Notional hours - what is nationally accepted?

BY Clarice Oelofse

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) introduced the concept of credits related to "notional hours" as part of a system of outcomes-based education (OBE) . SAQA equates one credit with ten notional hours of learning.


Credits are an indicator of the volume of learning required for the completion of a module / course / qualification and are based on the concept of a notional hour. A "notional hour" includes any activity in which a student is involved that relates to their mastering of an outcome (e.g. this could include: set readings, contact hours, preparing for and writing an assignment, individual study, assessment, and so on).

The standard of TEN notional hours equalling ONE credit has been adopted in SA following the models used in the UK and Australasia. A credit provides a means of quantifying learning outcomes achievable in notional learning hours at a given NQF level. The South African Higher Education system uses the 10-hour credit which means that each credit awarded equates with ten notional hours of successful learning.

Notional learning time includes teaching contact time (lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, practical work-based learning, workshops, fieldwork, etc.), time spent on preparing and carrying out formative and summative assessments (written coursework, oral presentations, exams etc.) and time spent on private study.

Other common definitions when completing a skills programme are the formative & summative assessment. A formative assessment is an assessment that takes place during the process of teaching and learning (e.g. case studies, team work, monkey puzzles, crossword puzzles etc) . A summative assessment is an assessment undertaken to make a judgment about achievement. This is carried out at the end of a particular period of learning. At Entecom, we will conduct a 60 minute workplace assessment or the learner will be required to write an exam and submit an assignment.





 September 15, 2015
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Clarice Oelofse

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