Innovations for Quality Education and Life Long Learning

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

The Purpose of this paper is to establish the benefits that Open and Distance Learning (ODL)learners derive from using Digital technologies in Open and Distance learning during the course of their study. This study looked at one specific graduate studies cohort, Masters in Education-Educational Leadership (MEdEL) programme, with reference to the different Digital technologies used to support learners and their impact. Documentary analysis was used to collate data and qualitative data was derived using internal key stakeholders such as programme administrators, technical Instructional support officers and students. The findings of this study revealed that use of digital technologies to support ODL learners enhances communication, information sharing, interactivity, reduces student isolation and increases students’ interpersonal skills, student development, acquisition of soft skills such as team work and interpersonal skills. Digital Technologies help to provide a platform for access to various support materials for this programme. Communication and student engagement between tutors, programme Coordinators and learners is a necessary component in distance education. The use of bulk text messaging(SMS) allowed communication to reach large numbers of students enrolled in the programme timeously. Internet, audio, what’s up, email and other social media were extensively used to interact with the students. Recommendation: BOU to increase and roll out the use of digital technologies to all programmes thus aligning delivery to its strategic goal; “a technology enhanced open University” page 20. In conclusion, the case study discusses how the different technologies used to support ODL students can potentially enhance students’ communication in ways that the physical contact traditional method of support cannot. The different media are used in the different support systems such as, the Course materials subsystem and the Assessment management sub-system. Digital technologies used for this cohort enhanced the effectiveness of administering the programme, teaching and learning processes which comprise of student submission of assignments in the Moodle Platform, monitoring of students’ progress, applications, admissions, registration, allocation to classes, assignments submission monitoring and evaluation of performance.// Paper ID 96

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Lifelong Learning,Information and Communication Technology (ICT),Monitoring and Evaluation