How To Start E-learning Business In Africa

Teaching and learning is gradually shifting from the physical and face-to-face‘ teacher-student classroom model to a more flexible model which allows teaching and learning to happen on demand.‘ Nowadays, people are less willing to abandon their work and sit in a classroom for the whole day.

There is a growing need for learning solutions that are flexible enough to fit into people‘s often complex everyday schedules. Companies are looking for training models that allow their employees to use their time more productively and efficiently.

Computer-Based Training (CBT), also commonly referred to nowadays as e-learning, is an interactive method of learning that provides a series of self-paced, hands-on, computer or web-based courses that are usually delivered via a computer or handheld device such as a tablet or smartphone.

The e-learning model may one day eliminate the physical and face-to-face classroom learning that has existed for centuries. With e-learning, people can learn what they want, wherever and whenever they want to. This amazing flexibility is one of the biggest reasons for the fast-growing demand for e-learning solutions by both individuals and companies across Africa.

Apart from its flexibility, the e-learning model is cheaper than classroom learning in the long run and allows for better quality assurance and standardization in learning. Interestingly, this model can be applied across all the opportunities in Africa‘s education sector discussed in this chapter.

Business Concept

You develop courses or well-structured content and make it available online. When you get started it is important that you find your niche and own that instead of trying to teach everything to everyone. Find something with an edge.

Courses could be free and you give options to upgrade, for example by charging for certificates or premium courses.
Alternatively, you could base it on paid membership. Members could pay a monthly or yearly fee and gain access to all the content. But first you have to give a lot of great content out for free to gain trust as a training authority.

Niche Ideas

 Exam preparation courses
 Vocational courses in Design, food processing, home decorating etc.
 Courses for middle class/upper class mothers who want to educate themselves and need to do so from home.

Top Countries & Policy Guidance

An e-learning business will work best in countries with both high Internet penetration and higher educational awareness. Top countries include South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, and Ethiopia, among other. Of course, e-learning can easily be applied across borders, allowing you to grow your business. Be clear, therefore, whether you want to focus your e-learning courses specifically on one country (e.g. exam preparation, accounting & taxation) or if you want to target a wider region in Africa with more generic content (e.g. entrepreneurship, IT, design).

Action & Tips

 Start with just one or two courses that are high in demand – build momentum and own your niche before adding more courses.
 Make sure your online courses are compatible with mobile devices as the majority of Africans will access the Internet through their phones.

Success Story

Kolawole Olajide – Funda (South Africa)

Kolawole Olajide, a young entrepreneur, founded Funda with some of his peers in 2009 in Cape Town, shortly after their university graduation. Funda – which means „to learn‟ in Zulu – is an online e-learning platform that is changing the way Africans learn by using a system that employs 2D, 3D, and animated training materials compatible with virtually any device.

Funda has been partnering with universities in South Africa to provide short e-courses for users. The platform is focused on a fresh approach to higher education learning by „making it fun‟ for both for trainees and trainers. Kolawole and his team have been nominated for several awards, winning the United Nations World Summit Youth Award and the IndiAfrica Award for best product on the African continent.

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