Towards a model for technology-enhanced distance education
Mosime, Sophia Modiehi
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This research investigated the total situation of the ABET grade 12 "night schools" in the disadvantaged areas of the North-West Province, and the learning needs of the young drop-out learners and adults who attended these classes. At the same time, the study explored a suitable technology-enhanced distance education model that could be used by the University of North-West. A total of 75 grade 12 ABET learners participated in a needs assessment survey, while 100 members of the University of North-West participated in a rigorous survey that set out to investigate the most suitable and acceptable technology-enhanced model of distance education to meet the needs of these target learners. The survey explored and established a technology-enhanced model of distance learning appropriate to these target learners from less privileged backgrounds. In a follow-up survey that used direct individual and focus-group interview sessions consisting of senior education officers, ABET educators and officials, school managers, village leaders, university faculty members, members of the digital and telecommunications fraternity, and shopping mall visitors, a total of 120 people supported the model identified by the university community and accepted by the target learners. General comments from the survey were subjected to content analysis. The findings of the survey indicated that a technology-enhanced distance education model that utilised print, contact lessons, and the modem electronic modes of distance learning, supported by the university and village communities, and adequately funded by participating stakeholders from the provincial government and other business partners, was feasible. The model, also founded on historical and modem evidence which leans on the established criteria of access, support and funding of technology-based distance education for the less privileged, was supported by evidence relating to the latest e-learning collaboration plans between the University of North-West and the provincial department of education. It was concluded that, based on latest developments within the e-learning strategic plans nationally and provincially, and the burning desire on the part of authorities from government to bridge the digital divide between the historically advantaged and historically disadvantaged persons across the board, the model has the potential for early implementation within the North-West Province.
- Education