor internet connectivity, electricity load shedding which results in prolonged power outage and expensive data bundles in Zambia. The study concludes that e-learning is the safest mode of teaching during this period of COVID-19 and that despite learners favoring the traditional face-to-face learning, they must adapt to e-learning. Therefore, the study recommends that institutions of higher learning create digital technologies at local level such as Personal Learning Network (PLN) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) which are cost effective and easy to setup.

Keywords: Digitalization, Teaching, Learning, Experiences, Opportunities, Institutions.

I. BACKGROUND

Over the last decade there has been an increasing interest in the use of technology, countries around the world have witnessed the drastic change and rapid development of technology. Governments, industries and educational institutions have all for example continued to promote innovation within its operations so as to become competitive in the global economy (Rossiter, 2006). In the midst of this revolution, the education system has evolved from traditional- ‘learners in the classroom’ to modern- ‘learners away from classroom’ learning systems. There has been an increase in the adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICTs) and E-learning technologies, and as a result, education institutions are on their toes in enhancing learning and teaching through the system called digitalization or commonly known as e-learning (Ma, 2010).
The term digitalization from an academic perspective refers to the use of computers, mobile phones, software applications, internet and other type of technology to support learning practice (Kituyi, and Makerere, 2013). In simple terms it involves teaching and learning without any physical contact.