The Capitec Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded by Capitec Bank to create a stronger maths ecosystem in South Africa through giving young people access to tertiary education and employability. The Capitec Foundation focuses on addressing shortages of essential skills, particularly in the banking sector. In April 2023, it implemented D2L Brightspace to deliver blended learning and development programmes in maths for students, pre-service teachers, in-services teachers and school leadership.
By investing in Brightspace we’ve opened up numerous opportunities to implement our Capitec Foundation programmes, both efficiently and cost-effectively.Leela Moodley, head, the Capitec Foundation
To improve numeracy skills and strengthen maths education in South Africa
Due to ongoing socio-economic conditions, there are large gaps in the South African education system, which includes teacher shortages, a lack of resources and overcrowded classrooms. There is also an uneven distribution of technology, poor Wi-fi connectivity and a lack of affordable internet access, which has resulted in digital literacy and mathematical skills gaps.
“We’ve seen decreasing enthusiasm for maths and science, and this led us to develop an approach that supports students and aspiring teachers in strengthening the maths ecosystem within schools,” says Mischkha Naicker, head of operations at the Capitec Foundation. “Maths not only opens doors to higher education, but also nurtures essential creative problem-solving skills in the workplace.”
The Capitec Foundation’s primary investment is in addressing the decline in maths skills and it takes a whole-school approach to do so. This includes increasing access to higher education and employment opportunities, as well as providing training and development programmes for each of the schools within the programme.
It runs a comprehensive pre-service teacher training programme, to nurture a pipeline of future maths teachers, and a school management development programme for all leadership teams. The Foundation also establishes fully equipped technology hubs to boost internet access and facilitate hybrid learning.
To support its ambitious learning goals, the Foundation identified the need for a flexible, scalable learning platform. Learning analytics was a primary requirement to track student progress and provide detailed reporting from across a range of learning locations.
We have a very agile business model that accommodates a fast-changing environment. We needed a partner in the online space who could accommodate our agile, frictionless journey.Leela Moodley, head, the Capitec Foundation
Collaborative digital learning with powerful analytics
The Capitec Foundation carried out an in-depth scoping of its requirements, to understand fully what it needed. It then looked at options within the market for a learning management system (LMS).
When it met with D2L, the team found that Brightspace ticked the boxes on its checklist. In April 2023, the Foundation began rolling out the learning platform to help it deliver its goals and objectives for maths learning in the area.
Happily, the team found it could onboard learners onto Brightspace quickly, due to the platform’s ease of use. It was delighted to also discover the breadth of capabilities within the platform and began making good use of the features and functionality, including integrating video conferencing for collaboration and rewarding learner badges for motivation and engagement.
The platform facilitates collaboration between students and teachers and provides easy access to resources for diverse student groups to access from the multiple locations the Foundation serves.
“We wanted to remove all barriers to learning by introducing a platform that was accessible to all students–regardless of geography, demographics, or social mobility,” says Mischkha.
The team uses Performance+ to deliver powerful analytics and create real-time reports to share with stakeholders and track the success and impact of the programme. Reporting is on a granular level, with visibility into results by school, class, performance level and more.
“We need to be able to show impact and transformation of the maths ecosystem,” explains Susan Brundrit, learning programmes manager, “We find that Brightspace, with Performance+ and a few other features, helps us display the impact we want to show.”
Qualitative, as well as quantitative, data provides the input, with surveys delivering an in-depth view. This means the Foundation has excellent insight into how much time students spend on platforms, which users are active or inactive, registration levels and so forth. The team also imports data into the system from other applications, for a complete view of learning outcomes.
Thousands gain access to blended learning
The Capitec Foundation is using Brightspace to make digitally enabled learning available to thousands of learners through technology hubs. The programme was rolled out to more than 8,000 learners in four months with no issues.
This has facilitated access to learning opportunities to help the Capitec Foundation meet its goals. Mischkha describes learner adoption of the technology as “phenomenal”.
“The learning space is no longer limited to just the traditional classroom,” continues Mischkha. “A digital shift has to happen. We provide an unprecedented, cost-effective platform for our schools to enable the delivery of high-quality content, regardless of location, and a mechanism for ongoing teacher pedagogy, professional development, and to generate valuable data.”
Thanks to the analytics in Brightspace, the Capitec Foundation can report on learning activity and look at trends. The scalability of the platform also supports the organisation’s growth plans to expand beyond the three out of nine provinces it currently serves.
Throughout, the Foundation’s team has drawn upon the support of its trusted partner D2L, and in particular the dedicated Learning Administration Manager. Leela says: “The Brightspace team is so amazing, we often feel that they’re with us. It wasn’t a small feat to onboard over 8,000 users in four months. We would call them any time of the day and they would be on the platform immediately to sort out any problem.
“We never had to wait, even an hour, it was minutes, and the service was delivered. The experience was wonderful.”
Looking ahead, the Foundation aims to reach 14,000 users by 2024 including 50 pre-service teachers, across 25 schools.
Brightspace will be critical to scaling our programmes and reaching more learners, teachers and school leaders.Susan Brundrit, learning programmes manager, the Capitec Foundation
The Capitec Foundation set out to strengthen maths education in South Africa through digitally enabled learning that would give students access to tertiary education and employability. It succeeded in providing scalable, easy-to-access learning through Brightspace across technology hubs. Through its collaboration with D2L, and its innovative approach to blending technology and education, the Foundation is making significant strides in achieving its goals.
Discover Brightspace for higher education, visit https://www.d2l.com/en-eu/solutions/higher-education/.