#03 2020

New e-learning tool enables participants to develop scientific competencies

By Kogie Govender, SAEON Science Engagement Coordinator

The digital revolution has changed the way in which information is accessed and shared to enable learning in an autonomous way.

Heutagogy is self-determined learning; during the learning process the participant is responsible for learning. The principles of heutagogy recommend that the educator is a facilitator of learning and the learner is the agent of learning through exploration and reflection. The learning is influenced by curiosity, enjoyment or a new way of learning.

Keeping abreast with changes in technology and pedagogy, SAEON has developed an e-learning programme on the Biomes of South Africa for grade 10 Life Science learners. The programme is aligned to the South African Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statements (CAPS).

Developing scientific competencies through self-directed learning

The e-learning programme uses blended principles of pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy to provide participants with an opportunity to access knowledge and skills through self-directed learning to develop scientific competencies. Throughout the Biomes of South Africa e-learning programme, participants gain knowledge on the vegetation, geography, climatic conditions and biodiversity as they transcend the boundaries of the classroom by using this e-learning resource.

The activities are structured around the use of data to illustrate scientific phenomena. The world is being driven by data and there is a need for our learners to be able to use analytics to make informed decisions. Through engaging in the activities in this manual, learners will enhance their quantitative skills. This will help to spark interest and passion for Life Science and Mathematics in learners.

Critical thinking

An additional benefit of using this e-learning programme on biomes is that participants are challenged to think critically and reflect on their learning. A key component of learning is assessment and through this e-learning intervention participants can measure their metacognition as results are provided instantaneously as they progress through each section of the online learning programme.

These individualised assessments allow the participant to be motivated and become self-confident as these assessments are not measured by an external person but only by the participants themselves.

SAEON e-learning webinars

The SAEON science engagement team showcased the e-Learning Biomes of South Africa through two webinars with grade 10 Life Science educators and organisations involved in Life Science educator training during the month of May. The facilitators for the webinars were Kogie Govender, Mthokozisi Moyo and Caitlin Ransom.

We would like to thank our editors, Prof William Bond, Dr Nicky Allsopp, Prof Tommy Bornman and Dr Lara Atkinson, for their valuable contributions and feedback. We have received numerous compliments from beneficiaries that have attended the webinar and some of those are showcased below:

“Thank you Kogie et al. for developing an excellent resource!”– David Green

“Thank you, I’m sure this is going to be a great resource for us in the classroom.” – Tanya Pretorius

“Thank you for sharing this invaluable educational resource with us.” – Sinah Magolo

“Thank you! It was highly informative. Keep up the good work.” – Edna Xabe

Dankie SAEON team, great presentations. Much appreciated.” – Phistos

“I am looking forward to using this resource in my classroom.” – Edna Xabe

The e-learning  programme on the Biomes of South Africa resource can be downloaded from the SAEON education website using this link: http://outreach.dirisa.org/reports/elearning-pdf-drive-view