Designing an Online Learning Environment for Participatory Management of Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // Web-based courses are innovative approaches to distance education, where teaching and learning processes take place through the technologies and methodologies of the World Wide Web (WWW) (Powell 2001). The web technologies are being used popularly at all levels of education and training (Khan 1997). No other form of educational technology has made so much impact in the field of education and training as that of the Internet and its WWW. The new technologies appear to offer many advantages over conventional formats including economies in cost, greater levels of access to students, more flexible teaching and learning approaches and enhanced educational opportunities (Oliver 1999). Weller (2000) outlines the following advantages of the uses of the Internet as a delivery mechanism for distance education over conventional methods: // i. Quick production: Traditional print or broadcast material can take a long time to produce. // ii. Quick alteration and up to date course material: Conventional materials such as print, television, computer-based learning programs and so forth can be costly to alter on large scale. // iii. Interaction with, and feedback from, students. // iv. Interactive learning materials having animation, assessment and simulation. v. Flexibility in study pattern provided through various asynchronous tools of the web. // The number of universities that offer distance education courses and progammes has increased exponentially since the 1980s (Jones and Gower 1997). According to the World Communication and Information Report 1999-2000, there are 5, 022, 687 hosts with educational (.edu) domain name. There are many educational resources with .org and .ac domain names as well. However, most of the web-courses are nothing more than a classroom lecture materials posted in to the web. Carr-Chellman and Duchastel (2000: 29) says “that many online courses lack basic design consideration and that the web is simply being used as a medium for the delivery of instruction created within another framework”. Detailed evaluation of online learning environments frequently reveal that courses tend to be electronic versions of the conventional print-based versions from which they have been derived (Dehoney and Reeves 1998). // In this paper an attempt has been made to review the design considerations of online learning environments in the certificate programme in Participatory Management of Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, the first social science online programme in India, offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi. The paper is divided into three parts. Part 1 deals with online learning environments, Design framework, and issues in designing online learning environments. Part 2 discusses the online Postgraduate Certificate programme of study in Participatory Management of Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (PGCMRR) at IGNOU. Part 3 provides a brief account of important problems faced and lessons learnt during the running of the first session of the programme from July 2001 to December 2001. //