A Life Skills Academy for Africa

May 24th, 2022

eLearning Africa is the ‘event of the year’ for those active inthe e-learning sector in Africa. This event brings together all the big suppliers and consumers of e-learning in Africa, including Three Mountains learning advisors.

We had a clear mission for this year’s conference: finding partners for our new initiative: a ‘Life Skills Academy for Africa’!

During our strategy retreat in January, our staff said they would like to not only develop e-learning courses but also train groups online or face-to-face. So, we decided that Three Mountains will also become a training company.

A big, and growing, issue for many young people in most African countries today is finding suitable employment. There are a lot of projects with programmes that aim to train young people in using those practical work and life skills that they don’t all learn in school or at university.  The training elements in those projects are most of the time offered in a face-to-face format. This is very expensive, as it requires travel and accommodation for all participants. Being an online course developer in the first place, Three Mountains has decided to offer training in a different way.

So far, we have developed six ‘blended’ training courses, designed with young (African) professionals in mind. Some courses are very practical, such as: Write professional emails, Apply for a job with success and Improve your communication,  while the other courses dig a bit deeper, as in Deliver great presentations, Work with passion and Solve your problems step-by-step.

The set up of the courses

Each of the six blended courses consists of three elements:

– a self-paced e-module that you can access – for free – through our website. If you are interested, just go and check them out at www.threemountains.academy

– small group training sessions with plenty of tasks and activities to help practice new skills and behaviour with peers, either face-to-face or online in break-out rooms.

– group coaching sessions, held over a 6-8 week period, where the trainer becomes an e-coach, using WhatsApp messages to communicate with course participants, to help them practice and share their experiences.

We have trialled all these Life Skills Academy courses with participants from Rwanda. We are proud to say that participants not only rated our courses with an average ‘8’ out of 10 but, more importantly, they also reported they had changed their behaviour. These changes were also observed by people in their work environments. For example, one participant wrote: “I now listen more attentively to people and let them finish talking, before replying. Several people gave me that feedback and told me they like it.”   

At last week’s E-learning Africa conference, I had the opportunity to present the Life Skills Academy to conference participants. Three Mountains received a lot of positive reactions from people wanting to start working with us.  Our aim now is to create a network of trainers who can work with our materials and courses. We are also looking for new platforms to showcase our Life Skills Academy courses.  Last but not least, of course, we need learners, so we are keen to find organisations who want to hire us to train groups of their staff.

Developing the Life Skills Academy for Africa has been a big adventure for all of us at Three Mountains: it’s a journey which can take us a long way. As the African proverb says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. So, if you are interested to travel with us, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Jan Willem Eggink