Exploring Open and Distance Learning Reform at the National University of Lesotho: A Managerial Perspective
This study investigated how open and distance learning (ODL) reform was managed within the Institute of Extramural Studies (IEMS), at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). The reform was introduced during the 2017/18 academic year with first-year programmes in three departments: (a) Adult Education; (b) Business and Management Development; and (c) Research, Evaluation, and Media. The study employed interviews and analysis of institutional documents as data collection techniques. Interviews were held with eight programme coordinators, four department heads, and the director of IEMS. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants to the study given their strategic position in the management and implementation of the reform. Qualitative content analysis was used to interpret the data. The findings suggested that the ODL programmes were introduced without a policy and comprehensive plan. The implementation faced several challenges such as finance, as well as infrastructural and human resources. Evidence from the literature has suggested that compared to face-to-face strategy, ODL as an educational strategy requires special resources, support, and funding. Thus, curricular materials should be adapted for the ODL context, taking into account students’ characteristics. The study found that these pertinent requirements were not considered, and implementation continued as if the reform still constituted face-to-face or campus-based instruction.
Aluko, R. (2011). Inclusion and exclusion in higher education: Paradoxes in distance education. Progressio, 33(2), 121–135. https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/18687/Aluko_Inclusion(2011).pdf?sequence=1
Benson, R., & Samarawickrema, G. (2009). Addressing the context of e‐learning: Using transactional distance theory to inform design. Distance Education, 30(1), 5–21. https://doi.org/,DOI: 10.1080/01587910902845972
Braimoh, D. (2003). Transforming tertiary institutions for mass higher education through distance and open learning approaches in Africa: A telescopic view. SAJHE/SATHO, 17(3), 13–25. https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/EJC37029
Brownson, R. C., F. Chriqui, J. F., & Stamatakis, K. A. (2009). Understanding evidence-based public health policy. American Journal of Public Health, 99(9), 1576–1583. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdfplus/10.2105/AJPH.2008.156224
Cant, M. C., Wiid, J. A., & Machado, R. (2013). The characteristics of a good ODL practitioner. Gender & Behaviour, 11(2), 5673–5687. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC144836
Fullan, M. (1991). The meaning of educational change. Cassell.
Ghavifekr, S., Afshari, M., Siraj, S., & Razak, A. (2013). Vision-Driven strategies and policies for managing educational systemic change: A qualitative analysis. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 7(4), 333–341. http://eprints.um.edu.my/9791/1/00005891_93367.pdf
Gilliet, C. (2012). The role of ODL in the advancing access to education for special needs groups. Huria: Journal of the Open University of Tanzania, 13(2), 401–409. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/huria/article/view/110868
Green, F. T. (1994). Policy questions: A conceptual study. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2(7), 1–14.
Guba, E. G. (1984). The effect of definitions of policy on the nature and outcomes of policy analysis. Educational Leadership, 42(2), 63–70.
Leeds, B. (2013). Assessing the potential of OERs for ODL. SAJHE, 26(6), 1490-1507. https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/EJC153339
Limtrairut, P., & Marshall, S. (2020). A New Design Guideline for Mobile Learning Application: Transactional Distance Perspective. 2020 IEEE 9th Global Conference on Consumer Electronics (GCCE), 610-614. doi: 10.1109/GCCE50665.2020.9291976
Looney, A. (2001). Curriculum as policy: Some implications of contemporary policy studies for the analysis of curriculum policy, with particular reference to post-primary curriculum policy in the Republic of Ireland. Curriculum Journal, 12(2), 149-162. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585170121749.
Makhanya, M., Mays, T., & Ryan, P. (2013). Beyond access: Tailoring ODL provision to advance social justice and development. SAJHE, 27(6), 1384–1400. https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/EJC153346
McRoy, I. & Gibbs, P. (2009). Leading Change in Higher Education. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 37(5) 687–704. doi: 10.1177/1741143209339655
Melton, R. F. (2002). Planning and developing open and distance learning: A quality assurance approach. Routledge Falmer.
Minnaar, A. (2013). Challenges for successful planning of open and distance learning (ODL): A template analysis. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(3), 82–108. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v14i3.1387
Mischke, G. (2010). Towards effective curriculum design in open distance learning. Progressio, 32(2), 145–163. https://www.saide.org.za/resources/Conf%202010/Mischke%20G%20Towards%20effective%20curriculum%20design%20....pdf
Mukama, E. (2018). From policies to implementation of open distance learning in Rwanda: A genealogical and governmentality analysis. Journal of Learning for Development, 5(1), 40–56. http://oasis.col.org/bitstream/handle/11599/2555/PDF?sequence=4
Nage-Sibande, B., van Vollenhoven, W. J., & Hendrikz, J. (2011). ODL and access to higher education: The experiences of the University of Botswana. Progressio, 33(1), 138–154. https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/18875/NageSibande_Access%282011%29.pdf?sequence=1
National University of of Lesotho (n.d). The National University of Lesotho Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020: On Its platinum Jubilee. National University of Lesotho.
Nyabanyaba, T. (2013). Growth of ODFL in Lesotho: Increasing educational access for members of marginalised communities. SAJHE 27(6), 1401–1413. https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/EJC153345
Nyoni, J. (2014). E-readiness of open and distance learning (ODL) facilitators: Implications for effective mediation. Perspectives in Education, 32(3), 78–91. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC160060
Romero, M., & Usart, M. (2014). The temporal perspective in higher education learners: Comparisons between online and onsite learning. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 17(1), 190–209. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1033728.pdf
Santally, M. I., Rajabalee, Y., & Cooshna-Naik, D. (2012). Learning design implementation for distance e-learning: Blended rapid e-learning techniques with activity-based pedagogies to design and implement a socio-constructivist environment. European Journal of Open, Distance & E-Learning, II. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257947596
Setšabi, A.M. (1983). Forward. IEMS Annual Report for the Year 1981/82. The National University of Lesotho.
Smit, P. J., & Cronje, G. J. (1997). Management principles: A contemporary edition for Africa. Juta.
Stein, D. S., Wanstreet, C. E., Calvin, J., Overtoom, C., & Wheaton, J. E. (2005) Bridging the transactional distance gap in online learning environments. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(2), 105–118. https://doi.org/, DOI: 10.1207/s15389286ajde1902_4
Tlelase, B.A. (1986). Preface. IEMS Annual Report for the Year 1984/85. The National University of Lesotho.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2002). Open and distance learning: Trends, policy and strategy considerations. UNESCO. https://www.saide.org.za/resources/Library/Moore%20-%20UNESCO%20ODL%20trends%20policy%20and%20strategy%20.pdf
Yasmin. (2013). Application of the classification tree model in predicting learner dropout behaviour in open and distance learning. Distance Education, 34(2), 218–231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2013.793642
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.