Virtual Learning & African Languages


Languages are vital for communication. There's no that doubt learning new ones can be tasking, especially when you are not in your formative stages. In 2009, a University Professor, his student and 6 other people came together to build a platform to aid language learning. Duolingo, offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages for free. The app is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and on desktop computers with about 150 million registered users across the world.

However, on the 3rd of March,  it only just added African languages, Swahili and Zulu, to a long list of other European languages. Swahili is spoken in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoros Islands and in parts in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.


The second language to be included in the learning app is Zulu. This has not been placed yet but is in the works. Zulu is spoken majorly by South-Africans the people of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. 

Virtual learning experiences are on the rise and it takes off the stress and time of attending classes, also the funds that are often stipulated for such languages; 

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a set of teaching and learning tools designed to enhance a student's learning experience by including computers and the Internet in the learning process. VLE users are assigned either a teacher ID or a student ID. The teacher sees what a students sees, but the teacher has additional user rights to create or modify curriculum content and track student performance. There are a number of commercial VLE software packages available, including Blackboard, WebCT, Lotus LearningSpace, and COSE.

This platform is a great addition to the language and literary world. Although virtual learning is of great advantage, there are still setbacks that might make the learning experience a little tricky. Updates about classes, tests, exams or new material or content is not automatically alerted the student as they have to go through the stress of logging in and checking manual to get updates. Also boring user interface reduces visit and engagement time in classes in relation to bulk load of work or items uploaded to be used. Appropriate content and study manuals are also other issues, for example, if your class age group is from 16-23, your content should be more visual and interactive than lines and lines of tests. 

That being established, this approach to teaching, is the future of the education, if only creators and content providers can make virtual learning dynamic and relatable.