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e-Learning – Reaching start ups where they exist

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Image provided by Halvard Lundgaard under creative commons.

In the past few years the South African business community has embraced smart phones as part of the vital resources that they should have. Startup businesses are also starting to adopt this trend. This has been made possible by different price tags offered for smart phones.

This trend emerged from the realisation that smart phones can be turned into mobile offices which saves major costs. Start ups can now close and secure deals online. The use of business apps and mobile web browsers that reduce traffic are taking the digital era to the next high level. Everything that exists in the business world in physical form, which includes networking and attending events, now exists in small devices.

For marketing purposes, larger corporations have realised that in order to reach out to start ups, they have to go to the world where these start ups exist. However, most organisations that provide training programmes and workshops to start ups and small businesses in South Africa have not made that realisation. On a daily basis, various entities and other start up advisory institutions still host a number of workshops all over the country for start up businesses. In most cases, a start up would have to
incur costs to attend such events.

There are two dangers to this situation. Firstly, this creates a situation whereby start ups have to incur traveling and other traveling related costs to get to locations where they can receive information and education regarding the skills that they need. Putting start ups in a position where they either waste the few resources that they have or not gain the skills they require contributes to the failure of those start ups to launch. The success rate of start ups is already low and we cannot add to that.

The second danger is that, those that host such events might see their revenue diminish due issues such as petrol hikes which might reduce attendance. Their businesses and trades might become unsustainable, leading to dire results such as job cuts and retrenchments. This also can’t be afforded due to current unemployment levels.

No economy can not be impacted negatively when faced with both these dangers. South Africa, therefore, needs to reach start ups where they are in a manner that will also save them costs. It is also important to put in mind that skills development and knowledge transfer for start up businesses is a very big must to increase their survival. This is where e-Learning needs to be looked at as a solution. Providing education and skills directly to start ups in their mobile world through the internet
This kind of convenience is an ultimate cost saver for start ups and an accellerator of their growth.

Obviously, with new interventions there will be challenges. Some might bring up the issue of cost in regards to applying such an advanced technique to education.  Some might bring up issues relating to adaptation and the available market for this kind of learning. Such questions are very vital and are needed if workable solutions are to be determined.

Just like any other system, even though e=Learning systems could prove to be complex, partnerships and collaborations could result in costs being kept low by the developers and distributors. This will therefore make it less costly for the end user.

The main thing that needs to be looked at is the already existing Information Technology infrastructure in South Africa as well as other initiatives that push for IT. These two points have already set a platform
for e-Learning to grow in this country. Also, global competitiveness could take a huge boost from such an intervention and the introduction of these new learning techniques.

Through the points stated above, South Africa could adapt to the offering of the digital world and benefit in more than one area. This could increase global competitiveness, provide a proper learning environment for start ups and create a new market for developers.

Sibusiso Nkosi is the founder of Ukondla, a corporation that provides innovative learning solutions. Through its e-Learning Portal, creel.co.za, Ukondla partners with various stakeholders to formulate and administer e-learning courses to a broad clientele. Visit www.ukondla.com
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