Oriade: Homegrown Solution Will Reduce Cost of Online Education


Managing Partner and CEO of DexNova Consulting, Adewole Oriade, a strategic process management company, spoke with Emma Okonji on the company’s recent online management solution that will address a whole lot issues in acquiring technology skills, among other issues. Excerpts:

Tell us about the involvement of DexNova Consulting in technology development and training?

DexNova Consulting is a strategic process management company that uses strategic tools such as project management, business analysis, among others, in helping organisations achieve their strategic objectives, through consulting and training. As Managing Partner and CEO of DexNova Consulting, I have over eight years of banking experience, four years experience in oil and gas before establishing DexNova Consulting.

We recently launched a new software solution called DexLearn that enhances learning in the area of information and communications technology (ICT), as well as management learning. How does it operates?

DexLearn is a learning management system that enhances online learning, using ICT as a platform. It is a platform through which people can learn various ICT skills. It is designed for ICT skills acquisition and those who want to sit for professional ICT exams can also use the platform for their studies. Those who want to develop themselves without necessarily sitting for information technology (IT) certificate exams, can also study with the platform. Today there is a paradigm shift from analogue communication to digital communication and so every organisation is looking for the best and fastest means of moving their operations to a technology-driven platform, in order to catchup with today’s technology trend. It is for this reason that we developed a software learning solution called DexLearn, which enhances technology training of individuals and people from corporate organisations. Dexlearn LMS is designed in accordance with international standards to compete favourably with any other learning management systems in the world.
The standard practice all over the world is to support classroom learning method with online learning management to ensure time maximisation and sustain productivity while learning is taking place. The product contains over 100 software solutions, and about 20 professional certification courses and we will continue to add to the solution, to boost the entire package of DexLearn.

What could have motivated you into developing the software learning solution?

We were motivated by several factors. We discovered that there are quite a number of constraints that prevent people from acquiring knowledge in the area of ICT, and cost is a major factor. Again the shrinking state of the Nigerian economy is not helping matters and people try to shy away from acquiring ICT skills. Training is key in any organisation, and technology training is most important. It is for this reason that we developed our software learning solution, which will enable majority of people acquire technology skills at the lowest cost ever. Another reason could be likened to our philosophy and goals to offer as many people as we can, the opportunity to acquire ICT skills through our robust software solution package.

These days, the greatest challenge of workers and organisations, is about time to acquire new ICT skills, while on the job. How will DexLearn solution help in addressing this?

We also factored in time management, when we were developing the solution, which helps self training and organisational training with ease, without taking people away from their jobs. Most learning management system are developed abroad and they are highly priced. So our solution has international and local contents, with international standards and people could just log online and get registered.

In Nigeria, there are several platforms for online learning. What stands out DexLearn from others?

We are unique because as of today, there is no homegrown management learning package in Nigeria. All we have, are solutions developed in foreign countries and sold to Nigerians. So DexLearn is the first locally developed learning management solution platform with international standard that is known to Nigerians. Since it is a web-based solution, the users will be competing with other learning management solutions developed abroad. The good thing about our solution is that it is accessible from any part of the country and from any part of the world because it is web-based.

So what are the benefits of the web-based solution to Nigerians?

It comes with several benefits. Since it is homegrown, people and organisations can easily pay in naira currency denomination to acquire the same online management skills that they would have paid for in dollar denominated currency. So the challenge of getting dollar is completely eliminated. Again the solution uses relatively low bandwidth connectivity, which of course makes it easy for people to stay longer on the internet, while carrying out researches, and they will pay less for cost of bandwidth
Other benefits of the e-learning platform, include cost effectiveness, learning 24/7 anywhere, easy tracking of progress as well as discreet learning. Again, it has over 100 soft skills courses as well as professional certification courses such as PMP Exam Prep, Prince 2 Exam prep, ITIL, Six Sigma, ScrumStudy, CBAP/CCBA. So the platform is set to revolutionise knowledge and skill acquisition among Nigerians and any discerning person around the globe.
Some of its features include course guide, instructor led, self-paced training, progress tracker, simulated assessments, participants’ discussion forum, downloadable training materials, participants online and offline interaction, among others.

Employers have always complained of dearth of ICT skills gap among fresh employees. How will your solution help in addressing some of the skills gap?

Our solution can address dearth of ICT skills gap in the country. However the solution is specifically designed to train people who already have some level of management skills, which they want to update, while on the job. The training gives them some skills that meet labour demands. With DexLearn, people can acquire several management skills like motivation, team building, problem solving among other skills. So our management training complements the technical skills that people may have already acquired.

So what is your assessment about management learning skills in Nigeria?

Management learning system has been around in Nigeria for some time now, and some of them are used to compliment learning skills in the universities and polytechnics. Some corporate organisations that have adopted it, are using it to train their staff in-house. But most of the management online learning solutions in the country are developed outside the country with foreign contents and they are sold to Nigerians, and there is need for homegrown management solution system that addresses the peculiarities of Nigerians in a way that Nigerians will pay less to acquire the skills, and that was what actually propelled us into developing DexLearn.

Your solution is homegrown. What are your plans to sustain it over a long period of time?

The good thing about DexNova Consulting, which is the developer of DexLearn management solution, is that it is a project management organisation that is focused on online training. It has a focus to sustain the solution over a long period of time. It has dedicated staff that will keep the platform running over a long period if time. We are also ready to collaborate with other organisations for the purpose of continuity.

Nigerians have penchant for foreign developed solutions. Now that you have a homegrown solution, how do you intend to convince Nigerians to buy into it?

Yes it is homegrown solution, but it has international standards and features that will attract Nigerians to embrace the solution. Our payment gateway is PayPal, which is an international payment gateway. Again we have contents of international repute.

What is your view about ICT education in Nigeria?

ICT education is the way forward for fast economic development and most things are centred around ICT in today’s global thinking. What we have done with DexLearn is in line with the current technology development across globe.

What do you think are some of the technologies that will drive online learning in Nigeria?

Online learning must be easily accessible, must be cost effective and must add value to learning. With the learning management solution, which we are promoting, I think it is one form of technology that will enhance online learning participation among Nigerians. Online learning encourages distant learning, and our solution is about online learning that people can key into from any part of the country, provided they have internet connectivity.

You have offices in Lagos and Port Harcourt. Do you intend extending your office to other parts of the country?

With the present state of online learning, we do not have need to establish physical offices around the country, when people can easily have access to our management learning programmes from any part of the country. Before now, people call us to ask when we are extending our offices closer to them, but with the DexLearn solution, online management learning has been demystified to the extent that people can connect to the learning platform from any part of the country, as well as from outside the county, to get easy access to our online management learning programmes, with same quality at a much cheaper rate.