CIDA receives donation

Learning Resources announced Tuesday the donation of the full range of NETg and Harvard Business School Publishing e-learning courseware to CIDA City Campus, South Africa's (SA's) first virtually free higher education institution.

The donation is valued at R50 million (US$7.7 million) over a four-year period, to coincide with CIDA's four-year degree cycle, and includes support services that will ensure the success of the implementation. An annual evaluation of success criteria will further be undertaken to ensure ongoing value, and to meet the needs of CIDA learners.

Thomson Learning (NETg) is a global provider of technical and end-user skills courseware, with CompTIA accreditation for the content. The suite of products offered to CIDA includes over 1,000 titles in back office technical and end-user/desktop (Microsoft) skills as well as business and professional skills training. The Harvard Business School courseware range includes training in leadership, business strategy and management skills.

Courseware will be fully integrated into the CIDA Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) curriculum, as applicable, with more technical or specialized components integrated into the appropriate CIDA schools of excellence, for example the areas of ICT or management. Aspects of the courseware will, in addition, be incorporated into the CIDA staff development program. All course content is expected to be up and running by July this year, at which time the CIDA campus will also be equipped with the necessary ICT infrastructure, and at least 400 computers.

Says CIDA chief executive, Taddy Blecher: "The e-learning courseware, designed to be part of a blended learning approach *, is of enormous value to an institution such as CIDA. It is highly applicable to the business orientation of the CIDA degree and gives students, who previously would not have made it into the world of higher education, unprecedented access to world class material that they could only have dreamed about before."

Additional value offered by the courseware is its linkage to international accreditation criteria, the ability to generate high user uptake, the creation of a positive learning experience, and the strong retention of knowledge gained through learning.

Says Learning Resources MD, Ricky Robinson: "Learning Resources is proud to contribute to the development of tomorrow's business leaders, and looks forward to an ongoing partnership with CIDA. We are confident of the value of the learning material provided, and will undoubtedly be inspired by the way in which CIDA puts this to use.

"Technology has brought enormous changes to the way in which training is undertaken today. This is tremendously exciting, as learning content can now reach the entire country and be meaningfully applied to all individual learners. At CIDA the aim will be to encourage the uptake of a blended learning approach to develop a practical application of business and entrepreneurial skills, creativity and innovation from all students," Robinson stresses.

* The blended learning approach is designed to involve combining application-based e-learning with traditional classroom learning, incorporating role-playing and case studies.

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