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Hybrid learning in Africa

The manner in which learning is delivered is evolving to meet the requirements of an increasingly connected world.

Hybrid VILT (virtual instructor-led training) learning is a blend of self-paced- and online training that incorporates virtual labs. Lizelle van Niekerk, National Sales Manager at CTU Training Solutions describes it as "convenient and practical with a twist of progressive career success".

Hanri Labuschagne, National Sales Manager at CTU Training Solutions adds, "Most of the theoretical material is covered in self-study, while practical laboratory environments are recreated using virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Virtual instruction environments are designed to simulate the traditional classroom or learning experience."

Van Niekerk says this type of learning environment provides any student who has internet availability with the opportunity to study an online course and obtain international certification. All of this owing to technological innovation. "A couple of years ago we were not able to assist clients with training from remote locations. Now courses are written and structured in such a way that they can accommodate hybrid VILT training. With the increasing pace of life, people no longer have the time to sit in traffic and drive to a location to receive training. Hybrid VILT training allows a learner to attend classes from the office or home and in convenient time slots."

From a technology perspective, there are certain requirements in order for hybrid VILT learning to be successful. Internet connectivity is required for the full duration of the teaching sessions. "We advise that learners conduct a speed test to ensure their internet connection will be sufficient. We also recommend a device that supports camera functions so that the facilitator offering the class can view the student taking part in hybrid VILT training, as well as sound functionality. Training can be run via the Skype for Business platform, accompanied by step by step instructions on how students can join this platform," says Van Niekerk.

Hanri Labuschagne, National Sales Manager, CTU Training Solutions.Technical requirements for learners to be able to participate in a hybrid VILT learning course include access to a laptop, PC or tablet with a screen resolution of 1366x768 or higher, a webcam with a microphone and speakers, while a head set with a microphone will prove useful. A second screen is optional but, once again, might prove useful. The device needs to run Internet Explorer 10 or higher or Microsoft Edge and must have access to Skype for Business Online. TeamViewer is also required, as well as Skillpipe for Microsoft DMOC textbooks and offline reading.

Learners who don't have access to the above can attend from a CTU classroom, although they will still only attend a virtual session as a facilitator will not be in the same classroom.

Naturally, not all types of subject matter are suitable for hybrid learning methodologies. For example, courses with an in-depth practical element, such as design courses, which are very visual, aren't suitable for hybrid VILT training. "End user, fundamental and soft skills courses are more suited to facilitator-led training as these candidates might not yet be tech savvy enough to be able to join a hybrid class," explains Labuschagne. On the other hand, technical courses with higher-end users are perfectly suited to a hybrid environment. The required manuals and laboratories are already online and are therefore ideal for hybrid VILT training.

The main benefit for learners is that they can study a course from the comfort of their office or home, as long as they have reasonable internet connectivity. Hybrid VILT learning is ideal for any learner wanting to obtain international certification but who is restricted to attending facilitator-led training. Doing an online certification has the added benefit of saving on travelling time and costs. It also means that anyone can be trained anywhere. Hybrid learning enables two-way communication in interactive sessions, while learners can access the recording of the live sessions afterwards. In the event that they lose connectivity during a session, they can still access the full training session.

Van Niekerk says, "Owing to the technological advancements that make this teaching style possible, we now have the opportunity to reach so many more people and assist them with certification."

This kind of learning is ideally suited to the African market because it allows people from various locations to take part in diverse training classes. It's an effective form of training for a person wanting to attain an international qualification but is restricted to attending classes at a specific location.

Labuschagne offers some tips and guidelines for attending an online meeting:

* Be respectful of your co-workers' time. Log in to the meeting a few minutes early, and check your audio/video (A/V) setup to ensure that your devices are properly configured. Check your Audio Device settings to ensure that the audio device you are using is set as the microphone (this setting often defaults to your webcam microphone if one is plugged in).
* Mute your audio unless you are speaking. This will avoid introducing any unnecessary sounds and background noise.
* Find a quiet space. If possible, join the meeting from a place free of loud background noise, otherwise, each time you speak, the other participants will find it difficult to hear you.

To find out more about hybrid learning classes, click here:

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