PCF5:What is the value of good research in open and distance learning?

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Title of session

... What is the value of good research in open and distance learning?...

Session details

  • Chair:: ... Dr. P Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Director Prof. R. Ram Reddy Research Academy of Distance Education ...
  • Stand in Reporter:: ... Susan Sela, Subject Coordinator, College of Foundation Studies, and University of the South Pacific...

Session papers

  • Dr. Regina Masalela, Perceptions of distance education practitioners on the certificate course for distance education: Botswana Case
  • Prof. Majed Rashid, (Paper 1)- Demographical analysis of Commonwealth of Learning (COL) executive MBA/MPA students
  • Prof. Majed Rashid, (Paper 2)- Executive Students’ attitude towards technological change in learning (ICT)

Key Issues that arose in the session

Aim of research: The AIOU wanted to know what are and who are the main segments in the MBA and MPA offered and to know which was the more popular.

  • MBA is more popular than MPA
  • MBA enrolment although 12% of AIOU total enrolment, is steadily increasing
  • 14% of MBA executives are female and mostly mature students with some years of experience
  • 44% of students who enrolled came to know of the programme through advertisements ( promotions strategy of AIOU)
  • Age group of mature students, 26 -30 years
  • Students came from a variety of educational backgrounds
  • MBA is the more popular but both have a low female enrolment


  • Need to strategise ways to increase female enrolments

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

  • Possibly there is a need to identify the different needs of female executives in order to attract more to the programme
  • Concern for the decreasing enrolments for MPA – reason is MPA is not as highly marketable as MBA.
  • Definite interest among some on the academic and governance issues surrounding the programme – the Prospectus was offered for such information
  • AIOU offers this MBA by blending the international and local

Hypothesis: Executive students have positive attitude towards ICT

Research conducted involved students of both programmes.

  • Most students feel that ICT makes learning simple and easy
  • Most had a positive attitude towards ICT
  • Significant correlation bet. Independent variables and dependent variables.
  • Any negativity that existed soon changed positively through the use of ICT.

  • Need for training of students for ICT
  • Since majority of students are positive towards ICT, this lends itself greatly to expansion of the programme

  • Problems highlighted in this case study are important and need to be addressed if students are to remain enrolled in the programme.
  • Research is crucial for the development of ODL