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The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s national papers, in its excellent series on Africa, had an article that really made me sit up. Here are some quotes from the article – try substituting e-learning for the xxxxs

‘It’s part of a phenomenon that has people in Africa adopting new technologies that have been slower to catch on in more developed parts of the world, where individuals and institutions cling to older, existing infrastructure.

“Five years ago, when we launched, the [institutions] were not convinced that mobile xxxx would ever work,” said Brian Richardson, co-founder and managing director of Wizzit. “In fact they said it wouldn’t work – they said nobody would do xxxxx on a cellphone when they had a perfectly good PC in front of them. Their mindset was really focused on their existing ….. customers.”

“I think there are enormous opportunities in Africa,” he said. “But I’m not sure if Western models are going to work here. It’s going to require a different way of thinking. It takes time and innovation to uncover different models and technology.”

No, unfortunately the article was not about e-learning in Africa (but it could have been). Instead it was about a company (Wizzit)  doing banking online. ‘After Wizzit pioneered the technology, the banks caved in and created their own mobile banking services, which now have about five million customers in South Africa alone.’

I have mentioned in previous postings that I see real innovation in e-learning coming from Africa, and probably nowhere more than in the use of mobile learning. If the banking sector is anything to go by, watch out for mobile learning developments in Africa too: some applications are already on display at the e-Learning Africa conference about to start on May 26-28 in Lusaka, Zambia.

York, G. (2010) Africa leads the way in mobile money Globe and Mail, May 12


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