1 What does the course cover? +

To put it simply: A LOT is covered in this course! Altogether, there are 139 topics, each of which generally takes about an hour to complete. Here is a list of the modules (sections):

When you click on the items in this module menu, the top-level menu items will each open up a second level menu, which gives access to a third, and then a fourth level menu. It is at this fourth level, that the actual training begins! You can see how this will look in the picture below. Here the Word Processing module menu has been opened. Notice the white-on-blue number at the third level (in this example, the Learning Unit, Editing Tools) and you will see that the approximate time needed for doing this unit is 25 minutes. The fourth level shows what will be covered in this unit.

Each Learning Unit finishes with a Quiz, which gives you practice in recalling the information you have just learned. It’s really important that you do these quizzes, as this is the best way to learn. We have to practice ‘getting things out of our heads’, and not just putting them in! We recommend that you set yourself a target of 80% for every Quiz before you move on to the next Learning Unit. If you don’t make it at first, simply try again (if need be, check the tutorial part before you retry). Just keep trying until you reach your goal. Don’t give up! You can take as long as you like and try as many times as you like. You’re building something big into your future by persevering!

At the bottom of every second-level menu you will see a ‘Test’. In the example shown, this Test will gather together all of the key information that has been taught as you worked through the Word Processing module over 1 or 2 weeks. It repeats much of the information that was covered in the individual Quizzes. This is an important part of the SkillWise training method and why it is so effective. People who study how we learn know that when you go back and practice recalling something that you learned a week or two before, you will retain it in memory for far longer than if it is only learned and recalled once (for example, if you only did the Quizzes).

There’s another reason why it is important to do these tests, which we will tell you later!

2. How long does it take? +

The first answer to this question is that, unlike most other training programs, there is no fixed time for doing it.

It takes as long as you need or want it to take.

Because we suggest you aim for a high score on each assessment (80%), you are free to repeat each Quiz or Test until you reach that score.

On average, when people work for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, they take about 6 weeks to complete the whole program.

Put another way, you will take about 100 hours of work to complete the course.

Some people want to get the course done in a hurry, perhaps because they are needing the certificate for a job application. If they work 10 hours a day, they can complete the course in 10 days – but that is not generally advised, unless, of course, you already are pretty familiar with computer applications.

Someone else may have only a few hours to work per week. They may take 4 months, or more, to get it done.

Then there are the remarkable people who want the satisfaction of getting 100% for every one of the 139 Quizzes and tests! They decide to push themselves until they achieve that 100% mark. You are welcome to do this if you are prepared to invest the extra hours it will take.

3. Is the course difficult? +

When we have asked students who have completed this course whether they found it easy or difficult, they have often given a surprising answer.

“Both,” they reply.

When asked to explain this answer, they say something like: “At first it seems impossibly difficult, but then you start to find it’s actually an easy way to learn, and the more effort you put in, the easier it becomes.”

4. Does this course build skills, or is it just head knowledge? +

We’re so glad you asked that question! This SkillWiseGO course is all about building real and lasting computer skills.

Here’s an illustration to show how important this question is:

Imagine yourself settling into the seat of a plane. A voice comes over the sound system: “Good afternoon, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard flight XYZ from Cape Town to Johannesburg. I am particularly excited to be flying you today because this is the first time I have ever flown an aircraft. I have watched dozens of videos about how to do it, but this is the first time I’ll actually be flying one.”

How do you think you’d feel?

You would probably be joining the other passengers in a rush for the exit door!

I think we all know instinctively that while watching videos might be a good way to start learning about flying a plane, it certainly doesn’t equip you to actually fly one!

So, what’s the missing ingredient?


Hours and hours, hundreds of hours of hands-on practice.

Learning to drive a car is a similar process. One of our partners described how it felt when she had her first driving lesson: “I was terrified! I had to get my feet, my hands and my eyes to be doing things all at the same time. The bonnet of the car seemed to stretch far out in front of me. The telephone poles were flashing past my window and the road was flying towards me. And worst of all, the instructor had the radio on and it almost drove me crazy!”

And now? Now that you’ve been driving for a few years? “It’s easy! I don’t have to think about all the things my hands and feet and eyes are doing! And music! I love it while I’m driving!”

What happened to bring about such a dramatic change?

She practiced.

Again, and again.

Do you notice the pattern? With practice, things get easier.

Things that appeared difficult at first just get easier.

Our students say that about the SkillWise training. Skills are built through doing something repeatedly.

Learning by doing

As you get into the training modules (Word Processing, Spreadsheets etc.), you will encounter exercises called SimuView and SimuTry. These are examples of Simulation-based learning. This is a very powerful way of learning how to do things, and it enables you to learn real computer skills rather than just acquiring knowledge about the computer. In these simulations, you learn to make choices and to click the correct buttons on the screen as though you were working in the real program. At first you are given instructions and then, as you practice, you start to do it on your own. When eventually people move on from the simulations to work in a real computer application (program), most find it really easy as they have practiced all the moves so often before.

Simulations are an ideal tool for skills building, because you can keep trying as many times as you wish and no matter how badly you mess up, you can’t damage the program!

Another advantage of this way of learning, is that it uses images of real screens rather than word descriptions. Most of us learn from images more easily than from words, and this particularly applies to people for whom English is not their first language. So, enjoy the simulations and aim high with them!

In the course of the SkillWise CONNECT and GO programs, a student will work their way through over 16 000 simulation steps, and that is just on the first run-through! The number climbs with every repeat.

And the average success rate is 90%!

That’s proof that the system works, and can work for you!

5. What level of education do I need to start the program? +

From the educational viewpoint, the main requirement is for you to have sufficient English literacy to be able to read the content. We have made it as easy to read as possible, but from experience, if you have Grade 9, you should be able to cope OK.

Having said that, many adults who have worked for some years after leaving school will have built up their literacy level beyond the level that they passed at school. If you’re unsure, you could ask for a short trial period to check whether you’re able to manage the reading level.

6. I hate writing exams. Do I really need to do all those quizzes and tests? +

I hope we have already answered this question by explaining that no one really learns if they don’t test themselves as they go along. We have to practice getting the information out of our heads if we want to develop the skills that will enable us to find a really interesting job one day. Nearly every job today requires you to have good computer skills, and you will only get a SkillWise Certificate of Competence if you have done all those quizzes and tests!

We promised to tell you another reason why these Tests are so important. Completing this SkillWise program also enables you to earn 42 Credits on the National Qualifications Framework. This is a system that runs parallel to the Education system, and allows learners to gain Qualifications based on demonstration of comptency in work-related tasks.

In order to earn these credits, you have to prove that you are competent in doing useful things in Word Processing, Spreadsheets etc. Normally, that would involve actually working under the supervision of a qualified Assessor, which is inconvenient and also expensive. Fortunately, the NQF authorities have agreed that completing an assignment in a SimuTest is a valid test of competency in that particular skill. This means that having a good pass in the SkillWise computer training material will earn you those credits and add a substantial weight to your CV.

However, we think that of even more value than 42 NQF credits is the confidence you will have developed in knowing that you are able to USE the computer applications you have trained and been tested on.