The role of ICT in the shift towards student-centred learning in higher education : Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique: A case study

Abstract: Over recent decades, there has been a significant rise in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and a greater emphasis on student-centred learning (SCL) in higher education all over the world. The introduction of ICT- and SCL-based approaches is intended to improve the quality of teaching and learning to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace. Despite the curricular reform initiated in the early 2000s which involved the introduction of ICT and SCL, teachers continued to use traditional teaching methods, and ICT played a secondary role in teaching and learning. The current research study uses four different theoretical frameworks and models to explore and analyse the use of ICT in combination with SCL to improve teaching and learning practices at Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), Mozambique.An interpretative research approach was used to examine the introduction of a new pedagogical model with support for ICT for teaching and learning. Action research to introduce pedagogical innovation and the use of a case study to analyse the process of curricular reform were the overall research strategies, and the aim of this was to gain a better understanding of the impact of SCL and ICT on the lecturers and on changes to teaching and learning methodologies across the University. Data were collected using a combination of interviews (37 students and 24 lecturers from UEM, and managers, ICT and distance education experts from six different universities), questionnaires (66 students and 104 lecturers from UEM, and managers, ICT and distance education experts from 13 different universities including UEM), observations, and workshops with students and lecturers.The findings showed that the adapted flexibility-activity framework can combine any teaching and learning methods and strategies, with a focus on a student-centred approach, depending on the learning competency and learning objectives that students are expected to develop. This research study contributed to the design of new curricula within an integrated ICT and SCL, as well as a desirable instructional design of the courses that is appropriate to the UEM context. The research study also analysed several factors drawn from different frameworks of pedagogical innovation using ICT, and identified further factors that have been implemented and have contributed to improving teaching and learning at UEM. Key factors include institutional policies, ICT infrastructure, access, pedagogical approaches, and partnerships with the public and private sector, and these have contributed to the effectiveness of SCL and ICT education. It is shown that the particular interests of the teacher and students are the primary factor in the successful implementation of SCL and ICT. Moreover, the findings contribute to the design and implementation of new training and professional development, based on technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) principles and on contributions from lecturers and pedagogical coordinators from several higher education institutions in Mozambique. Despite the changes that are taking place at UEM, the allocation of incentives by the institution at faculty and school level and the engagement of the teachers remain factors constituting a barrier to effective implementation.