This is the home of the online learning global snapshot for the South American region.

For those who view education as the most important priority for the world’s poorest countries, Distance Learning is perhaps the most significant method for accomplishing a miraculous, leapfrogging transformation.

The yield of virtual universities in developing countries is relatively low, compared with the cost. Virtual universities are expensive, require good bandwidth, and need an ICT infrastructure that is daunting, even for a developing nation.

[The Internet Users in SA table below left ] is a reminder of the severe difficulty that is entailed by trying to implement a virtual university or any other Internet-based Distance Learning approach in a developing nation.

What kinds of Online Learning implementation strategies are possible in South America (or any developing country) if bandwidth is a problem even in the most developed countries?

There are an abundance of Distance Learning programs being initiated and managed, even in some of the world’s most destitute countries. These programs use all the technologies that are normally associated with Distance Learning: correspondence courses, radio, television, telephone, Internet, telecenters, CDROM and satellite broad-casting.Simple technologies gradually lead to higher usage rates and ultimately to gradual leveraging of newer capabilities—a progression from correspondence courses to radio/TV courses, to some Internet-based courses, and ultimately to completely virtual universities.

excerpts from:
Distance Learning in Developing Countries [PDF]

Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay are Latin America’s most prosperous countries, and this is reflected in the development of telecommunications. These nations are the regional leaders in a number of key indicators, such as standard of living, quality of life, adult literacy, teledensity, and Internet uptake. Argentina and Uruguay have the highest mobile penetration in Latin America, bar a few Caribbean islands, and Chile is the region’s Internet and broadband leader.

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are among the poorest countries in South America, with the worst macroeconomic indicators in the region. Fixed-line teledensity is limited throughout the Andes by the low population density and the rough mountainous landscapes, which hinder the laying of copper wire. Bolivia has South America’s lowest mobile penetration and second lowest fixed line teledensity.

The Eastern Nations of South America are Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela, five countries vastly different in size and economic development. Despite the differences in size and economy, mobile penetration is similar in all five countries. Fixed-to-mobile substitution is prevalent throughout the sub-region, led by Paraguay where mobile phones outnumber fixed lines in service by as much as twelve to one.


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internet usage in South America
internet usage in South America

The online learning global snapshot is a unique initiative to take a global snapshop of the state of online learning around the world. Each region of the world is represented by a research group and groups of international collaborators have been working on documenting the state of online learning in each region for a presentation scheduled at Penn State University on July 12, 2010. For more information: