Designing and developing educational resources for teacher education via Open and Distance Learning (ODL), A case study from Ghana

Addae-Kyeremeh, Eric; Cullen, Jane and Abreh, Might Kojo (2019). Designing and developing educational resources for teacher education via Open and Distance Learning (ODL), A case study from Ghana. In: SEDO conference Theme: Promoting Innovative Educational Practices for Sustainable Development, 29-30 Jan 2019, Cape Coast, Ghana.


There’s evidence to suggest that Open and Distance Learning (ODL) can have a major impact on thinking and practice throughout the whole educational system, regarding such critical matters as how students learn, how they can best be taught, and how educational resources might more efficiently be organized to deliver the teaching that is needed). In Ghana, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have been investing in teacher education via Open and Distance Learning (ODL) with study centres opening across the country but little is known about the learning, teaching and curriculum is design and delivered. This paper explores how educational resources are developed and organised to deliver the teaching and learning in the ODL programme of this case study university.

The field site for this case study is a large national provider (university) of distance teacher education involving three of their distance learning study centres in June 2017. Sampling of university staff is purposive and focused on those who are involved in developing curriculum and policy in ODL for teacher education programmatic areas. Our sample size is 3 curriculum developers and 2 senior leaders at the institution. Our ‘student’ participants are adults who are either gaining a first formal teaching qualification or are upgrading their teaching qualification.

The findings suggest textbooks developed to support the distance education programme are carefully written by expert educators drawn from various departments across the university. However, we uncovered the danger associated with distance teaching institutions replicating face-to-face teaching on a distance learning programme without careful consideration of ODL pedagogy. There is variation in the interpretation of university’s distance education pedagogy amongst course tutors. Some tutors focused solely on the textbooks produced by course developers, whilst others drew on other sources of materials and deployed other techniques of teaching and supporting students beyond the face-to-face sessions with tutors on weekends.
We found that current provision of teacher education via Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is heavily situated in the ‘first generation' of distance education pedagogy and technology, sending out printed textbooks to students via the postal service, with TV broadcasts and podcasts being mooted as possible next stages of development.

Our recommendations include the potential to ‘leapfrog’ from 1st generation ODL pedagogy to 4th generation ODL pedagogy, as has happened elsewhere in some of the world’s best performing education systems. This will require institutional buy-in but the technology is now available to support networked learning and personalised learning. We also recommended that future investment into distance education could focus on the use of interactive technology and learning analytics to provide an effective learning experience for students and at scale.

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