Johannesburg, 11 Apr 2022
While the COVID-19 pandemic derailed and disrupted the education of many South African youths, training and skills development company Dynamic DNA was able to keep its learners’ education on track and actually improve efficiencies during lockdowns, thanks to a partnership with Huawei Cloud and ULearning.
Gauteng-based Dynamic DNA specialises in developing ICT skills among underprivileged learners. As a B-BBEE level two accredited, 51% black female-owned company, Dynamic DNA sees its mission as "building the economy of South Africa one ICT youth at a time", with a MICT SETA accredited ICT Academy that provides superior training and learnerships, full suite skills development solutions and expert partner ecosystems. Dynamic DNA is currently training around 500 young people for career streams like robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber security and UX/IX.
As an ICT-focused academy, Dynamic DNA had already been digitalised. However, during the early stages of the first lockdown, the institution sought scale, improved efficiencies and greater reliability from its learner management system (LMS).
Tinashe Banya, Senior Academic Head and Portfolio Manager at Dynamic DNA, says the organisation’s LMS was not able to cope with all students attending remote classes simultaneously, and there were limitations in terms of the collaboration features it offered. “When groups had to collaborate on a project, for example, some had to paste lines of code on a Word document to send it to each other,” he says.
Dynamic DNA partnered with ULearning and Huawei Cloud to roll out a comprehensive new LMS that offered security, reliability, the ability to scale and a host of new features that allowed the organisation to continue its training programmes without hitches.
ULearning LMS supports course creation, teaching, learning, management, examination, evaluation and data analytics, with AI-powered tools for smart classrooms and streaming, and even a powerful online test system allows teachers and school management to track students' behaviour during the online exam using AI face verification and gesture analysis.
Says Banya: “The AI for testing is a unique feature, which we use: it allows us to monitor for cheating and alerts us if a student opens another browser to cheat.”
Jay Zhou, Managing Director of Huawei Cloud South Africa, says Dynamic DNA presented a unique case.
“The pandemic has caused uncertainty in many areas of education, causing institutions to urgently seek solutions to the challenges that they have faced. From remote collaboration to finding tailored systems that will support their IT infrastructure, Dynamic DNA has been proactive in partnering with Huawei Cloud to offer excellent service consistency and scalability,” said Zhou.
Other features the organisation has found useful during the pandemic are the ability to create a test bank of alternative supplementary exams for students who may have been ill during exams.
The LMS is a holistic solution to enable learners, trainers, facilitators and management, says Banya. “It helps upgrade the threshold of teaching quality, empowers facilitators and also improves efficiency. Plus, management can pull comprehensive reports,” he says.
“With the Huawei Cloud, students can easily collaborate on projects and we were able to move away from manual SETA processes. All portfolios of evidence are in a cloud repository, to which we give SETA remote access for evaluation and verification.”
The secure and scalable solution ensured that all learners were able to continue their training unhindered, and no staff lost income or jobs due to the lockdowns.
With support and training from the Huawei Cloud team, Dynamic DNA’s staff transitioned smoothly.
“The pandemic gave us all a serious test of mental health at first. But using the new LMS, I was able to pop in to any session and see what was going on, assess any challenges and adjust processes as necessary. Over time, our own IT team has found it easy to add any features we wanted to our system. Our facilitators, moderators and admin staff have adapted well and now welcome the new efficiencies they are enjoying, and even SETA has commended us for the smooth transition and adapting to the new way,” he says.
To get in contact with Dynamic DNA, click here: www.dynamicdna.co.za.