The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Michele Deane

Achieving Development Goals through cost-effective open and distance learning in Sub-Saharan Africa: what costs, how effective?

Michele Deane
The Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University

presented by Michael Bird
Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University

     Full text: HTML
     Last modified: September 15, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/02/2006 2:30 PM in NT Portland A
     (View Schedule)

This paper reports on a research and development project to collect information to inform the construction of a software costing tool for open and distance learning (ODL) teacher education in Africa. Data were collected in five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Anglophone and Francophone). In all five cases, to meet the need to provide basic education for all, governments required that large numbers of teachers receive continuing professional development to enhance their qualifications and professional understanding, and ODL was seen as the most cost-effective way to achieve this at scale. While there are some differences in the way each country has set up its ODL teacher training provision, some strong trends emerge, particularly:
- the programme design and content, including the learning resources
- the profiles of trainers and trainees (even though the balance of genders differs according to countries; possible reasons for this will be explored).
- the monitoring and evaluation of trainees that rely on formal assessment systems;
- the increasing use of new technologies which still needs to be developed to improve learning, production of materials and the tracking of students;
- the quality assurance procedures.
These similarities afford opportunities and constraints that are reviewed and analysed.

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