PCF5:Training staff and learners in open and distance learning

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Title of session

Training Staff and Learners in Open and Distance Learning

Session details

  • Date: 16th July 2008
  • Time: 11:00 am
  • Room: 731.

Session papers

  • The CEMBA/CEMPA as a critical training opportunity for human capital development for the carribean Region: the case of the University College of the Caribbean by Dr Alison Cross.
  • Distance education and human resource development: a tracer study of vocational education programmes of Indra Gandhi National Open University by Dr. Ashok Gaba.
  • Developing courses with developing countries by Prof Robin Mason

  • Training the e teachers: a case study of introducing tailor-made elearning for vocational education in Costa Rica by Mr. Peter van de Pal.
  • Chair :Rodger Obubo. Email: obubo@cta.int
  • Facilitator:Anita Thomas- James. Email : ajames@utech.edu.jm
  • Reporter: Mitzie Reid email: mitreid@yahoo.com / Anita Thomas- James

Key Issues that arose in the session

Brief summary: Background/rationale of the topic covered based on the use of distance learning or e-learning, four case studies on the experiences, challenges, opportunities present in the training/teaching of adults in institutions to which the presenters are attached. The cases included the Open University in the UK as well as institutions in Costa Rica, Jamaica and India. The presenters shared how distance or electronic learning can be used to improve the workforce and hence enhance productivity and foster development.

  • Outline of theoretical perspectives explored in the session that has the potential for achieving effective learning and improved livelihoods through ODL?

The constructivist theory underlies all four presentations.

  • Summary of evidences (data) that are offered in the session for achieving effective learning for achieving improved livelihoods through ODL?
    • Analytical data was presented to support findings which included interview analysis, learner views, etc.
    • Data presented supported an instructional student-centred approach for ODL

  • What are the unresolved issues and challenges for achieving effective learning for improved livelihoods through ODL?

Correct blend of ODL and other instructional strategies should be selected to suit the needs of the particular context.

Experience should be a consideration for matriculation into the ODL programmes.

Much of the OER is in PDF formats and thus reduces accessibility and usability. The need for changes in the structure of organization(s) to facilitate effective implementation and to deal with the consequences thereof

  • What are the potential solutions for these issues and challenges that can make ODL work better for improved livelihoods?

1. Stakeholders should be involved in designing the curriculum in an effort to suit their needs.
2. In terms of ensuring marketability of those who complete the programmes, such programmes should be/are based on the needs of the market based on research done and potential employers participating in the design process.
3. Possibility of finding a more user friendly format of presenting information should be found.
4. In making changes, there needs to be a holistic approach in terms of making sure that the structure of the institution is also modified to make the process more effective.
5. Open source such as FOXIT can be used to “break up” the PDF text and thus convert it into a word format.

  • Suggest useful resources, people or institutions who could contribute to addressing these issues and challenges for achieving the sub theme topic and effective learning for livelihoods?

Liaising with other institutions that face similar problems and interaction of the persons involved in the process to deal with the problems

  • What role COL can play in strengthening the use of ICT and ODL and in adding value to achieving the sub theme topic towards effective learning for livelihoods?

COL’s experience and other resources could be placed at the disposal of such institutions using the approach that is “bottom up”.

Points for future action (Policy, recommendations, commitments etc.)

  • 1. Vital for stakeholders to be involved in the process.
  • 2. There is no one solution that is tailor made for all situations.
  • 3. Use must be made of available resources and resource constraints do not necessarily mean that a programme cannot be implemented.
  • 4. The programmes have all been implemented and further stages would be the responsibility of the presenters and their associates.