The ECD Heroes Challenge.

The ECD Heroes Challenge provides an engaging platform for ECD centre teachers to up their skills set, while competing for a range of exciting prizes and public recognition.

The need

A key determinant of quality ECD is the level of competence of the ECD practitioner. Many ECD practitioners in South Africa are under-skilled and lack access to quality training and on the job learning experiences. 

The traditional training methods used are often difficult to engage with and generally require many hours of instructor led teaching.

This all results in poorly trained professionals and a lack of personal growth prospects for ECD practitioners. These factors lead to a prevailing culture, which does not sufficiently value and appreciate the critical work these ECD practitioners perform

The innovation

The ECD Heroes Challenge makes learning fun. 

It does so through the use of a gamified learning platform originally created by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation to develop young entrepreneurs. The competition includes live update leaderboards and a healthy dose of weekly cash prizes which reward great work. 

Teachers face a series of action-oriented micro-challenges which are peer reviewed, with moderation, and earn points towards the leaderboards. 

The Content Focus for ECD Heroes 2017: 

Week 1: Reading and Language

Week 2: Play-based learning

Week 3: Parent Engagement

Week 4: Observational Assessment

Week 5: Numeracy 

Week 6: Professional Practice

Week 7: Child Protection

Week 8: Inclusion 

By building a sizeable PR campaign around the challenge, we also aim to highlight early years teaching as a desirable profession and to celebrate the work of exceptional teachers already employed in this space.

A better method of training teachers will result in better ECD outcomes for children. 

Using the media to publicly celebrate the expertise of educare teachers employing innovative teaching methods, will result in awareness of the importance of ECD. It will also elevate the important role of the educare teacher in society.

Have a look at our Facebook Page and watch the video to learn more. 

Key insights

Learning can be fun

The gamification system and the autonomy that teachers have in choosing which challenges to tackle means that they approach the content with a playful mindset that is highly conducive to learning and perseverance. 

Peer Learning

The peer review process exposes teachers to the ideas and viewpoints of other teachers across the country. This is in many cases the most valuable source of learning from the game. 

Unique gamification mechanics

The platform goes far beyond the standard credentialing (badging) system supported by many of the most popular learning management systems. Work done feeds into the live scoreboards and players level up as they earn points. 

Additionally, the peer review process allows for incredibly rich engagement and feedback on long answer questions, as supposed to the shallower testing of MCQ questions. 

The power of recognition

Service-based industries (tourism in particular) often use awards ceremonies and associated PR campaigns with relevant media partners in a bid to encourage and reward skills development and service delivery excellence. 

These awards prove very successful in driving behaviour change and public awareness and the ECD Heroes Challenge provides a wonderfully fair and transparent mechanism for the selection of winners.

The project team

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation firmly believes in an entrepreneurial, equitable South Africa flourishing with meaningful employment. They invest in individuals who will become high impact entrepreneurs.