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.


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

Recent Submissions

  • The Jeffrey Town Model for Community Development

    Gordon, Ivy Veronica (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-03-13)
    Abstract:The Jeffrey Town model for community development has been effectively applied to the rural community of Jeffrey Town in Jamaica with ICT as a key element. The farmers association is the vehicle that has driven the change.Included is  a brief outline of the community plus highlights of the tangible and intangible components of the model. Special attention is paid to the investment in the human capital to help build capacity of all locals without exploitation so that real empowerment could begin. Jeffrey Town is a success story validating the modern development assistance programmes whereby communities are empowered, allowed to select their own imperatives and in this case redressing some of those difficulties with superb results.
  • Widening Access to Science-Oriented Programmes in Tertiary Institutions in Ghana Through Distance Education

    Osei, Collins Kwabena; Mensah, Joseph Addinyia (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-20)
    An initiative in Science and Technology disciplines was introduced to expand access to KNUST programmes by distance. This study examined the level of access and challenges faced by learners in science oriented programmes offered by distance in KNUST. Analysis of data from 120 learners and 8 facilitators from three programmes indicated that the top-up programmes by distance increased enrolment and participation of learners. There were high rates of students’ persistence in the various programmes attributed to strong personal determination to succeed in achieving higher academic status, availability of learning materials for courses and support from family members. Lack of time as a result of work activities to delays in receiving course materials among students, and short contact hours to low remuneration for facilitators were challenges faced by respondents.
  • Promoting Developmental Research – a Challenge for African Universities

    Mohamedbhai, Goolam (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-08-12)
    There are two well-known and often-quoted facts about Sub-Saharan Africa. One is that, in spite of significant progress made in recent years, Africa remains the least developed region in the world and is unlikely to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The other is that Africa fares very poorly in terms of research; it produces only about 1% of the world’s research publications, and the bulk of these emanate from just two countries – South Africa and Nigeria. There is a clear link between these two phenomena, and while there is general acknowledgement that the research output from Africa must be dramatically increased in order to overcome the development challenges, achieving that objective appears to be elusive. Promoting research that directly impacts on development remains a challenge for Africa.
  • The Role Distance Learning Has to Play in Offender Education

    Seelig, Caroline (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-05)
    This article looks into the uses of digital and online tools in distance learning to improve literacy and numeracy of offenders in New Zealand prisons.  Looking at the benefits and restrictions of digital education within the prison environment, this article discusses the solutions that Open Polytechnic, in partnership with the the New Zealand Government, has put in place to give prisoners further opportunity for rehabilitation, and ultimately prepare them for re-entry into society, the workforce or further study.
  • Using Community Radio in a Rural Women’s Post-literacy Programme in Nepal

    Nagaoka, Chizuko; Karki, Manohar (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-06-10)
    The paper examines the literacy and post-literacy needs of rural women in Nepal, describes a pilot study in using community radio to supplement a classroom-based post-literacy programme for these women, analyses the findings of this intervention and considers the implications for similar programmes in other settings.
  • Feasability of Open Schooling in Disturbed Areas: A Case Study of Afghanistan

    Mitra, Sushmita (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-03-13)
    Most countries have enshrined right to education in their constitution but in reality to fulfil this commitment countries do face a number of challenges. And this is true with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which unlike other countries has a long history of war, conflicts, insurgency and hence insecurity. Although there have been positive steps towards rehabilitation of the education system and signs of promises can be seen in its achievements, access to quality education remains inequitable particularly across the provinces as a result of remoteness and geographical isolation, harsh climate, insecurity which impedes growth and sustainability of access points, high gender gap in all sectors of education particularly from lower secondary stage to higher stages of education, poor infrastructure prevalent in most schools, untrained teachers and low number of female teachers affecting participation, retention and continuity of studies.This paper highlights the current school educational status in Afghanistan to reveal the daunting challenges still existing to confront for the country to achieve its constitutional goals. It will also points out how Open schooling system can take charge of the challenges in Afghanistan to provide a channel of educational opportunities to those who cannot and do not go to school particularly the girls and women.  (Note:This article was orginally presented in: The International Conference on Education for All: Role of Open Schooling, 13th -15th March 2013, New Delhi)
  • Bridging Fields at a Critical Time

    Baggaley, Jon (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-11-18)
    The Journal of Learning for Development is launched at a critical time in the evolution of technology-based education. Currently, the ‘massive open online course’ is being welcomed as a cost-saver by educators in developed and emerging nations alike. Evaluation studies of MOOC impact, however, do not as yet confirm that courses with massive student numbers and no teachers are universally viable; and MOOC courses and evaluations have not taken developing-country needs into account. The new Journal, with its emphasis on the educational needs of developing as well as developed regions, can help to advise innovations of this type.
  • What Learning for What Development?

    Daniel, John (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-05)
    After reviewing the evolution of attitudes to poverty and education we note how it influenced the early provision of schooling and the emergence of a global agenda for international development and universal education. At first this agenda was grounded in the Enlightenment values that inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but economic arguments for reducing poverty and expanding education became more prominent towards the end of the 20th century. Sen’s notion of development as freedom brings these ideas together and will strongly influence the development agenda for the coming decades. Implementing this agenda will require a shift from top-down donor-driven projects to grassroots approaches that take advantage of mobile technologies.
  • Developing Countries in the e-Learning Era

    Huelsmann, Thomas (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-16)
  • Informal Learning and Non-Formal Education for Development

    Latchem, Colin Robert (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-05)
    The following article examines the issues of open, distance and technology-based informal learning and non-formal education for individual and community development. It argues that these two modes of education, which are estimated to constitute 70-90% of lifelong learning, are insufficiently represented in the literature of open and distance learning and development. To ensure that these forms of provision take their rightful place alongside the mainstream systems of formal education, it is posited that far more research and evaluation is needed in order to demonstrate their potential and evidence quality in their outputs, outcomes and impacts.
  • Innovations in Learning and Development

    Khatib, Hayat Al (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-19)
    AbstractThe twenty-first century witnessed innovative practices in the advancement of learning  in the developed world as a consequence of the technological revolution of the period and the increased demand for higher education (Bax, 2011; Barab, King and Gray, 2004; Roman, 2001). Education was perceived as the cornerstone for development, sustainability and modernisation (Fitzpatrick and Davies, 2003).The booming of open, distance and e-learning changed the quality of lives for people as it offered additional venues to higher education that overcame problems of exclusivity and scarcity, specifically at times of shrinking public funding (Dhanarajan, 2011). The founding of the Open University in Britain in 1969 targeted limitless audience with innovative teaching and learning modes. Since it was founded, more than 1.5 million students have studied its courses. The Open University was rated “top university in England and Wales” for student satisfaction in 2005, 2006 and 2012. The developing world sought to replicate the success afforded through innovative learning practices. The Arab region engaged in extensive reformation to allow for new systems of learning that would provide for accessible and diversified opportunities to learners at an acceptable cost. However, concerns were voiced along the axis of equality and social justice (Wilson, Liber, Johnson, Beauvoir, Sharples and Milligan, 2007; Dudeney, 2007). Arguments associated innovative learning modes with polarizing the developed and developing countries, the promotion of western thought, and furthering socioeconomic substrating. Debates emerged on the pedagogic fit of the new promoted approaches for the region, allegations of social isolation, drop rates, faculty strain, urban concentration, in addition to a number of scholastic uncertainties.A survey was conducted on a random sample of learners studying through an innovative hybrid mode of learning to explore participants’ perception of the new system. Two thousand and five hundred students took the survey from all faculties at the Arab Open University in Lebanon. The survey was conducted for the periods of Fall and Spring 2012-2013. It ensured anonymity of participants for validity of results. The findings are the following:Innovative learning systems have had an impact on the societies  in the developing worldOpen learning has been a means for gaining academic qualifications and has provided a solution for mass education in the regionIt specifically helped develop learners from working backgrounds, underprivileged groups and femalesEfforts need to focus on:Enhancing awareness campaigns on open education in the developing worldCustomizing material to suit the developmental needs of learners in the region as well as their cultural contextAssuring quality of material used in nontraditional education in the region
  • Technology leadership and ICT use: Strategies for Capacity Building for ICT integration.

    Mwawasi, Felix Mndenyi (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-03-13)
    Technology leadership is a fairly new concept in school leadership focus. It has become a concern for study in recent times, in tandem with the pedagogical change of  integrating ICT in teaching and learning especially in the developed nations. However, few such studies have been done in Africa. A number of studies in the developed countries have advanced descriptive approaches on how Educators should go about the using of ICT in education. Teachers, therefore, need to have prerequisite skills to integrate ICT in teaching and learning and school leaders have a role in enabling the effective use of ICTs. This study aimed at investigating how school leaders help build capacities of teachers to be able to effectively integrate ICT in their teaching and learning, at school level, in a public secondary school in Kenya. Using a qualitative case study approach, five school leaders involved in the capacity building, were purposively sampled for interviews, four teachers were engaged in a Focus Group Discussion and two teachers were observed engaged in classroom practice. Further data was obtained by analysing official school documents. The data analysed indicate the school leaders facilitated increased access to ICT facilities to the teachers and supported them, alongside training, to enable them explore various ways of integrating ICT in teaching and learning.
  • Editorial

    Tait, Alan (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-11-26)
  • Foreword

    Kanwar, Asha (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-11-18)
  • Curricular Innovation and Digitsation at a Mega University in the Developing World – The UNISA “Signature Course” Project

    Baijnath, Narend (Commonwealth of Learning, 2013-12-02)
    As part of the endeavor to reposition itself in the open distance and e-learning arena, the University of South Africa has designed and developed six modular courses (one module per College) referred to as ‘Signature Courses’. The focus of these modules is on a student-centred online teaching and learning approach; extensive student online mentoring and support; and alternative online assessment practices, while also developing prototypes for fully online courses as the University advances in its digitisation objectives. This paper presents a case study of the achievements of the project thus far. It reports challenges the project has been facing and anticipates the trajectory the University will be following in the future as it moves decisively towards online teaching and learning. 
  • Exploring the Potential of Online Courses to Develop Capacity for Sustainable Development

    Mercier, Jean-Roger (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014-08-12)
    A small team of independent entrepreneurs has developed two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), in French, on sustainable development that attracted, respectively, 250+ and 150+ participants. This article describes the original intentions and formats of the MOOCs as well as their actual performance. With little publicity, the courses revealed strong buy-in by the participants and resulted in both a high percentage of completion and degree of satisfaction. In conclusion, the author estimates that MOOCs have the potential to provide the impetus needed in initial and vocational training to respond to the challenges of capacity development, highlighted in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and in reflections on Africa like the “Madavo Report” (2005) on capacity buidling in Africa.

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