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The state of e-learning in Kenya

Most institutions of higher learning education in Kenya have adopted e-learning with the aim of coping with the increased demand for university education and widening access to university training and education. E-learning is the training provided via a computer or other digital devices, allowing technology to facilitate learning anywhere anytime. While teaching can be based in or out of the classrooms, the use of computers and the internet forms the major component of e-learning. E-learning is not just a change of technology but a part of the redefinition of how we now transmit knowledge, skills, and values to younger generations of workers and students.

Though there are advantages that accrue from adopting e-learning, its implementation and provision have not been smooth sailing. It has had to contend with certain national, organizational, technical, and social challenges that undermine its successful implementation. (Kibuku, 2020) The demand for university education in Kenya is growing at an unprecedented rate. Several learning strategies including e-learning have been put in place to cope with the increasing demand. E-learning is a flexible model of pedagogy that if well thought out can accommodate nearly all qualified students seeking university education. Unfortunately, findings have revealed that e-learning is growing at a slow pace among the public universities in Kenya, a problem attributed to many challenges that face this mode of content delivery. (Dorothy N Mutisya, 2016)

The majority of universities have lacked Senate-approved e-learning policies to guide structured implementation. A few lecturers and students use e-learning and only a few courses are offered online. (George .M, 2019) Again, universities in Kenya lack requisite ICT infrastructure and skills, capacity, and standardized e-learning programs.

Challenges facing E-learning

  • Lack of adequate e-learning policies

  • Ever-evolving technologies

  • Budgetary constraints and sustainability issues

  • Inadequate information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure

  • Negative perceptions towards e-learning and fear of criticism

  • Domination of e-learning aims by technology and market forces

  • Fear of denial of copyright

  • A large number of online students

  • Lack of technical and pedagogical competencies for training e-tutors and e-learners

  • Lack of collaboration among the e-learning participants

  • Lack of an e-learning theory to underpin the e-learning practice

  • Insufficient internet connectivity and not enough computers/laptops and computer laboratories

Thanks to technology, e-learning has been made easy. Students worldwide can now access all kinds of courses online without leaving home. They are given opportunities to learn from competent educators and interact with other students from different locations. (Lynch, 2020)

Advantages of E-learning

ü Cost-effective

ü Environment friendly

ü Personalized learning

ü Better retention

ü There is enough information on the internet

ü There are courses that can be self-taught and do not require the supervision of tutors

ü Give us the freedom to broaden our scope of knowledge; one can learn more on any topic/field of their choice


ü Little to no social interaction

ü Cheating is unavoidable

ü Requires self-motivation and proper management skills

ü Focuses more on theory; there’s no hands-on experience like conducting experiments

ü Home distractions

ü Lack of accreditation and low quality

Kenya needs to stay ahead of the curve by laying the groundwork for e-learning through investments in ICT infrastructure, digital literacy, digital content, and upskilling of teachers and trainers. This will spur the growth of e-learning in Kenya and act as a signal for global players to double down on their investments in the space, leading to job creation and knowledge transfer. (Columnists, 2020) Kenyan learners will also be better equipped to transition into the modern workforce where familiarity with digital tools is increasingly becoming a key competency that recruiters access when choosing who to hire or retain in their organization.


Columnists. (2020, May 20). Business Daily .

Dorothy N Mutisya, G. L. (2016). Challenges affecting adoption of e-learning in public universities in Kenya. Sage Journals .

George .M, D. N. (2019). Status of E-Learning in public universities in Kenya . erudit.

Lynch, M. (2020). Advantages and disadvantages of E-learning . The Tech Advocate.

Rachel Njeri Kibuku, P. D. (2020). E-learning challenges faced by universities in Kenya. EJEL .

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