The popularity of eLearning has exploded in recent years. Countries throughout Africa and Asia that have experimented with online learning have seen annual increases in eLearning enrolments of more than 10% per year. That’s set to accelerate further as the breadth of online courses increases.
The allure of eLearning is clear. Online classes enable students from anywhere in a country, including in remote rural regions, to get access to workplace and vocational training as long as they have an internet connection. Training can transform lives, offering opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available and possibilities for growth and transition. In addition, remote learning can be used by corporations for cost effective workplace training and to retain employees.
The potential for eLearning in Iraq
eLearning could have a particularly bright future in Iraq. More than one-third of the population is already connected to the Internet, and demand for education is high.
Yet there’s still a pressing need for wider education in the country. More than one million students across the country still lack access to basic education and the dropout rate remains above 2% and rising. Teachers are shifting away from the public-school system in favour of better-funded private schools, although these remain inaccessible to large swaths of the population.
This lost education potential has had serious impacts on Iraq. By one estimate, the economic impact of students dropping out of traditional classes is more than 1.1 trillion IQD (approximately $1 billion) per year.
Online learning in Iraq promises to attract instructors and learners alike. eLearning platforms have the potential to offer a wider range of courses and to reach a greater number of students than traditional training and academic institutions. They can also bring in highly qualified instructors by offering a means of income generation that education systems have been unable to match.
Overcoming challenges to eLearning in Iraq
Currently, there are three main factors holding eLearning back from taking off in Iraq: Internet penetration, the availability of local eLearning curricula, and the availability of qualified instructors.
The problem of Internet connectivity is a familiar one for many nations that are in the early stages of turning to eLearning. The areas of Iraq with the highest school dropout rates and least education funding are the same areas that suffer from poor connectivity. That said, Iraq is significantly better positioned to overcome this challenge than other countries that have wholeheartedly embraced eLearning. For example, Iraq’s Vision 2030 plan places special emphasis on digital transformation.
Meanwhile, overcoming the relative lack of eLearning curricula for learners in Iraq is easily achievable. This requires investment in courses taught in Arabic and Kurdish in addition to those already offered in English. It also entails working with Iraqi employers and educators to identify vocational topics that are popular and in-demand within the Iraqi
Finally, finding qualified instructors is largely a matter of incentive. Iraq already has a large base of formal and informal trainers to draw from for building eLearning curricula and teaching courses to remote learners. Pairing eLearning platforms with income generation for instructors can help increase the breadth and quality of online courses.
Introducing Zaneen: Iraq’s marketplace for learning
To accelerate the growth of eLearning in Iraq, we are excited to announce Zaneen, a recently launched online learning marketplace where learners and instructors can come together. The goal behind Zaneen is to enable anyone in Iraq to access eLearning at low cost while creating a new path of income generation for trainers.
Courses on Zaneen are taught by Iraqi subject matter experts in Arabic, Kurdish, and English. Learners can join courses and learn a new topic or skill in less than a day while earning industry-recognised credentials and course certificates. Many courses are free or low-priced, and cash payments are accepted across Iraq. Zaneen also includes hundreds of internationally certified courses from accredited bodies from around the world.
For instructors, Zaneen is an online platform which can be used to earn extra income while engaging with learners on a subject of their choosing. Zaneen offers competitive rates to attract the best trainers in Iraq.
Zaneen also brings eLearning to businesses. International corporations and local businesses can turn to the platform to enrol employees in workplace training and vocational education without the time and budget constraints of traditional courses. Zaneen can help businesses create custom development programs and achieve learning outcomes quickly and efficiently. Zaneen can become the Learning Management System for businesses in Iraq.
We at MSELECT are in the fortunate position of being able to add content from our current training courses, accreditation memberships, and our huge pool of Iraqi trainers.
We believe eLearning is the future of education in Iraq. We’re excited to help instructors and learners join together online through Zaneen.