A Comparative Study of Traditional Teaching Approaches and E-Learning: A Case Study of Primary Schools in Goromonzi South District of Mashonaland East Province, Zimbabwe
Goromonzi South District primary schools made attempts to implement the 2014 competence-based curriculum by embracing the use of information communication technology (ICT) within the teaching and learning practices. However, there is no clarity on the relevance and superiority of online learning over the traditional face-to-face teaching and learning methodologies. This is apparent by unchanging and low completion rates for primary learners since 2014 of 77.75% lower than the ECD completion rate of 92.29%. This study sought to compare traditional (face to face) versus online-learning strategies among primary schools in Goromonzi South District. Specific interest was to determine the perceptions of primary teachers towards online-learning; establish the factors influencing the online-learning adoption; and examine the factors influencing primary teachers to continue using traditional learning. It also sought to establish the constraints to the adoption and utilisation of online-learning and establish measures to overcome the e-learning adoption challenges. Two hundred and fifty self-administered questionnaires were distributed to teachers and school heads in the district using stratified sampling while five interviews were held with the same staff using purposive sampling. A response rate of 62% was recorded. Survey data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 24 while interview data were thematically analysed using manual techniques. Bar graphs, summary tables and pie charts were used to present and analyse the data. The results showed that e-learning is hindered by a number of structural problems (poor Internet, infrastructure, lack of policy framework), socio-cultural, personal and technology-related characteristics. These challenges are surmountable through clear policy interventions that define appropriate tools to use, staff development trajectory, and fusing face-to-face positive contributions into the e-learning strategies. It can be concluded that blended learning is superior over adherence to any single of the dichotomy of traditional versus e-learning. Enhancing adoption of e-learning therefore requires clear policy directions and investments in the necessary e-learning infrastructure. It may be pertinent that a comparative study be conducted to unveil such underlying differences in adoption of e-learning between developed and developing economies.