A study of adult students' perceptions of the traditional distance education programs and the option of a blended learning model in sub-Saharan Africa
George C. Panga, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
A discernible difference, attributed to the digital divide, is evident between the adoption and implementation of distance education technologies in institutions of higher learning in low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in high-income countries in America and Europe. A review of the literature revealed a rural-urban digital divide within sub-Saharan African countries. Rural adult students' access to computers, the Internet, electricity and telephone lines, prerequisites for technology enhanced learning, is severely limited. This study aimed to elucidate the subject university's adult students' perspectives on: the predominance, viability and competitiveness of traditional distance educational programs; their readiness for e-learning; and the idea of moving from traditional print-based delivery to a blended learning approach. This study used a sequential mixed methods research design to collect and analyze data. A survey instrument, the Distance Education Learning Environments Survey (DELES), was administered to 1,200 adult students. Qualitative data were collected from in-depth interviews with 20 participants. The study established that adult students from rural areas preferred, out of necessity, the print medium as the method of instructional delivery while urban students, with the necessary Internet facilities, favored online learning. The study revealed that the subject university was ill-prepared to provide students with basic computer literacy, raising doubts about its ability to implement e-learning. The study indicated that most adult students had positive attitudes towards adopting a blended learning approach because it had the capacity to transform instructional delivery and to sustain equal education opportunities across socioeconomic strata and the digital divide.
Panga, G.C. A study of adult students' perceptions of the traditional distance education programs and the option of a blended learning model in sub-Saharan Africa. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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