Thriving with e-learning: how Bolade transformed her biology scores
An innovative digital learning platform is helping students elevate their grades and achieve success in their studies in Lagos, Nigeria.
Bolade Ayomide is a bright fourteen-year-old student at the Government Senior College Agege, Lagos. She is passionate about the Arts and aspires to become a lawyer. However, the subjects required for her transitioning from the junior to the senior secondary level include biology, and she lacked confidence in her abilities and feared that she could not keep up with the fast pace of her peers, whom she described as highly competitive.
I found biology tough and overwhelming and struggled to get average marks despite my best efforts," Bolade confessed.
But her situation rapidly improved with the Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP) deployment in her school. The platform provided Bolade and her friends with a new way of learning that is engaging, interactive, and personalized to individual needs and learning styles. The interactive quizzes, videos, and animations helped her to understand complex biological concepts in an engaging and fun way. "I was impressed at the selection of courses available on the platform– everything from biology to mathematics to entrepreneurial and secretarial studies," she gushed. The lessons are well-structured and easy to understand, allowing her to learn quickly. She told me the interactive quizzes provided a great way to check her understanding and reinforce her knowledge.
With constant learning, Bolade's efforts produced positive results.
It was a dream come true as I moved from below fifty percent in biology to above seventy percent in one academic year.
As her grades improved, so did her confidence and enthusiasm to make the most of the platform. She also learned a bit about designing using the Microsoft app on the NLP, the skill she now deploys to generate a little income by designing posters for her friends and family members celebrating their birthdays. "I got paid four thousand naira the other day for designing a birthday poster for a friend," she told me.
Bolade's favorite subjects on the NLP platform are biology, mathematics, and entrepreneurial studies. The entrepreneurial skills lessons come in handy with her mum's cosmetic business. After school, Bolade would first stop at her mother's shop to help out. She told me she and her mum acquired customer service skills and learned the right hair product for different hair textures on the platform.
A New Fun Way of Learning
The power of innovation of the Nigeria Learning Passport is transforming education in Nigeria and providing students like Bolade access to helpful study tools such as multimedia content, including videos, animations, interactive quizzes, practice tests, and progress tracking.
I stay on top of my class work at home or school, and I like that they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bolade told me that she downloaded the App on the google play store on her mother's phone and her elder brother's laptop –giving her a double opportunity to access the platform outside the classroom. She sometimes does group studies with her neighborhood class buddies because she can access her brother's laptop.
Digital learning is boosting the traditional classroom experience for students and teachers and making education more accessible, engaging, and practical.
"Our work as teachers is now less stressful as the students do most of the course work at their own time and pace even before coming to the classroom," says Asimi Saheed Olajide, a teaching staff at the Senior Government College Agege. To Asimi, the visual content on the NLP platform is the most liked by students because it brings the topics to life, especially the sciences.
Bridging the Learning Poverty Gap
Lack of access to digital devices, stable internet connectivity, and the necessary digital skills to harness the power of technology for learning has hampered the ability of children and young populations to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the devastation of the education system and disrupted traditional learning models, yet also provided the right moment to reimagine education and ensure every child has an equal opportunity to succeed and to have access to localized digital content that aligns with the Nigerian curriculum and cultural context.
Digital learning in Nigeria was on the fringes and exclusive to elite schools before Covid-19, but now a fundamental equity strategy in bridging the learning poverty gap. "We are shifting from fixed-time to personalized learning, with digital learning as the key enabler," says Dr. Afolabi Adejare, Director - Quality, Planning, Research and Statistics, Lagos State Ministry of Education. "This will empower students irrespective of backgrounds to take control of their learning and achieve their full potential."
The Learning Passport, a partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft, Cambridge, and the Boston Consulting Group, seeks to bridge the digital learning gap, provide continuous access to education for students and teachers, drive improved learning outcomes through high-quality, portable education in formal and non-formal settings, enable learning in low to no connectivity areas, and deliver technical and vocational education to guarantee a brighter future for children like Bolade and ensure that they have access to best possible education, knowledge, and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
The Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP) is an online e-learning platform with mobile and offline capabilities, enabling continuous access to quality education. It is part of the Federal Government of Nigeria's education cloud project supported by UNICEF for providing all learners with e-learning from basic to tertiary levels of education. NLP is presently accessible free on the AIRTEL telecom sim card.