Alienation at the Open University of Mauritius: A Conceptual Framework for Interpretation of Learner Feelings and Emotions
There is a growing focus on how to widen access and inclusion in higher education, however there is a strong link between alienation and attrition. This study aimed at understanding distance learners’ experiences of alienation at the Open University of Mauritius. A qualitative research design was adopted. Focus group discussions and face-to-face interviews were conducted with distance learners both in the system and those who had left. The findings indicate that several factors including isolation, inadequate learner support and institutional presence generate negative feelings and emotions that lead distance learners to experience alienation and to suspend or abandon their studies. The study recommends among other things; learner friendly policies, strategies, a robust learner-centred support system with a strong focus on retention and well-being of distance learners and a deeper understanding of the alienation phenomenon by ODL managers and practitioners. // Paper ID 92
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