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UCT Online High School – Creating Sustainable Online Education For High School Students

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As we all know, Covid-19 brought about new changes we all had to get used to. We had to create a ‘New normal’ for ourselves. New ways of doing things. And few areas were affected more so than education. Our children and students had to stay at home, were unable to attend classes in person, and unexpectedly had to get used to online learning. But perhaps this international catastrophe is an opportunity to grow and break out of the mold of ‘traditional’ education which has been mostly stagnant for decades. One of the visionaries leading this wave of change is Valenture Institute. With the unstoppable drive and passion of CEO Robert Paddock, he, together with his team and in collaboration with Hubble Studios, has crafted one of the most exciting solutions to the education crisis that we face: the UCT Online High School.  

This unique institution opened its virtual doors to over 4000 pupils on Monday the 10th of January 2022,  a big day for those in education. In an interview with Chelsey Pienaar – Hubble Studio’s Chief Academic Officer – Paddock said that“45% of the world youth population will be on the African continent by 2030. That’s around the corner and we look at something like that and say we better have a scalable education system that is able to service this increasing youth population.’” (see full interview here.) 

Paddock also says that‘”48% of the teaching population is going to retire and we are not producing as many as are leaving the system.’” With the demand for teaching going up drastically, and the supply diminishing at a frightening pace, we have a very real crisis on our hands. Furthermore, budgets are shrinking. This is where integrating technology and online solutions is at the forefront of where the solution lies.  

Learners will benefit from the UCT Online High School’s supported self-discipline model. This allows learners to pace their learning and receive high-quality tutoring from a staff complement of over 300 teachers and support coaches whenever they need it. 

The Need for an LMS system 

To bring change to South Africa and to the African continent as a whole, incubating professional development at an early stage is absolutely key. The foundational building blocks to an effective e-learning solution are rooted in artificial intelligence and creating content that remains engaging, media-rich, and gives interactive feedback. The creators of e-learning curricula ultimately need to aim to assist learners in adjusting their trajectory when it comes to personal growth and career paths, as explained by Paddock. 

Transformational Purpose 

Academia is encouraged to adapt to technological change and get involved. With this in mind, the UCT Online High School has expanded the nature of its offerings to both free and paid versions This is particularly valuable in South Africa as there are not many institutions that are fully equipped to build curriculum material that is freely and easily available to learners. One of the driving ambitions for the UCT Online High School was to create free resources, where any teacher, any learner, and any country (in the future) can have access to the material. This free curriculum will empower students with digital learning as a backbone of education. In this case, the free offering is supported by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF). 

Offering a Great Learning Experience 

This is a time where the digital revolution and competing forces are ever more prominent, where every organization wants to be a forerunner in the industry and provide the most effective offering on the market. As a player in the digital education arena, offering media-rich content and interactive educational design is a must. What is revolutionary about the UCT Online High School is that, with the help of Valenture Institute, it has taken on a mastery-based learning approach. This helps to draw out a learner’s educational path based on their individual progress, rather than a traditional pathway where students are placed in cohorts to absorb information at the same level as their peers. A downfall we often see in the approach of traditional education is that if a learner lags behind in understanding the fundamental concepts of a subject but is still being pushed through, it’s only a matter of time before they fall out of the system as opposed to integrating with it. The solution provided by the UCT Online High School is that learners will now be able to have ‘live’ sessions with their teachers where they can work through areas of difficulty. 

Building the Learning Management System 

With many years of experience creating learning management systems, Hubble Studios’ involvement in building the UCT Online High School LMS has offered deep expertise. By ensuring scalability, implementing custom dashboards that offer a curated learning experience and tracking the pace at which learners complete modules to ensure assistance is given as soon as they fall behind, this learning management system is like none other you have used before. As Paddock mentioned in his interview, this helped the process to successfully bear what the UCT and Valenture institute had in mind. ‘’Let’s work with the best!” he said.  

Sense of Community and Social Experience 

One of the biggest hurdles that digital learning needs to overcome is that of creating a sense of community and peer-to-peer learning for students. This gap was addressed by UCT and Valenture by creating virtual assemblies, homerooms and ongoing social clubs and events. These social clubs can be joined by students where they will be able to meet other learners with similar interests and thus create an environment where students feel connected to peers and motivated to push themselves. 

How did Hubble Studios help? 

As experts in creating learning management systems and online learning solutions, Hubble Studios has been able to create a suite of offerings for various academic institutions. This experience has led to a showcase of talents in the UCT Online High School platform. This experience is made up of the interconnected abilities to incorporate the student systems, CRM systems, and content, putting first principles in design thinking from the ground up and having a design that compliments the material to create a fun and interactive experience for the learners, offering captivating activities and making this come alive in an online environment. Should you require assistance on your digital journey, please visit so that we can help you execute your vision. 

Jean Nagiah is our Marketing Manager. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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