Practices and Problems of Technological Interventions in Distance Learning in Colleges/Universities of Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


The principal aim in undertaking this research was to assess the current practices and problems of technological interventions in distance learning in colleges and universities of Addis Ababa and thereby forward possible suggestions for the improvement and better use of technologies in the universities/ colleges. The areas of concern believed to be relevant to meet the purpose of the study were: generations of technology, factors considered in selecting technologies, the use of technology in learner support system, integrating technologies with instructional design elements, problems encountered in the use of technologies, government initiatives in supporting the effort of the universities/ colleges in promoting the use of technologies, and attitudes of learners and the academic staff towards technology in general and application of technology in the distance learning system in particular. . To this end, a descriptive survey method was employed for the study. The sample colleges/universities were Unity University, Alpha University College, Saint Mary's University College and Ethiopian Civil Service College from Addis Ababa. Regional centers included in the study were from Bahir Dar, Adama and Hawassa. The subjects of the study included 4 deans, 4 assistant deans, 16 regional coordinators, 18 experts and 35 tutors from the academic staff and 37 students from Adama, 40 students from Bahir Dar and 46 students from Hawassa. Hence, 77 academic staff and 123 students were included in the study. In order to select the colleges/universities and the regional centers, simple random sampling and stratified sampling techniques were employed. The respondents were included in the study using purposive, quota and systematic sampling techniques. Questionnaire, semi-structured interview guide and document analysis were used as instruments of data collection. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze and interpret the information found from the respondents using the questionnaire. Major statistical tools applied in the study were the mean values, ttest, percentages, the chi-square, correlation and one way ANOVA. Conclusions were drawn and recommendations were forwarded from the findings of the study. Findings depicted that the colleges/ universities were only in the first generation of technology application backed by only a little support from the second generation to which a thorough analysis as to which technologies could be used was suggested. Only a few factors were found to be considered in selecting technologies. It was recommended that the universities/ colleges form an interdisciplinary team to study factors before using a technology. It was also revealed that the technologies were only integrated with the objectives and content of the instructional design elements and not with the others. Collaboration efforts from IT specialists, instructional design experts, training professionals, tutors and students in the design was suggested to be applied. It was found that learner support system which was (wt supported by technologies existed. It was recommended that the colleges/universities first check on the access of the learners for the technologies and then invest. Government did not take significant initiative in supporting the DL institutions in their effort to promote technology assisted programs. It was suggested that the government reviews policies, funds technology mediated programs, promotes teacher trainings that use technologies and invest on infrastructures. It was found that there were many problems encountered and that the attitude of learners towards technology in general and applying it to DL in particular was negative and that of the academic staff was positive. To alleviate the problems it was suggested that the colleges/universities allocate budget for technology related projects, hire technology professionals from either with in the country or expatriates and arrange continuous awareness programs for learners to shift their attitudes and the government promotes application oj technology in lower level study.



Problems of Technological Interventions