How Is Technology Changing Executive Education in Africa

How Is Technology Changing Executive Education in Africa

There is little doubt that technology has and will continue to have a significant impact on executive education in both Africa and across the world. So we are asking the question, how is technology changing executive education in Africa? The the answer is quite an exciting prospect. Certainly, when it comes to leadership development, the use of technology in education will offer leaders and executives to learn from the best there is.

In Africa specifically the widespread use of mobile phones which supports the opportunity to support blended learning models (part online, part bricks-and-mortar based). Technology is creating new challenges a host of new opportunities for educational institutions of all kinds, from early education to universities.

Technology is changing the dynamics of education, especially the connection between teachers and students. As educators begin to rethink the training experience, we believe it’ll be important to also reshape educational spaces to support this evolution. With the recent challenges of Covid19 for instance we have seen many learners flock to online communication platforms like Google classroom, Cisco Webex, Microsoft teams and Zoom to name but a few. So how is technology changing executive education in Africa?

We can now Learn anywhere

Not too long ago, mobile phones and tablets were as substitutes for conventional handouts and transparencies for overhead projectors, books, paper, and pens. Today, however, these technologies are starting to transform how instruction and learning take place.

Teachers are using technology to exchange old models and standardized, approaches, and creating more personalized, self-directed experiences for students. We are certainly starting to see how the second and third screening is being used to make the learning environment more dynamic.  Both students and teachers are creating their own digital content, such as videos., Gifs, and animations

“What’s interesting is that as learning is becoming more virtual, the virtual activities are literally becoming more physical. One might say virtual and physical are meeting within the middle.” Said one of the senior lecturers at GEBS in a recent interview.

Much of the knowledge that only teachers possessed within the past is now available to students online, challenging the old model of teachers presenting content and students absorbing it. As a result, educators are now leveraging technology to reposition themselves as educators and add more value to their classrooms. Rather than using class time to spoon-feed information, technology helps them use their time with students to advance problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. This is exactly the sort of higher-order skills that leading education specialists say should be the goals of education for today’s world.

Lecturer theatres and classrooms today are places where knowledge is gained rather than consumed by students,” says Jane. “As students start to possess more control over what they use to assist their learning, we leverage spaces that support more creative or generative activities. This suggests more mobility in and outside of classrooms, also as learning spaces that support new individual activities and rates of learning. Providing a unique combination of virtual and face-to-face interactions has become as important as the education material itself. People need convenience. Importantly here is that the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow students is still very much present. We know that the network created during executive education courses form an important part of learning. Many alumni will comment on the fact that they met their business partners, investors, or new clients in the classroom. We certainly don’t want that aspect of learning to disappear.

Modern Lecture Rooms

As the tsunami of technology trends washes over education, some things have managed to remain.  Students and teachers haven’t abandoned real-world materials—and aren’t expected to anytime soon. They still use whiteboards, paper, and notebooks to capture and visualize thought processes, and of course, still need spaces designed to support the parallel use of real-world and digital tools.


“Forward think educational institutions will combine technology, space, and learners together in innovative ways.”

Irrelevant to the level of education, learning is now happening through a combination of the in-class and online experience. This is what we refer to as blended learning. Rather than resisting the change, education providers should embrace the opportunity to enrich and enhance how students learn. This is after all the world in which they will work, run businesses, and engage with customers and colleagues.

Blended learning can cut costs, which makes it popular in today’s challenging economy. There also are early signals from several studies that suggest giving students more control over how they access information is often simpler than all face-to-face or all virtual learning.
“What’s interesting is that as learning is becoming more virtual, the virtual activities are literally becoming more physical. you would possibly say the virtual and therefore the physical are meeting within the middle,” says Dr. Oribi. “In many instances, you’ve got different subjects happening and multiple teachers acting as tutors and motivators to offer directed support. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder, even closer than face-to-face.”


Because blended learning changes the role of the educator to become more of a facilitator and coach, there’s a growing use of para-educators who work alongside teachers to manage online learning and help with classroom activities. There also are spatial implications. Classrooms designed for an educator at the front of a group may now support self-directed work on computers while collaborative projects are happening at the same time. 

Business schools and universities, while embracing various sorts of online learning, also strive to find ways to create student-teacher engagement and monitor performance. Despite online discussion forums, many students still seek face time with their professors and every other. 

Teachers remain very aware that the business school environment engenders both social and cognitive learning.   Some business schools are now creating blended courses using both live and recorded content, using the web experience to further enhance face to face contact with students.

Even as learning becomes more virtual, the importance of teachers and bricks-and-mortar places are expected to stay valuable components within educational, says Dr. Keen. “As we continue our research, it’s clear that the simplest places for education will bring people, technology, and space together in innovative ways. If you think that of classrooms as places where knowledge gets created rather than consumed, they need innovative studios that are flexible and allows the fluid learning environment for individual work and collaboration. 

 As rapid development occurs in previously underdeveloped nations and new technologies impact the way that knowledge is transferred and embodied, education is becoming even more valuable and seen as crucial for organisations who want to remain competitive.


Edtech in African executive education
  1. EdTech helps students access global education
  2. There are many countries around the world lacking access to tools and resources in their educational sector. Advances in Education Technology (EdTech) in Africa can certainly address this. If you consider that Africa is already a mobile-first environment. Big strides have been made in financial technology and mobile payments for instance. 
  3. The focus of the many developers is to form educational technology available to as many students around the world as possible.
  4. EdTech helps students develop in-demand skills
  5. Digital technology will soon be at the core of most industries. The interactive approach of educational technology encourages students to get digital skills, which can be vital to succeed in the labour market.
  6. EdTech brings global opportunities for national economies


In 1960, several African countries combined education and technology using radio and television to enhance training for teachers and supply lessons to students.

The 1990s was the age of hardware. National and international entities started equipping schools with computers facilitating digital education – like educational software and CDs.

Initiatives like AISI (Africa Information Society Initiative) or OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) were promising initially but didn’t slot in the African environment. AISI did not deliver on its promise to attach African villages with a worldwide information network by 2010. And OLPC laptops were expensive, limited, and needed electricity to figure – something that wasn’t possible in many faculties.

From 2010 onwards, modernised tablets and mobile tools offered an answer to resolve the shortage of books and academic materials. the foremost significant progress occurred in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda.
A huge breakthrough was noted when mobile money providers (such as M-Pesa) started offering educational content – or how to buy it. Mobile technology (also called m-learning) has become one of the highest educational resources.


It is clear today that the most effective leaders are also those who can learn to adjust the fastest. The challenges created by today’s fast-changing environment mean leaders must be agile in the least levels of the organization, or face significant operational and strategic risks. Achieving this suggests executive education must innovate quickly. Traditional sorts of classroom learning will not suffice.

The reality is that today’s employees face the necessity to re-skill far more than was the case within the past. One key driver is that we simply live longer. It’s not unusual to think of someone living to 100 may have a career spanning 60 years. Within these 60 years, the job market and roles within that will change. This obviously means that if you are going to remain productive for such a long career that you may have to reskill a number of times.  Already, the typical number of career changes has changed from two to seven, with employees holding numerous jobs. The world is changing at a rapid pace and employee skills and knowledge need to keep pace for these organizations who want to survive. 

These trends are forcing a big re-think of the notion of lifelong learning. We believe that those delivering learning in organizations got to consider the subsequent future-oriented design principles.

So What can be done to ensure we make the most of Technology in Education?

1: Don’t specialise in unique technologies; specialise in unique use cases
It is easy to be overwhelmed by technology as learning apps, chatbot coaches and computer game learning environments become more readily available. Understandable though it’s, this impulse must be checked. Applying technology to learning without considering learning outcomes can cause wasted spending and negative first experiences. Technology may be a transformational tool, but it won’t transform in its title.

Rather, it’s the extra exploration, access, and knowledge that technology allows which delivers transformation. We believe that augmented reality holds real advantages for executive education and we are starting to experiment with useful ways of integrating this into learning. New technology makes it easier to make these sorts of spaces, and that they will enable deeper learning. Simulation exercises specifically have seen a huge leap in its advancement and we can now give students real-world scenarios in the classroom.

2: Look for educators, coaches, and mentors who think differently
The future of executive education is going to be heavily influenced by data scientists, AI specialists, and computer gamers more than by today’s teachers. As in many industries, the convergence of multiple fields allows for the event of rich new applications that change not only the channel and conditions of learning but also the impact.

Gamification, for instance, is being used in learning. Gaming or game-like technologies can be used to incentivize the learning and participation of students. We have certainly moved away from the approach where the tutor gives a lecture and students only have to listen.  We’ve observed engagement rates increase by over 50% because of the introduction of social gaming to learning platforms. This trend will undoubtedly continue, particularly as the design is increasingly influenced by a younger generation of learners.

3: Embrace the short attention span: be ‘when’ and ‘where’ learners want to find out.
Most of us are already processing information in smaller units, more often than not on our mobile devices. This has opened access to knowledge a wide variety of sources. As a result, the very idea of the classroom is constantly changing,

4: Use data-driven personalization to extend access and efficiency
Across organisations, talent identification and assessment are being disrupted.

The difficulty of predicting the essential skills of the longer term, combined with the increase of the expansion mindset orientation, has created an appetite for creative and innovative approaches to assessment. Innovative and data-rich people analytics are creating new dimensions of capability measurement and more personalized learning pathways.

As consumers we expect brands to engage with us individually. Relationships after all are based on customized, one-to-one engagement. So this is something we have to do in the learning environment also. This is exactly where technology plays a key role. As a result, we see an increasing demand for personalized learning pathways that make use of optional models and tailored content.

5: We need to embrace social engagement and social media
For many education providers, social media has been a challenge as it shortens the attention pans of students and detracts them from learning. The belief at GEBS is certainly that social engagement, social media, and similar approaches need to be embraced. With technological development in the area has advanced significantly, it provides a real opportunity for the learning environment to become more interactive and engaging. From a leadership perspective, it also helps learners to explore new ways through which to engage with their own teams, clients, and stakeholders.

Tutors of today must accept that with the increase of web access, the new generation of learners will look to their peers and to democratized information sources for knowledge. Self-learning and social learning will outweigh programmatic instruction, and that we educators must consider ourselves increasingly as curators, platform-providers, and enablers of self-directed learning journeys.

Digital is certainly disrupting the way that learning takes place. There is an enormous promise for educational institutions that change and adapt to further enhanced access and efficiency for learners through new technologies. This demands a shift in mindset demands and change in thinking for both executive education providers and learners alike

In closing, it’s crucial that creative skills are being developed at all levels. Technologies, processes, organisations, and the world around us will change. The knowledge that you are relying on today might be out of date in the near future. Creativity and the ability to learn and adjust will almost certainly be at the heart of what enables leaders and organsiations to adapt to new a reality. It is increasingly technology that and the use of it for learning that will facilitate our learning.

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