Importance of Interactivity in Open Distance Learning Continuous Professional Development Courses
Background: Recent public sector reforms in Mauritius lay emphasis on continuous professional development (CPD). The Pay Research Bureau (PRB) recommended that employees be provided with annual CPD opportunities for 45 – 60 hours. Open Distance Learning (ODL) strategy was proposed for implementation of this recommendation. // This paper concerns one particular course: ‘Supervision and Leadership for Change’. The print-based learning materials provided opportunities for active learning and reflection where learners were called upon to share their experience. They also reflected on case studies provided in the learning materials while bringing in their own case studies and commonly-held assumptions. // Tutorial support was provided by experienced senior public officers. They provided faceto-face tutorials at 3-4 weeks’ intervals according to a delivery plan. Learners also interacted with the tutor and their peers through phone and emails. Assessment addressed • Learning; • Reflection and sharing of experiences; • Application of what is learnt. // This paper explores the relevance and quality of interaction experienced by open distance learners. It investigates “how open distance learners perceive and assess the importance of various forms of interactions experienced during their ODL course”. // Interaction is vital for effective learning. The level of interactivity impacts on the quality of ODL programmes. However, we cannot take for granted that ‘interactions’ will occur. Interactivity concerns programme developers, instructional designers, administrators and learners. It is important that ODL practitioners consider ways of purposefully designing interactivity into their programmes.
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