The Journal of Learning for Development provides a forum for the publication of research with a focus on innovation in learning, in particular but not exclusively open and distance learning, and its contribution to development. Content includes interventions that change social and/or economic relations, especially in terms of improving equity.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Journal of Learning for Development as of vol. 1(2014) to current.

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  • An Assessment of Computer and ICT Skills at Botswana Open University: Implications of ICT in Business Subjects

    Hamaluba, Tommie (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    This paper presents a study that focused on assessing computer and ICT skills of business subjects’ learners at Botswana Open University (BOU). The study explored the levels of computer skills; existence of ICT skills and perception of business subject learners on the adoption and use of ICT skills for teaching and learning. A sample size of 223 participants from BOU’s five regions was studied and data was collected quantitatively using survey questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The results showed that most of the respondents had average ability to navigate on the e-learning school platforms (E-library, portals, websites, etc.) and average awareness of the business learning software and applications; they were familiar with most MS package elements, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher. They were familiar with the use of emails, social sites and blogs as well as internet searching and browsing. Results also showed that the respondents understood the basic functions of computer hardware. The study also revealed that respondents needed improvement in the use of ICT tools for learning their business subjects, and that the improvement of the use of ICT tools would enhance their understanding of the subject matter. Respondents cited poor internet connectivity and unreliable power supply, as well as slow internet connectivity, as some of the reasons for their poor ICT skills in teaching and learning ICTs.
  • Editorial: Some more research on technology-enabled learning

    Panda, Santosh (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-19)
  • Effects of Internet Access During Examinations

    Mitra, Sugata; Dangwal, Ritu (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    The scores obtained by students in examinations where internet access was allowed during the examination were compared with the scores obtained in traditional examinations where no assistance was allowed. These scores were then compared with those obtained in a standardised school examination on the same topic or subject, taken by the same students a year before. We observed that scores dropped by over 70% within a year of taking a traditional examination but could be significantly improved if internet access is allowed in the later examination. We further observed that scores in examinations where internet access was allowed were consistently higher than where internet access was not allowed. Finally, we report an analysis by rank and observe that student rankings change both over time and whether internet access was allowed or not. This leads us to suggest that use of the internet during examinations measures abilities that are different and more meaningful to our times than those that are measured by traditional examinations based on memorisation and unassisted recall.
  • ODL Embedded with Innovative Communication and Digital Media to Empower All Levels of Farm Sectors to be Smart Farmers

    Intaratat, Kamolrat (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    This research shows how innovative communication and digital media could help empower any level of farm sector in Thailand and be embedded into ODL to serve their most effective demands.  Qualitative research was used via case-based studies among eight key farm leaders from four success farms with data mapping and an interview form. Content analysis was also used. Tangible results of how ODL embedded with innovative communication and digital media can empower all levels of farm sectors under “SDGs” is described. The main findings are “ODL embedded with Innovative communication and digital media must be: 1) undertaken for the right reasons; 2) sensitive to real demands and problems; 3) fit with the existing context such as existing infrastructure, i.e., farms and ICT; 4) best engaged among all stakeholders with all kinds of participatory processes; and 5) an appropriate design to fit with all farmers’ contexts, i.e., friendly relationships, pedagogical, administrative, and all kinds of participatory channels and opportunities.
  • Exploring the Use of Tweets and Word Clouds as Strategies in Educational Research

    Cooshna-Naik, Dorothy (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    This paper presents personal insights and discussions on the exploration of specific strategieswhich relate to data collection and analysis used to support the focus group discussion data collection andpreliminary analysis of a doctoral research entitled Undergraduate students’ experiences of learning withdigital multimodal texts. The main objective of the doctoral research was to understand the different waysundergraduate students experienced learning with digital multimodal texts (DMTs) within the context ofa history module included in their first-year programme of studies both as readers (consumers) andauthors (producers). Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, written reflection accounts,a focus group discussion and consideration given to the DMT (a video) produced by the participants. Thefocus group discussion event included a hands-on task whereby participants were requested to write theirviews in response to a given prompt question in the form of tweets. Also, the written tweets werevisualised as word clouds for the purpose of initial analysis. The findings reported in this paper, whichare based on observation notes and investigation of the word clouds, suggest that the tweet-related,hands-on task acted as a good ice breaker, making the participants feel at ease and more relaxed aboutsharing their views amongst each other while eliciting discussions and fostering deeper thinking. Also,the word clouds were revealed to be an effective data visualisation tool allowing emerging and salientthemes to stand out from the participants’ written tweets and reflections.
  • Reconsidering Access: Using Specific Impact Ranking Metrics to Manage Access in Conventional and Open Higher Education

    Kassim, Halima-Sa'adia; Rampersad, David (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    This paper considers the widening access and participation agenda, its implications for higher education institutions (HEIs) and contends that it must be underpinned by strategic measurement and monitoring.  Access is viewed through of the following lenses: (i) supporting participation, and (ii) facilitating equity. Using mixed methods, the paper draws on data from The University of the West Indies (UWI) and provides examples from key plans and initiatives over 20 years to showcase how the UWI has increased access. Concurrently, the need for more nuanced and complex datasets to assess the extent of equity is highlighted with metrics drawn from the Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking. The authors argue that the strategic use and management of data can promote public accountability associated with access and boost institutional reputation. However, universities will have to be innovative and accelerate measures to survive/thrive in the post-pandemic environment by identifying their institutional scope and “system of interest” in widening access.   
  • Virtual Community Mentoring Models for Middle School Underachievers Psychosocial Development and Well-Being During COVID-19

    Gomes, Roseline Florence; Thomas, Lijo (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    Recent studies highlight the outcomes of COVID-19 on the psychosocial skills of early adolescents. It shows the unavailability of virtual community mentoring models for teenagers' individual and interpersonal growth in the virtual scenario. Hence, there emerges a need to explore and apply the available virtual communication resources by facilitators, families, and other community professionals for teenagers’ self-development. This article reports the application of virtual resources like WhatsApp, graphic design platforms (CANVA and Adobe), graphic interchange formats (GIPHY App), all-in-one visual content editing forums (InShot App), and memes (Meme Generator App) in engaging and supporting community mentoring capacities leading to psychosocial development and well-being for teenagers during COVID-19. Through this article, contemporary virtual models are explored and executed with community guidance to integrate the personal developmental skills of middle school underachievers. There is also a need to work with community interventions by using virtual mentoring skillsets for positive youth development.
  • Examining the Practices and Challenges of Distance Education of PhD Candidates in the Context of COVID-19

    Fast, Olha; Semenog, Olena; Vovk, Myroslava; Buhaichuk, Nazar; Golya, Galyna (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    The distance education system is actively developing in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sharp transition of PhD candidates to distance education caused difficulties in organising the educational process. The aim of this study was to analyse the methods of distance education for postgraduate students in the context of a COVID-19 pandemic. A survey of graduate students was conducted through specially- designed and semi-standardised interviews of focus groups of producers and consumers of educational services. The study showed that the process of adaptation of postgraduate students majoring in Physical Culture and Sports and Biology was much more difficult than in the major Educational, Pedagogical Sciences and Philology. The reasons for the problems of distance education of PhD candidates included the complexity of creating educational and methodological materials for distance learning; lack of a centralised system of certification and accreditation of electronic courses; insufficient motivation of teachers; shortage of teachers who could competently develop distance learning courses in higher education. The study identified opportunities to implement promising areas of online learning in the system of training of academic and teaching staff: retraining of a large proportion of the teaching staff, implementation of a system approach to the development of the online environment of educational institutions, development of skills and abilities to use educational content. Prospects for further research include the study of problems of violation of academic integrity by postgraduate students in the course of distance learning.
  • Decrypting the Learners’ Retention Factors in Massive Open Online Courses

    Pant, Harsh Vardhan; Lohani , Manoj Chandra; Pande, Jeetendra (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently become attractive at most universities,and the number of MOOCs has risen significantly, particularly in India. Despite their popularity, previousresearch has revealed a low course completion rate and a scarcity of research on the factors that influenceslearners’ retention in MOOCs. Therefore, it is a good idea to investigate previous research to understandthe factors behind the learners’ retention so that an ideal learning model can be created. This study usedStructural Equation Modelling to find out the unexplored learner retention factors in MOOCs and create amodel, which may extend the satisfaction. MOOC data sets were collected from different Indianuniversities in Uttarakhand state. This study has explored the majority of influencing factors correlatedwith learners’ satisfaction. The findings show that MOOC usage intention is influenced by a willingness tocredit mobility, the allure of the latest trendy course, content localisation and perceived effectiveness.
  • Comparative Advantages of Offline Digital Technology for Remote Indigenous Classrooms in Guatemala (2019-2020)

    Wiebe, Adrienne; Crisostomo, Luis Javier; Feliciano Perez, Ruben; Anderson, Terry (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    Technology has been viewed as a means to improve the quality of education for children globally, particularly in remote and marginal communities. This study examines the comparative advantages of the use of appropriate technology (off-line servers with digital libraries connected to a classroom set of laptops) in ten intervention schools in Indigenous communities in Guatemala for one school year. The study was too short (due to pandemic restrictions) to demonstrate statistically significant differences for learning outcomes. However, using an instructional core model as a framework, qualitative findings supported four previously identified comparative advantages, and identified four additional ones relevant to remote Indigenous communities. The intervention validated the ability of technology to improve standardized instruction, differentiated instruction, opportunities for practice, and learner engagement. Newly identified advantages are: access to high-quality educational resources (substitution for print materials), teacher capacity-building, student technical skills and digital literacy, and sharing cultural knowledge.
  • Resilience, Adaptability, and Sustainability of Higher Education: A systematic Mapping Study on the Impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic and the Transition to the New Normal

    Bozkurt, Aras (Commonwealth of Learning, 2022-03-15)
    The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been a global crisis, affecting many areas of society, including higher education, which has not been immune to its effects. This study, therefore, examines COVID-19 from the perspective of higher education, applying data mining and analytics approaches, i.e., t-SNE analysis, text-mining, and social network analysis, to identify research themes and patterns. The results obtained show that studies have not been restricted to addressing only the impact of COVID-19 on learners and educational institutions in terms of pedagogical issues. The study identified three broad themes from the body of research on this subject: (1) educational crisis and higher education in the new normal: resilience, adaptability, and sustainability, (2) psychological pressures, social uncertainty, and mental well-being of learners, and (3) the rise of online distance education and blended-hybrid modes. The study concludes that the survival of higher education depends on the resilience, adaptability, and sustainability skills of higher education institutions.
  • Effects of Demo Kit on Remediating Senior School Students’ Misconceptions in Mitosis and Meiosis in Ilorin, Nigeria

    Luwoye, Akindeyi; Bello, Ganiyu; Adeoye, Gabriel Ademakinwa (Commonwealth of Learning, 2021-11-17)
    This study investigated the effects of demo kit on remediating misconceptions held by senior school students’ in mitosis and meiosis. The quasi-experimental design of the pre-test, post-test, non-equivalent control group was adopted for the study. Multistage sampling technique was used to select 60 male and female biology students from two senior secondary schools in Ilorin metropolis. The instruments used for data collection was Mitosis and Meiosis Achievement Test (MMAT). Frequencies and chi-square were used to answer the research questions and test the null hypothesis respectively. The findings revealed that biology students’ held misconceptions on mitosis and meiosis before and after instructions. However, there was a significant difference in the number of misconceptions held by students taught using demo kit and those taught with the conventional method. It was recommended that biology teachers adopt the use of the demo kit for remediating students pre- and post-instructional misconceptions on mitosis and meiosis.
  • From Modernisation, Dependency and Soft Power Toward a Commonwealth of Learning

    Evans, Terry; Jakupec, Victor (Commonwealth of Learning, 2021-11-17)
    This article reflects on some influential theories, concepts and institutions that have shaped the nature and substance of international development since the mid-20th century. In particular, theories of modernisation and dependency are deployed to reflect on the ways in which the International Financial Institutions, such as, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have adopted a ‘Washington Consensus’ concerning the social and economic development of ‘developing’ nations. ‘Soft power’ national agencies, such as, the British Council and USAID are brought into consideration, especially, for their interests and influences over matters of learning for development. The multi-national Commonwealth of Learning’s particular contribution to learning for development is discussed with suggestions made for developing member nations’ capacities to produce new local knowledge and to bring their existing local knowledge to the fore to share as part of a (Lockean) ‘commonwealth of learning’.
  • Leadership for Development: Re-shaping Higher Education Futures and Sustainability in Africa

    Makoe, Mpine; Olcott, Don (Commonwealth of Learning, 2021-11-17)
    Leading change in higher education has been a major challenge in countries of limited resources, such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most African universities have struggled with this transition mainly due to lack of the requisite information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, inadequate expertise for online pedagogies and inability to provide computers to their students and staff. When faced with the recent changes, caused mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced every person to work and learn remotely, many academic leaders were completely ill-prepared to deal with changes of this magnitude. The aim of this paper is to provide recommendations for shaping the future of higher education in Africa going forward. This will be done by analysing trends and opportunities created by these changes with the aim of accentuating the need for a renewed Pan-African Ubuntu that embraces the future, respects the unique dignity, cultures, languages and heritage of nations pre- and post-colonialism, and inspires the African Union Agenda 2063, The Africa we Want.
  • Teachers’ Perceptions of Open Educational Resources: The Case of Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT) in Kenya

    Orwenjo, Daniel Ochieng; Erastus, Fridah Kanana (Commonwealth of Learning, 2021-11-17)
    The use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in the teaching and learning of various subjects is a relatively new innovation in the Kenyan school system. With the advent and subsequent liberalization of ICT, material developers are subsequently shifting away from the traditional modes of material development in the form of textbooks and other “canonical” formats which require the teacher to use them as they are handed down without any input or modification. The Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT) is one such educational innovation. This paper reports the findings of a baseline survey conducted in Kenya with a view to finding out the views and perceptions of Kenyan Junior Secondary School Teachers with regard to the adoption of open resources for the teaching of English language in Kenyan secondary schools. Sixty (60) JSS teachers of English from rural and urban schools and of mixed gender were invited for a four day ORELT in-service induction workshop at the Kenyatta University Conference Centre. The teachers were then given ORELT materials in form of CDs and textbooks for use in teaching English in their schools. They were also registered on the online ORELT platform and each given log in credentials to enable them access freely access the materials and freely interact with fellow teachers throughout the commonwealth. The study reports that whereas teachers are ready to embrace the use of open resources, they have varying perceptions on the suitability and potential efficacy of open resources in Kenyan classrooms. It also emerges that such differing perceptions are constrained by institutional, cultural, pedagogical and personal factors. Accordingly, the study recommends a more structured, inclusive bottoms up approach to any educational innovation as a means of ensuring success.
  • Implementation of Problem Based Learning to Increase Scientific Explanation Skill in Biology Learning about the Environment

    Laksmi, Monika Lintang; Sari, Dewi Puspita; Rinanto, Yudi; Sapartini, Raden Rara (Commonwealth of Learning, 2021-11-17)
    This research aimed to describe and find out whether implementation of Problem-Based Learning can improve scientific explanation skills in biology learning about the environment. The research method was Classroom Action Research through the implementation of Problem-Based Learning. This classroom action research consisted of two cycles, which were concluded by planning, acting, observing and reflecting. The research subject was a natural science class consisting of thirty four students. Data were collected by essay test, observation method, interviews and documentation. Data were validated by the triangulation technique consisting of three components: data reduction, data presentation and conclusion. The research results showed improvement in the scientific explanation skills of students on the implementation of Problem Based Learning. The percentage improvement of students' scientific explanation was 61% in claim, 53% in evidence, and 51% in reasoning.

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