Online, self-paced learning is transforming the learnership landscape

SA Business School has taken its learnership programmes online, revolutionising the way that learnerships are delivered in a rapidly changing organisational training and education environment.  The e-learning learnership structure provides significant flexibility and productivity benefits for both the learner and employer.

A learnership is a structured, work-based learning programme directly related to an occupation and takes place over one year, leading to a nationally recognised qualification. Learnerships take place in the work environment, and typically learners would need to take time off from their work to attend classroom lessons in-person, with the employer contracting with an accredited training provider for the delivery of such learnerships.

“By offering our learnerships via an e-learning platform, we’re able to provide significant productivity, flexibility and cost benefits for both learner and employer. It also gives learners a powerful introduction to an evolved world of work where more work and training is done online and remotely than at any other time in our history. The delivery is interactive, includes recorded training sessions and video lectures, and can be delivered anywhere, at any time.  The big benefit is that companies that have geographically dispersed learners across the country can now bring them together in one online learning platform where they get to interact with their trainers and content, at their own pace,” explains Anton Visser, Group Chief Operating Officer of SA Business School, part of Alefbet Learning.

“It also means that time-starved learners will learn to self-pace and manage their learning in line with the demands of their work and are also able to revisit their e-learning modules at any time to reinforce content and concepts. Each learning module comprises of video recordings with facilitators, summary workbooks and activities, as well as live interactive sessions with facilitators, delivered online. It’s important to point out that while there is a significant component of self-paced learning, we also combine this with live, instructor-led sessions in real time, delivered online. The flexibility and modernisation that this brings to the learnership process is ground-breaking in South Africa,” explains Visser.

Visser points out that the development of the online learnership is about interactive, online learning in combination with practical work experience, and should not be confused with ‘screen learning’.

“The point of a learnership is that learners get on-the-job, real world work experience. Nothing changes in this regard and learners will still need to complete their notional hours within the workspace.  However, the theoretical training, education and assessment components of the learnership will be delivered online via an e-learning platform,” he adds.

SA Business School has partnered with Wemasoft E-Learning Software as its learning management system which fully addresses the SETA and QCTO compliance requirements of the learnership programmes.  The system also provides for paperless formative assessments and summative assessments completed online.

SA Business School plans to have its entire suite of learnership programmes available through online learning by the end of 2023.  The traditional learnership models remain available for companies where face-to-face training and education is preferred.

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