Developing a Research Agenda for Resilient Systems and Innovative Practices in ODeL: Findings from a National Study

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Building Resilience // The Covid-19 pandemic brought to light huge gaps in education systems globally. Many African countries were unable to respond quickly to the impact of the pandemic. Additionally, in Nigeria, insurgency and insecurity are daily realities that have equally disrupted schools, forcing them to shut down. As a result, many institutions adopted emergency, remote teaching and learning approaches, recognising the potential of open, distance and eLearning (ODeL) to mitigate the disruptions and therefore contribute to building resilience. However, many of these interventions lack appropriate ODeL design and pedagogical features. A Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), National Research Fund (NRF)-sponsored project titled "Setting an Agenda for Research into Open, Distance, and eLearning in the Global South: Nigeria as a Case Study" set out to identify gaps, priority areas, and research trends to inform ODeL policy, and guide practice in the context of the various challenges. The project harnesses the value of research relating to policy, pedagogy, and practice in ODeL. The main objective of this paper is to investigate key areas of ODeL that should receive greater attention in research and thereby offer insights on the possible implications for building resilient educational systems and promoting innovative practices. A two-phased, mixed-method data collection process was implemented with quantitative data obtained through a preliminary online survey of 382 ODeL practitioners from higher education institutions in Nigeria. Qualitative data was obtained through a follow-up interview with a purposively selected group of 26 ODeL experts. The study reveals a commonality of views among the expert group about the key areas for research such as learner support, ICT, and instructional delivery. The opinions of the sample expert group confirmed the responses of the general population. The study also reveals emerging categories of previously unclassified research priority areas that are common to the African context. Research into these key areas can contribute significantly to building resilient education systems and promoting innovative practices. // Paper ID 4693

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Resilience,Research,Educational Resilience