London (UK), September 2018 - A list of the one hundred most influential people in online learning in Africa has been published, with tech entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana, Chief Digital Officer of the South African learning technologies company Rekindle Learning, listed top.
Following the continuing success of the annual Movers and Shakers in Corporate Online Learning list, currently in its ninth year, 2018 sees the first publication of a similar one focusing on the African eLearning market. The judging criteria for the Africa list follows the general principles established for the worldwide list of Movers and Shakers in Corporate Online Learning. This means, among other things, that it's subjective and fallible because it's entirely human based - even though the judges try hard to be honest and objective in their opinions. Few people who read this list will agree entirely with the judges' decision, but that's the beauty of lists such as this one: it gives ample scope for thought, discussion, and debate.
Since this is the first Movers and Shakers' List purely focusing on the continent of Africa, there are likely to be more points of debate this time around, purely because the list is new. It will take a year or two of close monitoring of the African online learning sector to refine the judging process and establish a benchmark for the value of the various contributions to this sector.
This list represents the views of key people about the personalities who lead the online learning world in Africa. Several hundred people received nominations. The judging process was carried out by an independent, non-African group of judges from the online learning technologies industry.
While this list is not endorsed in any way by the organisers of the eLearning Africa event in Kigali, Rwanda, 26 to 28 September 2018, they supported the idea of the list by using their extensive network to invite nominations. Moreover, they recognise that the list gives visibility and status to the online learning sector in Africa and promotes discussion of this sector within the Continent.
The judges considered a variety of criteria and issues in compiling the list:
- Only Africans and/or those based in Africa were eligible for inclusion.
- People named on the list are deemed to be influential within the eLearning sector within their country and the Continent rather than in a wider, non-African context.
- Consequently, any person's influence on eLearning outside of Africa was heavily discounted to give a picture of the influencers on corporate and academic eLearning within Africa alone.
- The "rule" for the World List of Movers and Shakers is that although academics can be named, they are considered only in so far as their work influences those in the corporate world. However, it soon became obvious that within Africa the corporate and academic eLearning sectors are more closely linked than appears to be the case in many other areas of the world. Consequently, academics are more heavily represented in the Africa list. Nonetheless, in an attempt to maintain some continuity of principle, people whose influence was deemed to be purely or mostly within the academic sector were not given priority.
- The list is compiled on the basis of a person's perceived current influence on the online learning industry as a practitioner, commentator, facilitator, or thought leader. In today's social media influenced age, this tends to give social media users, especially bloggers, a higher profile and "thought leader influence" than, say, practitioners. Nonetheless, the judges also tried to take account of the work and influence of "pure" industry practitioners, including those active "behind the scenes". These people have a significant, if often unseen, influence over the industry.
Interestingly, the first three places - and five of the first six places - on this year's list go to women. Moreover, women head each of the list's four sections except for the Gold section, which is headed by Foster Ofosu.
There are 26 women on the 100-strong list. The strongest female representation is in the Elite section, where they account for ten of the 25 people named. There are six, four, and six women named in the Platinum, Gold and Silver sections respectively.
Men comprise 71 per cent of the current World List of Movers and Shakers in the Corporate eLearning Industry; on the Africa List, the figure is 74 per cent.