In 2020, there were over 2.1 million applications for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE) for admission into various tertiary institutions. And of the 601,775 allocated, universities admitted 422,445. Some of the reasons such as inadequate funding, inadequate capacity and facilities are more or less known to stakeholders.
The implication of doing nothing is that every year we lose over 1 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, etc and associated economical benefits. Economics explains that human wants and needs are limited. It means the unadmitted candidates with unmet desires are likely to turn into crime to fulfil their needs. Indirectly, we are investing in poverty, armed robbers, kidnappers, drug dealers, bandits and terrorists. What is also shocking is that in ten (10) to 20 years, we would have bred 10 – 20 million potential criminals.
Although it is a gory picture, this is the reality we are beginning to face in our nation. Please note that the funds we refuse to spend on educating our youths will be spent on killing them in fighting crime. We might expect the government to do it all, but we have our responsibilities to keep and can not delegate them to another or the government. That responsibility is making the right decisions and adopting cost-effective solutions that bring long term rewards despite short-term inconveniences.
What is the solution? Technology – using an all-in-one learning management system (LMS). We know what it does and the purported benefits of an LMS in learning. Due to cost, we recommend a cloud-hosted third party LMS that offers blended or hybrid learning with dedicated support to train your lecturers on the fundamentals of digital learning and pedagogy. The focus of this article is to provide you with four (4) tips on how to strengthen your lecturers’ competence and confidence in the use of LMS, which are:
- Determine how motivated is your lecturers: Know how comfortable, confident and motivated lecturers are with technology. Directly speak with your lecturers in a non-judgemental manner to get their opinion on their use of technology and understanding of educational technology. Do not anonymously capture the survey so you can highlight the level of support needed by each lecturer for personalised training and support.
- Explain the benefits (what is it for me?) of an LMS: Individuals resist change when they do not understand its benefits to them. So take time to explain how their competence in using an LMS for personalised outcome-based learning can aid their productivity, health (mental and physical), career and wages. Create a system to reward efforts, which should be accessible to your lecturers for easy reference. Argyle IT and Education Limited can assist you with this.
- Dedicated training: There are two types of training required to empower your lecturers – theoretical and practical training. The theoretical aspect covers the principles of instructional design for digital learning. It will empower your lecturers to design high impact end-to-end digital learning experiences. Practical training covers the use of the adopted learning management system to implement the instructional design course.
- Continuous support: One to two weeks of training is not sufficient to empower your lecturers to be confident in using an LMS. The knowledge gained needs to be processed and applied. Coaching is required for clarification and proper application of what has been learnt. Also, 45 – 60% of features in most technologies are rarely used, caused by a lack of awareness that those features exist. Argyle IT and Education Limited provides dedicated customer support for the duration that you use our platform.
In conclusion, there is a dire need to solve the higher education crisis in Nigeria. Technology and empowering lecturers in the use of technology are critical in any robust solutions to be adopted. Lecturers work hard to train future leaders, and it is imperative that they can utilise at least 80% – 90% of the features of the LMS adopted. Select LMS that is easy to use and invest in training and support to ensure lecturers are comfortable using the adopted LMS.