The Emlalatini Development Centre (EDC) provides out-of-school children and youth in Eswatini with an opportunity to participate in education and training. EDC reaches out to these learners through the distance education mode of delivery. To take advantage of the affordances of technology, the Centre has adopted the technology-enabled learning (TEL) route towards blended learning provision. Over the past year, the Centre has been working with teachers to redesign the Grade 11 curriculum in Moodle to offer the digitised curriculum in the first quarter of 2024.
To facilitate the mainstreaming of TEL at EDC, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) supported the development of a TEL/OER policy at the institution. The support involved facilitating a five-day face-to-face workshop in early October 2023, during which participants worked on the policy and identified additional OER to integrate into their online courses while reviewing content already put online.
The objectives of the online facilitation workshop were to help participants:
- explain the value of OER in implementing TEL at EDC;
- find, integrate and evaluate OER in their online courses;
- appreciate the importance of having a TEL/OER policy at EDC;
- develop and validate a TEL/OER Policy for EDC; and
- evaluate the online courses being developed to ensure that OER is appropriately integrated.
The workshop was attended by 53 participants, including the Centre’s principal and facilitator. Feedback from pre-and-post-workshop surveys was overwhelmingly positive.
COL’s Education Specialist for Open Schooling, Dr Tony Mays, observed, “It has been a long journey with EDC from 2019 to get to the point at which blended open schooling provision is poised to take off in the new year. The new institutional TEL/OER policy aligns with national policy and formalises EDC’s new identity. Once ratified by the Ministry, an implementation plan and budget will be needed by EDC to sustain its upward trajectory.”