Original Research - Special Collection: OEH: The Online Educated Human

The quest for context-relevant online education

Ignatius G.P. Gous
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5346 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5346 | © 2019 Ignatius G.P. Gous | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2018 | Published: 12 December 2019

About the author(s)

Ignatius G.P. Gous, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Is it possible to provide context-relevant education to a diverse and dispersed body of students via online presented courses? Contextual relevance is called for by students and the public alike, as can also be seen in the #fallist movements. More traditional academics and institutions argue for retaining excellence from the past and known knowledge still to be taught. In this conceptual article, education is seen as a mastery of knowledge expanses by integrating Data and Information into Knowledge and Wisdom (D-I-K-W). Departing from the learning sciences, especially mind, brain and education science and its application in culturally appropriate learning, it is argued that including effective learning strategies in online courses, especially application-oriented strategies, can help students to apply knowledge from the past to contexts in the present, thereby attaining context-relevant education. However, the application of learnt material to situations brings forward another dimension, namely, the future, which is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). In applying and making decisions, it is helpful to attend to the Cynefin framework, attending to the domains of the obvious, the complicated, the complex, the chaotic and the disorder. Excellence from the past and relevance in the present should, therefore, be augmented by abilities aimed at future readiness. Context-relevant online education should therefore attend to the past, the present and the future.


Scholarship of teaching and learning; Mind, brain, and education science; Cultural appropriate learning; Meaningful learning; Decolonisation of the curriculum; #fallist movement; D-I-K-W; VUCA; Cynefin


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