Challenges and Innovative Techniques in Open and Distance Learning: A case study

Vinod Kumar Kanvaria


Shedding light upon struggles faced by open and distance learners in developing countries, the present research paper aims at discussing issues, challenges, concerns and suggestive solutions using innovative techniques in this regard. The paper is based upon discourse with the students and their anecdotes associated with open and distance learning of Panjab University, Indira Gandhi National Open University and University of Delhi, followed by the Q-sorting technique. Efforts are made to peep into issues under various temporal aspects viz. admission, enrollment, contact programme, assignment and formative evaluation, examination and result. The Q-sorting technique helped to evolve and reach major affecting factors.
A few elements, that evolved, are lack of information and publicity of courses, postal and administrative procedural delay, lack of facilitation to distant pupils, local language intervention, university affiliation to the qualifying exams, lack of ample time for journey, distance variation, etc., which can be categorized under major heads as distance, communication, culture, finance and infrastructure.
Three major basic effective factors in this respect can be concluded as distance, communication and infrastructure. Some of the solutions, in the Indian context, to these challenges, are suggested as optimum utilization of ICT viz. individualized email, SMS, online classes/lectures/contact, timely updation of website, uploading videos of model lectures on the website, individualized telephonic communication, special training to administrative staff and 3-G facility for online interaction for higher level technology courses, online-groups, equipping faculty members with individualized web-account, using web 2.0, using wikiMoodle and wiziQ for the classes and promoting open education resources.


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