Opening Doors for Learners: Barriers and Challenges at the Open University of Sri Lanka
Consultant, OUSL-CE Project, Simon Fraser University, CA
Dr. C. Hill is an instructor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her research interests include online and distance education, and gender and education. She could be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research was conducted in order to identify psychological, personal, and institutional barriers that may hinder academic achievement and lead to non-completion at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL). Methods included exploratory interviews with 67 learners and staff, and the development and implementation of the Learner Support Questionnaire, which was administered to 227 learners. Findings indicate that many OUSL learners have an inadequate understanding of Open and Distance Learning, a limited repertoire of study strategies, insufficient metacognitive skills, and are overly dependent on teacher-centred pedagogies. Learners, particularly less experienced learners, may overestimate their academic abilities. Other barriers to success including personal and institutional factors are discussed.