Efficiency
Unit 9 
Introduction  What is the Difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness  Efficiency  CostEffectiveness  CostEffectiveness of ODL Institutions  Making the Case for ODL 
Efficiency
The most common way of measuring the efficiency of an education programme, institution or system of delivery is to divide the total costs by the total number of students. This involves using the Average Costs Equation, which was introduced in Unit 2.
Average Costs Equation:
 AC_{s} = TC ÷ TN_{s}
Where:
 AC_{s} = average cost per student
 TC = total costs for programme or institution as a whole
 TN_{s} = total number of students
Exercise 9.1
Ideally, this exercise should be carried out with other members of staff in your own institution.
Feedback: Clearly, the average cost per student is a relatively crude measure. Where an ODL institution offers a range of courses at different levels, the unit costs can vary considerably between them (see Unit 5). Moreover, since those studying at a distance may not have the same workload as those studying in a conventional institution, it is unfair to use the average cost per student to compare the two modes of delivery (see Unit 8).

Efficiency Ratio
Notwithstanding the limitations of the average cost per student measure, it is commonly used to calculate the efficiency of one programme in relation to another, or of one institution in relation to another. The term efficiency ratio is used to refer to the relationship between the average cost per student in one programme, institution or system of education and the average cost per student in another. This measure is commonly used to compare the efficiency of ODL with that of conventional education. However, unless an appropriate calculation is made to establish equivalency between those studying through ODL and fulltime students in conventional education, this measure does not compare like with like and is misleading.
Equation for Efficiency Ratio
 ER = ACS_{ODL} ÷ ACS_{C}
Where:
 ER = efficiency ratio
 ACS_{ODL} = average cost per FTE student in ODL programme/institution
 ACS_{C} = average cost per FTE student in conventional programme/institution
 When the efficiency ratio equals 1.00, then both modes are equally efficient.
 When the efficiency ratio is less than 1.00, then ODL is more efficient.
 When the efficiency ratio is greater than 1.00, then ODL is less efficient.
You can practice calculating the efficency of open and distance learning programmes by carrying out Exercise 9.2.
