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Open and Distance Learning Transformed: Possible Adaptations to Suit Special Contexts

Authors:

GIC Gunawardena ,

Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About GIC

Professor G.I.C. Gunewardena is the CoL and UNESCO Chair of the Open University of Sri Lanka. She is an Emeritus Professor, an eminent researcher and a scholar in the field of Education. She had worked as a Course Design Specialist in the Distance Education Modernization Project (DEPP) for a number of years and was the former Dean of Faculty of Education, OUSL. Her interests lie in the areas of Sociology in Education, Comparative Education, Distance Education and Teacher Education.

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GD Lekamge

Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About GD

Professor G.D. Lekamge currently serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Open University of Sri Lanka. She is working as the Editor of the OUSL Journal. She has completed a number of research studies on quality improvement of Faculty Programmes and national level issues under World Bank funds. Her interests include Distance Education, Teacher Education, Educational Psychology and Research Methodology.

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Abstract

With the  integration and advancement of new technology, Distance and Open Learning has taken different forms. It has gradually become more general, less non-traditional and sometimes a main trend in several countries.  This article discusses the  concept of Open and Distance Learning and focuses on the  strengths and weaknesses of different models of ODL, especially for countries like Sri Lanka.  The Correspondence Model based on print  technology mostly has  now evolved into  the  Intelligent Flexible Learning Model which aims to capitalize on the  fastness of the Internet and the  Web.   While  the  Fifth  Generation of ODL offers a large number of advantages, several constraints such as marginalization of certain groups of learners who were not  raised with digital technologies, the credibility of data and information downloaded from the  Internet, speed of the  Internet, the  time  taken to download and upload materials and the  time  taken by the  instructors to respond to students have been identified.  While  technology is an effective strategy to overcome barriers to education, its use could also impose other barriers. The authors stress that any technology which does not facilitate those who are really disadvantaged and bequeaths advantages only  to those who already have access to formal education should be  weighed carefully for its costs and benefits.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v6i0.4112

OUSL Journal (2010) Vol. 6, (pp. 22- 43)

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v6i0.4112
How to Cite: Gunawardena, G. & Lekamge, G., (2010). Open and Distance Learning Transformed: Possible Adaptations to Suit Special Contexts. OUSL Journal. 6, pp.22–43. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v6i0.4112
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Published on 25 Feb 2010.
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