n South African Journal of Higher Education - Print based learning might still be the answer to the digital divide

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



There seems to be a belief world wide, that by going online and including learning technologies in learning packages learner success and economies of scale will be ensured in open and distance learning (ODL). Recent literature suggests that ODL and online delivery are regarded as synonymous. While the introduction of technology in the delivery of ODL materials can be extremely useful, in most developing countries access to these technologies is either very expensive or non-existent. For this reason it seems as if the vision of distance education as a means to provide education to those who have been denied it is being undermined by the overriding enthusiasm with technology. The perception seems to be that if a student is computer literate he or she will be able access the world of information that the Internet and other electronic media can deliver and thus become educated. From an institutional point of view, there seems to be a perception that the high cost of distance education delivery will be drastically minimised once courses are delivered online. Unfortunately the costs of online delivery and the use of various media is often underestimated. Examples of this are the many failed e-earning initiatives that can be found on the Internet,

Essential to any ODL course, is for the designers and writers to find more innovative but authentic ways of implementing ODL instructional design good practice, no matter what method of is delivery chosen. The focus must be on providing students with the best learning experiences that the chosen medium and the relevant learning environments can offer.

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