Learning support : perceptions and experiences of remote distance learners from marginalised communities in Botswana
Remote distance learner
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AbstractThesis (PhD)--University of Pretoria, 2010.
This study pertains to the provision of learning support to remote distance learners from the Basarwa and Bakgalagadi communities in Botswana who enrolled for a secondary school-leaving certificate. The purpose of this case study was to document these learners’ perceptions and experiences of learning at a distance and to improve service delivery. The literature on distance learning support emphasises the importance of making learners’ voices audible as these help gauge the efficacy of learning support. The study was informed by an interpretive paradigm using a mixed-methods approach and is underpinned by Holmberg’ theory of conversational learning (2003). Qualitative data methods collection involved semi-structured interviews, journals, document analysis and observations while a questionnaire provided nested quantitative data. Data sets were triangulated and trustworthiness was enhanced by using Atlas.ti® for qualitative analysis and SAS version 8 software to generate percentages. The key findings showed that distance learners exhibited high intrinsic motivation and 72.1% of them were satisfied with the learning support provided. This substantiates that learner motivation remains a key attribute for successful distance learning in any context. However, policy and managerial flaws did frustrate and unintentionally disadvantage these remote distance learners. Despite their adverse circumstances positive perceptions and experiences were exhibited where learners had access to personalised academic and affective support from empathetic tutors. Implications for practice include policy reviews, ODL staff training and adoption of best practice. A needs assessment to establish learner needs, expectations and aspirations is critical for the design and development of relevant learning materials, and for the delivery of quality learning support to enhance the academic experience of remote learners from marginalised communities. Recommendations may be applicable in other underdeveloped distance learning contexts. Topics for further research exploration in learning support, policy and curriculum issues have been suggested.
Education Management and Policy Studies
Gatsha, G 2010, Learning support : perceptions and experiences of remote distance learners from marginalized communities in Botswana, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://hdl.handle.net/2263/24119 >