Elimu’s Offline eLearning Innovation

Elimu Resource Centre
byElimu Resource Centre

When Elimu opened Elimu Resource Centre in 2016 our focus shifted to using technology to enhance access to educational resources for learners of all kinds, especially children, youth and women. Through a partnership with Learning Equality in the U.S.A., we introduced the Kolibri EdTech Platform to schools.

Kolibri is designed for offline use and does not require data. As such it is completely free to the end-user. In our school-based program content is accessed via a laptop server by any Wifi-enabled devices including the government-issued tablets in public schools. Teacher training began in 2019 in Malindi and formal implementation into schools was initiated in 2020.

With the arrival of COVID-19 to Kenya in March, all schools and institutions of learning, including Elimu Resource Centre, were immediately shut down and students sent home. We immediately set about to innovate a solution for students forced to continue their learning at home. Kolibri is well-suited for home study with content intended for self-paced learning and students able to get automatic feedback from the system. It is easy for parents and caregivers to engage with children through Kolibri and to guide them along in their studies from home.

The innovation we have developed gives access to the Kolibri content to users in the community from a robust computer server hosted at Elimu Resource Centre currently over a distance of more than 2.5 kilometres. This arrangement remains true to the original offline design which does not use the internet and does not require data bundles. It protects children from malicious internet sites and there is no cost to the user.

“There can be no positive urban development without quality education and a well-educated population!”

We were excited to launch the innovation on Oct. 28, 2020 under the banner of Urban October. UN-HABITAT promotes Urban October as a month during which the United Nations focuses on positive urbanization and celebrates communities on the vanguard of urban development. As a semi-urban town, Malindi is undergoing urbanization and modernization. At Elimu, we believe there can be no positive urban development without quality education and a well-educated population!

Our Urban October event offered a glimpse into the vision that we have for delivering quality, standardized educational resources to the community using digital technology. The event was hosted at a private school in Malindi, but we hope to see eLearning become an integral part of the public school system also. Kolibri is a real solution for making the best use of the government-issued tablets in schools!

We are poised to scale our pilot test and send the Kolibri server signal right across Malindi sub-county initially, then to the greater Kilifi County and eventually across Kenya into schools, homes and out to the community at large. Our goal is Kenyan children studying on Kolibri in the classroom and seamlessly continuing their studies via their virtual Kolibri classroom from their homes.