Relationship Management in ODL Systems: An approach towards facilitating access and success in learning
Organizations exist to perform functions towards achievement of its organizational objectives, which are attuned in line with its mission and vision. It attempts to serve its target group of customers through its products and/ or services. The same holds for organizations in the educational sector such as Universities, which provide educational services in terms of offering relevant academic programmes for the student community. The dynamic changes in the macro-environment of the higher education (HE) system today, call for a different approach to the management of HE institutions and universities. Globalisation, technological innovations, new lifestyles patterns resulting in changing learner profiles, and increased number of educational institutions are some of the major aspects impacting the HE system. In a populous and developing country like India where conventional HE system has constraints to meet the gap in gross enrolment ratio, Open and Distance Education serve as the viable alternative to the issue of access and equality in HE. // Open Universities (OUs), established to provide higher education opportunities to all in the society, beyond the conventional constraints of age, time and place, are also influenced by the generic changes in the macro-environment referred above. The need to effectively manage heterogeneous ‘distant’ learners’ and make the best use of advancements in Information and Communication Technologies in Open and Distance Learning (ODL), is essential for the wide acceptance and success of the ODL programmes. However, another important aspect that cannot be ignored is today’s customer-driven economy, a result of the globalised- highly competitive environment that we live in. Providing high quality service to the customer is most significant to the organisation’s success and even to existence of the organization itself, Further, changing lifestyles in the society and the ‘fast life’ of today has redefined the concept of customer service and customer satisfaction. These obviously have implications in expectations of the learner (the customer or the target beneficiary of an OU) from his Open University.