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Using ODL and ICT to develop the skills of the unreached: a contribution to the ADEA triennial of the Working Group on Distance Education and Open Learning

Sukon, K.S.,, Kaviraj Sharma; Boojihawon, Dev; Gatsha, Godson and Panchoo, Shireen, B (2012). Using ODL and ICT to develop the skills of the unreached: a contribution to the ADEA triennial of the Working Group on Distance Education and Open Learning. ADEA, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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Abstract

Innovation in technology is occurring at rapid pace thus shrinking the distances and making information and knowledge more than ever accessible to everyone irrespective of where the person resides. This paper consists of four main articles. The first one deals with technological trends. The second one focuses on the deployment and use of open and distance education mode in rural areas by documenting initiatives that embrace information and communication technologies (ICTs). Due to challenges faced in rural areas only a few success stories/cases currently exist and some of these are cited in this article. The challenges faced in the deployment of ICT enhanced ODL have been highlighted as well as the potential of developing and delivering effective and relevant ODL programmes in rural areas in order to ensure that issues of educational equity and social exclusion rural communities are adequately addressed. ICTs in ODL are perhaps the greatest tool to date for self-education and value addition to any community’s development efforts, yet poor rural communities particularly in Africa do not have the necessary awareness, skills or facilities to enable themselves to develop using ICTs. Inadequate ICT infrastructures in rural areas remain a major source for the digital divide in Africa and for under-performance of distance learners. The third one analyses the support provided to ODL learners who often encounter difficulties in completing their studies through the distance education mode due to loneliness, uncertainties and de-motivation. ICT has not been able to sufficiently support distance learners in overcoming those obstacles efficiently. An investigation regarding those learning supports has been conducted in ten distance learning institutions, along with an intensive literature review with the aim of understanding the high percentage of dropout rates of distant learners. The learners’ interactions have been scrutinized through content analysis of their synchronous exchanges, during a completely online course. After taking into account the limited technical and human resources in Africa, a technological virtual environment along with a pedagogical framework has been proposed with the aim of giving adequate educational support to them. The fourth article has explored The Open University (UK) and its efforts to use new technologies to deliver online courses to difficult-to- reach learners in prison environments. The case study analysed here is an international course (called, B201- Business Organisations and their environments) which also touches an African cohort of learners. The implications for designing and delivering online ODL to the complex unreachable environments of prisons anywhere, and particularly in Africa, have been discussed.

Item Type: Other
Copyright Holders: 2012 Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetADEA
Extra Information: Working paper for the Triennial on Education and Training in Africa, (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 12-17 February 2012).
Academic Unit/Department: Open University Business School
Item ID: 32167
Depositing User: Dev Boojihawon
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2012 16:55
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2012 07:38
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/32167
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