Open and distance learning staff development : an impact evaluation of a southern African collaborative programme.

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dc.contributor.author Nonyongo, Evelyn Pulane
dc.date.accessioned 2008-06-18T10:06:15Z
dc.date.available 2008-06-18T10:06:15Z
dc.date.issued 2008-06-18T10:06:15Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/4961
dc.description.abstract This study is a qualitative evaluation of the impact of the Certificate for Distance Education Practitioners, a collaborative staff development programme for open and distance learning practitioners in the five southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. It aims to inform the stakeholders of this programme on its impact and to add to the limited research on open and distance learning in Africa. It is the first southern African systematic evaluation of the impact of a staff development collaboration programme delivered through open and distance learning methods. The study evaluates the impact of the programme on the 1997 - 2000 learners and on the organisations where these learners worked. Parlett and Hamilton’s (1975) illuminative evaluation methods were combined with McAnany’s (1975) five criteria impact evaluation model to produce an expanded and innovative design of programme impact evaluation. Postal questionnaires and interviews provided biographical data and direct views of the programme’s participants. Progressive focusing illuminated the key issues emerging from the programme’s delivery and McAnany’s (1975) evaluation criteria were used to analyse and interpret the programme’s impact. One of the key findings from this study is that the conceptions informing the delivery of the Certificate for Distance Education Practitioners are based on notions of openness, flexibility, learner-centredness and collaboration and that the programme’s implementation endeavoured, in varying degrees, to match these notions. The second finding is that the participants regarded the programme highly as a sound introduction to open and distance learning approaches and practices and felt it contributed to the application of learner-centred ideas in their organisations. However, the programme’s low enrolment numbers and progressively declining throughput rates contradicted this high regard and did not match the providers’ original projections. Lack of resources impacted negatively on participants’ application of open and distance learning approaches while organisations’ implementation of new policies and mergers created job insecurity for some participants. As in Perraton and Lentell (2004) other key issues emerging from this study include the absence of enabling staff development policies, lack of recognition, currency and/or reward after completion of the programme, limited marketing, level and national focus of the programme, and management and administration issues. These findings suggest that it is possible to deliver a regional collaboration staff development programme through open and distance methods but that the issues raised in this study need to be addressed to make such programmes sustainable, effective and financially viable. en
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dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Open and distance learning en
dc.subject staff development en
dc.subject collaboration en
dc.subject illuminative evaluation en
dc.subject McAnany's evaluation criteria en
dc.subject policy and implementation en
dc.title Open and distance learning staff development : an impact evaluation of a southern African collaborative programme. en
dc.type Thesis en


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