The role of learning support in open & distance learning: Learners’ experiences and perspectives
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AbstractEach distance learner has a profile which may be similar to or different from that of others.Holmberg (1995) points out that there is “no evidence to indicate that distance learners should be regarded as a homogeneous group”; however as indicated by Gibson(1998:p.10) “…distance learners do share broad demographic and situational similarities that have often provided the basis for profiles of the “typical” distance learner in higher education.” The fact remains that every learner is in certain respects like all other distance learners (DLs); like some other DLs or like no other DLs. Therefore, in any study of distance learners, a variety of views and responses, and a collection of different stories can be heard.In addition, DLs may also have different prior learning experiences, and have different learning styles and preferences, and coping strategies. These differences are important and must be addressed to meet the learners’ diverse needs, and to improve the educational experience of distance learning. Although these differences are sometimes treated as marginal or remedial, they are central to DE. Learners who are actively engaged in the learning process and sufficiently supported will be more likely to achieve success. Learners who are dynamically occupied in their own learning will begin to feel empowered. They will be able to take charge of their learning, and as a result, their individual achievement and self-direction will rise. They will be better DLs. On the other hand, the opposite will be true for learners who do not have the ‘right’ skills, mindset, and perspectives on distance learning, and whose problems may be worsened by lack of support from their respective distance teachers and institutions.
Dzakiria, Hisham (2005) The role of learning support in open & distance learning: Learners’ experiences and perspectives. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE, 6 (2). pp. 95-109. ISSN 1302-6488