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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 March 2021

Nikhil Kant, K.D. Prasad and Kumari Anjali

This paper aims to derive criteria for a strategic selection of learning management system (LMS) after making an analysis of the feedback data collected from learners and…

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1401

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to derive criteria for a strategic selection of learning management system (LMS) after making an analysis of the feedback data collected from learners and academic counselors in open and distance learning (ODL) to evaluate their perceptions. This analysis hints at the need to implement a learning management system (LMS) in ODL. Selecting an appropriate LMS can prove to be a strategic approach for ODL in achieving self-reliance and competitiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

Research design includes qualitative design intended to discuss the features, advantages and attributes of different popular LMSs and compare them. In addition, the quantitative design (a questionnaire-based online feedback) to analyze the perceptions of the learners and academic counselors in order to know their e-learning needs has also been used. Results have been exhibited in tabular/graphical formats for easy comprehension and enhanced understanding.

Findings

Findings of the study suggest that availability of plethora of LMSs in the market, which also include open source (OS) LMSs, makes the decision- making as regards selection of an appropriate LMS strategically crucial requiring adequate consideration of every aspect such as cost, quality, usage, capacity, budget and most importantly priorities and objectives.

Research limitations/implications

This study will help educational administrators and decision-makers in ODL for building a quality civilized life and empowered society by removing the constraints related to financial problems, disabilities, time, geographical conditions and many others in bringing education to the doorstep of every willing learner. The technical details of LMS, however, were intentionally kept simplified to achieve the objective and provide easy comprehensibility for the reader with little technical background, which might be a limitation of this study.

Originality/value

This study highlights that ODL has tasted success with optimum exploitation of different technological advancements in its transformational expedition from conventional learning to innovative e-learning and to the newest adaptive e-learning system. The huge potential of LMS, in providing learners and educators in ODL with an effective web-based learning system incorporating almost all the academic activities, has attracted organizations for using it not only for imparting education to learners but also for providing appropriate trainings to their human resources.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 22 October 2020

Nikhil Kant and Kumari Anjali

The purpose of this paper is to examine the hitherto unexplored strategic potentialities of blockchain as an intangible resource for open and distance learning (ODL) to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the hitherto unexplored strategic potentialities of blockchain as an intangible resource for open and distance learning (ODL) to attain and sustain competitive advantage by creating a more learner centric learning ecosystem.

Design/methodology/approach

Research design included review of the literature, desk research and case analyses to conduct this study so that the hitherto unexplored strategic potentialities of blockchain, a technological innovation, for ODL could be explored adequately.

Findings

The findings of the paper reveal that ODL must not miss out on the opportunity of harnessing the hitherto unexplored strategic potentialities of blockchain in its quest of attaining and sustain competitiveness vis-a-vis conventional system of learning. Results of this study sufficiently hint at the possible viability of considering blockchain as a strategic resource for ODL.

Practical implications

Results of this study sufficiently indicate the possible viability of considering blockchain as a strategic resource for ODL which in turn make them significant for decision-makers and policymakers engaged in developing ODL. Findings hint that ODL needs to make efforts to harness the strategic potentialities of blockchain for attaining and sustaining competitiveness which would also be helpful for ODL to contribute towards achievement of sustainable development goals. This paper attempts to provide a strategic viewpoint to the use of this technological innovation as a significant intangible resource discussing primarily the strategic perspectives of blockchain helpful in the further development of ODL.

Originality/value

Although uses of blockchain-enabled applications in ODL are relatively new, the growth is very fast. The present paper offers originality and value by filling the gap created by the inadequacies of studies focusing on the idiosyncratic characteristics including but not limited to decentralization and security of blockchain. Findings suggest that blockchain offers huge potentialities in terms of benefits for entire ODL ecosystem comprising different stakeholders such as institutions, learners, educators, etc.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Aminudin Zuhairi, Maria Rowena Del Rosario Raymundo and Kamran Mir

Quality assurance (QA) in open and distance learning (ODL) has always become universal concerns of stakeholders. The quality of ODL has been confronted with challenges in…

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21307

Abstract

Purpose

Quality assurance (QA) in open and distance learning (ODL) has always become universal concerns of stakeholders. The quality of ODL has been confronted with challenges in terms of the diversity of inputs, processes, the complex supply chain management of ODL and recent paradigm shift into online learning. Assuring the quality of ODL are daunting tasks at individual, institution and system levels. Completed before the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, this study aims to better understand the implementation of QA system in three Asian open universities (OUs), namely University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative method was employed involving analysis of documents of the three Asian OUs and focus group discussions and interviews with management and staff. Data collected were then analyzed to draw conclusions and possible recommendations.

Findings

Findings of this study presented good practices, challenges and rooms for improvement of the QA system in the three Asian OUs. Focusing on students and stakeholders in their QA effort, this study has revealed that quality begins with inner self and is multidimensional. QA is principally viewed as continuous improvement, as mechanism and assessment and as effort at exceeding expectations of students and stakeholders. The recent challenge for QA is to embrace a delicate process of ODL transformation into online digital system. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has further implications and challenged QA implementation in ODL in higher education into the next level of complexity.

Practical implications

This study revealed the diversities in how OUs met the societal needs of their respective stakeholders and addressed the challenges ahead for QA in ODL.

Originality/value

These findings were expected to enhance the understanding of the theory and practice of QA in ODL and to contribute to quality improvement of ODL programs.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

Subash Ranjan Nayak, Nikhil Kant and Kumari Anjali

The purpose of this paper is to make an assessment of the challenges in disseminating higher education to the learners in tribal communities, and problems solving capacity…

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1187

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make an assessment of the challenges in disseminating higher education to the learners in tribal communities, and problems solving capacity of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) by strategically making use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) taking a case of Madhya Pradesh (MP), which is the most tribal dominated state of India. The paper offers valuable insight in to the usage of ICT as a strategy for the ODL system presenting an account of how it can be utilized effectively to disseminate higher education in tribal communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Exploratory and descriptive techniques were utilized in this paper adopting the research strategy of case study in terms of the strategic potentialities of ICT in disseminating higher education in tribal communities by ODL using it as a strategy for their empowerment and development.

Findings

The findings of the paper reveal that dissemination of higher education in tribal areas is a challenging task especially due to their socioeconomic conditions and ethno cultural settings in addition to numerous infrastructural and access related issues. In view of the need of integrating education with the Indigenous perspectives, ICT can be used as an effective strategy by ODL for disseminating higher education amongst learners in those communities by reaching out to them.

Practical implications

This paper concludes that ICT can help ODL immensely in developing countries such as India strategically in reaching the tribal learners surpassing financial and geographical constraints with a learner centric approach increasing the capacity, quality and cost effectiveness of education system bringing the concept of strategy to center stage, at a time when ICT has fundamentally changed the strategies of different sectors including education with the unprecedented growth in its use.

Originality/value

This paper concludes that ICT has fundamentally changed the strategies of different sectors including higher education with the unprecedented growth in its use. It also concludes that Indian higher educational sector faced with multitude of challenges is not insulated from the effect of ICT, and its emancipatory and transformative potentials in higher education can play a major substantive role by extending support to meet the increasing higher educational needs of the tribal communities by sufficiently embedding it so that their greater contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be ensured.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

K.A.J.M. Kuruppuarachchi and K.O.L.C Karunanayake

The purpose of this paper is to identify socio-economic/demographic characteristics and to evaluate the knowledge on different open distance learning (ODL) concepts of BSc…

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4335

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify socio-economic/demographic characteristics and to evaluate the knowledge on different open distance learning (ODL) concepts of BSc undergraduates of The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) at first registration.

Design/methodology/approach

The surveying technique was adapted with a piloted structured questionnaire consisting of two components. The structured component was used to evaluate personal, socio-economic and demographic data. The open ended component evaluated the student’s perception on ODL concepts. The questionnaire was randomly adapted to 456 (35 percent Colombo Regional Centre (CRC) registrants) prospective BSc undergraduates at first registration time at the CRC in 2014. Data collected from the structured component were frequency tabulated and cross-tabulated with the SPSS computer software. Responses of the open ended part were examined, categorized and the frequency percentages of each response category were calculated.

Findings

The structured component recognized that the majority of BSc undergraduates of the OUSL represent employed (53 percent), late adolescents (92 percent below age 27) who reside in rural or semi-urban areas (75 percent). They belong mostly to the lower middle class and 69 percent are from families which have a monthly family income below SLR30,000/(USD208). Answers of the open ended component on ODL concepts recognized that, prior knowledge on ODL concepts were developed by most BSc undergraduates. Approximately 50 percent of respondents perceived OUSL as an institute which facilitates working people by conducting part time-based or distance mode education with self-learning features. In total, 56.9 percent students perceived the role of an ODL teacher correctly as a facilitator or a guide. The educational process was perceived correctly as an ODL system by 52 percent, while the remainder also identified the system to be a more self-study and student centered flexible learning system. However, the role of a BSc student at OUSL was recognized as self-independent learners by only 36.7 percent and the majority had no clear perception of the role they have to play as an ODL student. Hence, more attention should be paid to make students recognize the role they have to play in an ODL system in order to succeed at OUSL.

Originality/value

Although research has been carried out periodically on the process of ODL education system at OUSL, on the graduate (output) and dropouts, etc., not many have focused on the nature of input such as characteristic features of first registrant and their prior knowledge on ODL. As the output invariably depends on the input and the process, this type of survey is timely and novel.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Janette Raubenheimer and Patrick Ngulube

The purpose of this paper is to gain original evidence of the perception of Open Distance Learning (ODL) library middle managers towards the meaning of career success from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain original evidence of the perception of Open Distance Learning (ODL) library middle managers towards the meaning of career success from the perspective of the individual.

Design/methodology/approach

This quantitative research study was conducted with the help of a survey questionnaire designed by the first researcher.

Findings

Results revealed that career success no longer only relates to criteria such as the hierarchical position or progression through high ratings obtained during performance appraisal. A high premium is placed by ODL library middle managers on other success criteria identified in the literature, such as the positive effect of their work on the institution, success achieved through a focus on work life and home life balance and personal recognition due to competence.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings presented in this paper form an important part of a comprehensive study on ODL library middle management development but is limited to the only ODL library in South Africa.

Practical implications

The paper provides current perceptions of ODL library middle managers to be considered during career path planning.

Originality/value

The paper provides the first findings of an overview of the perception of South African ODL library middle managers towards the meaning of career success. The study is timely as the number of ODL institutions is growing. The target population to benefit from this study is ODL library practitioners.

Details

Library Management, vol. 40 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 23 November 2021

Saba Munir and Muhammad Zaheer

The first objective of this study is to review the mechanism of conducting extra-curricular activities (ECAs) in the open and distance learning (ODL) setting. To achieve…

Abstract

Purpose

The first objective of this study is to review the mechanism of conducting extra-curricular activities (ECAs) in the open and distance learning (ODL) setting. To achieve this objective, the procedure of ECAs at the Virtual University of Pakistan has been studied. The second objective of this study is to find the impact of ECAs on student engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a cross-sectional quantitative study. The questionnaire has been used to collect the data. The purposive sampling technique has been used, while this study's sample size is 970. An independent sample t-test has been used to find the difference between the groups.

Findings

This study shows a significant difference between the engagement levels of students who have been part of any ECA at university compared to the students who never participated in any ECA.

Research limitations/implications

The results have been derived from the data gathered from one university only that might hinder the generalizability of the findings. The same study can be conducted in other ODL institutions to authenticate the findings.

Practical implications

This study will help in realizing the policymakers of ODL about the importance of ECCAs. This study has also discussed an existing system of conducting ECCAs in an ODL setting that can be generalized and implemented across all the ODL universities to enhance student engagement.

Originality/value

This study has highlighted the importance of ECAs in ODL institutions that have been neglected since forever. This study is novel because it has highlighted the importance of social interaction of students in ODL and its relation with student engagement that has not been highlighted by any study so far.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 4 November 2021

Ramashego Shila Shorty Mphahlele and Matlala Violet Makokotlela

This chapter employed a systemic meta-synthesis literature review to reflect on the transactional variables of the theory of transactional distance (TTD) in addressing…

Abstract

This chapter employed a systemic meta-synthesis literature review to reflect on the transactional variables of the theory of transactional distance (TTD) in addressing barriers to student engagement in the open and distance learning (ODL). Literature sources were obtained from unlimited databases around the globe; however, articles published before 2015 were not included in this review. Through the literature review, the authors identified barriers to student engagement in the ODL through the lens of TTD. The identified barriers to student engagement are presented according to three transactional variables of the TTD and later classified concerning student engagement dimensions. Findings suggest that key instructional dialogue barriers emanate from the teacher and student personality. For program structure, the authors found the poorly designed courses while for learner autonomy there are situational, institutional, and dispositional barriers. The identified barriers to student engagement in ODL revealed the interrelatedness of the transactional variables and the strong link with the student engagement dimensions. By integrating the transactional variables of TTD and student engagement dimensions, this chapter identified possible strategies to address barriers to student engagement in the ODL.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 April 2018

Ritimoni Bordoloi

Higher education should bring up the multifaceted development of human resources by promoting the knowledge-enabled population that will bring socio-economic mobility…

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8822

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education should bring up the multifaceted development of human resources by promoting the knowledge-enabled population that will bring socio-economic mobility, peace and progress in society. Thus, the educational providers must undertake the duty to impart need-based higher education that makes people educated with a progressive, rational, analytical, and skilful mind. Hence, there is an urgent need to address some basic challenges of higher education such as required educational avenues or institutional set up against the demand of the population, achievements in global learning, providing room for equal access to learning, research on cost benefit analysis, educational innovations and partnership, use of educational technology, quality assurance mechanism, need for adequate funds for the expansion of higher education, and so on. Once these challenges are addressed, transformation of the society can be a reality, and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system is one of the most viable ways for transforming a country like India. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

For this study, descriptive research methodology has been used, and analysis has been done based on the data extracted from the secondary sources of information such as Census of India 2011; India Human Development Report 2011; Human Development Report 2014, 2015; Economic Survey 2015-2016; NFHS-I, II, III and IV; Report of 11th Five Years Plan; 12th FYP; Annual Report 2015-16, MHRD; Annual Report of NSS, 2016, etc.

Findings

ODL can be raised as an alternative way for making education accessible and for providing scope for skill-based education at a minimum cost. In fact, ODL, in particular, can play a significant role in transforming and empowering the vibrant adult population of a country like India into productive human resources by providing need-based training and equipping them with need-based skills, which are necessary for maintaining a decent standard of living.

Social implications

Through this paper, it could be realised how ODL provides the opportunity of education to a large section of people in the society irrespective of sex and age, and how ODL has made the people capable with basic and essential kills which are necessary for maintaining a decent standard of living.

Originality/value

ODL could be a most viable option to mobilise the higher education system in India. This paper helps to contextualise ODL in empowering and transforming society, and the finding, and discussions have been made with reference to the various initiatives taken in the field of skill-based education through ODL in a country like India.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2414-6994

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 30 September 2019

Silvanos Chirume and Mathias Taririro Dick

The purpose of this paper is to assess the consistency with which quality is maintained in the orientation process. Orientation is a key university process intended to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the consistency with which quality is maintained in the orientation process. Orientation is a key university process intended to prepare new students for life in higher education (HE). For open and distance learning (ODL), orientation can be a key process for lessening some of the challenges associated with the separation of the learner and the lecturer. Indeed, for ODL students, orientation can be fraught with a variety of challenges one of which could be quality problems.

Design/methodology/approach

Convenient sampling was used to obtain a total of 89 students in the first semester and 34 students in the second semester. The respondents came from all the eight districts in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. They belonged to various degree programmes found in the eight faculties of the institution. Correlation was used to determine quality variations. Using a mixed methods approach, the study sought the views of the students and the relationships between activities done in the two semesters of 2018. SPSS version 16.0 software was used to compute Spearman’s correlations whereas content analysis was used to analyze the open-ended responses to the questa-view. This mixed methods approach helped the researchers to analyze and compare the quality of the orientation sessions.

Findings

Results yielded a positive and high significant correlation between first and second semester variables (r=0.916, p=0.000), a finding indicating that staff members in the Midlands Regional Campus of Zimbabwe Open University have not changed their ways of conducting orientation. On a scale of 1 (least effective) to 5 (most effective), the average ratings for the presentations in the first and second semesters were 4.08 and 4.26, respectively. In the qualitative analysis, adequacy of the venue, timing, coverage of aspects and use of media were all rated positively for the two sessions. However, for the two sessions, some students mentioned negative sentiments to do with the provision of needed materials at time of student registration, the public address system, orientation packages, time management and communication.

Research limitations/implications

This paper looks at the process of orientation as it was done at one regional campus of an ODL institution in Zimbabwe. It also analyses the quality of the orientation using correlation as a lens that measures consistency and also by critically analyzing content in the respondents’ voices. Implications are that the findings and recommendations can also be applied in other ODL (and even non-ODL) institutions with a view of finally coming up with common policies and procedures with regards to providing quality service and support to the twenty-first century student.

Practical implications

Findings were relevant and could be used for designing applicable orientation programmes in ODL institutions and for improving the quality of student support and services.

Originality/value

While a number of studies have been carried out on orientation in HE, it would appear that research on orientation in ODL institutions, especially in Zimbabwe, appears minimal, hence this study covers an unexplored niche.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2414-6994

Keywords

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