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Volume 37, Issue 2, 2015
Author E.M. CronjeSource: Progressio 37, pp 1 –20 (2015)More Less
The aim of this study was to find out how students are influenced by the practical work ('volunteering') they do as part of a course in psychology at Unisa. Psychological and educational theories that can be related to volunteering are discussed briefly. Qualitative research was done by analysing students' feedback on their voluntary work. Students reported mostly on the positive effects of volunteering, which is consistent with existing research. The most prominent of the positive psychological effects is that of self-awareness. A further very important effect is increased open-mindedness with regard to people of other cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Other positive effects found are career awareness, a sense of achievement, and the opportunity to put theory into practice. It is concluded that students at an open distance learning university benefit from doing practical work related to their field of study, and they also contribute to communities' development nationally and worldwide. 'Volunteering' (implemented more than 10 years ago) is compared to newer concepts such as 'work-integrated learning', 'experiential learning' and 'service-learning', and it is recommended that future planning for this course should attempt to bring volunteering more into line with these new concepts. A further recommendation is that more intensive research be done on the effects of volunteering on the transactional distance between students and university.
Author J.L. Van der WaltSource: Progressio 37, pp 11 –124 (2015)More Less
Most practitioners in the field of flexible learning seem to be sufficiently aware of the importance of catering to the needs of their students. However, it appears that many are rather more conscious of the needs of the students as a group than as individuals per say. Others seem to be rather more concerned about the technology involved. After touching on the foundationalist and non-, post- or anti-foundationalist approaches to the problem of individualisation in flexible learning, the article discusses a number of guidelines for individualisation from a post-postfoundationalist perspective. This is followed by a section in which these guidelines are presented in practical terms. This outline of guidelines reveals that attempting to individualise from this perspective is no simple and straightforward matter, but that there might be practitioners in the field of flexible learning (open distance learning and blended learning) who already are following this approach as a best practice. A post-post-foundationalist approach to individualisation in flexible learning offers practitioners in the field a whole new vocabulary.
Author C. Du Toit-BritsSource: Progressio 37, pp 21 –32 (2015)More Less
Discussions of dialogue have been at the heart of Distance Learning (well known in the theories of Borge, Holmberg and Moore). This theoretical article focuses on formulating criteria for evaluating the social capital of a particular Distance Learning community, at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus (NWU), and attempts to put forward specific thoughts regarding the importance of dialogue as a key pedagogical method within the Distance Learning setting at NWU through which social capital is being shaped. A number of educationalists recently reexamined the position that dialogue occupies in the Distance Learning setting. Distance Learning is to facilitate through a distance; these students and lecturers are divided physically in occasion and space. Consequently, Distance Learning students and lecturers lack the communal physical attendance that is imperative for communication. In Distance Learning, many communication pathways are imprecise. This article specifically deals with the essentially dialogic nature of the educational dialogue in Distance Learning, and the need to establish criteria for evaluating the social capital of a particular Distance Learning community.
Source: Progressio 37, pp 33 –63 (2015)More Less
Talent retention and employee turnover are major concerns for higher education institutions (HEIs) because they are losing highly qualified staff to the private sector and to other HEIs that are able to offer better rewards and benefits. The turnover of talented staff is therefore a major concern for the institution under investigation. There tention and voluntary turnover decisions among a workforce of 4 651 employees was thus investigated. A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted by means of the objective analysis of organisational data in combination with the structured questionnaire (organisational climate survey). Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to analyse the data across demographic groups, including age, employment category (academic as well as professional and support), etc.The results indicated that the institution's turnover rate was acceptable (4.34%) and that dysfunctional turnover was marginal because employees with below standard performance ratings had voluntarily resigned. Positive correlations and significant beta (b) values were reported between Organisational citizenship, Leadership, My manager and Compensation and the employees' intent to stay in or to leave the organisation. These organisational climate factors were found to explain approximately 30 per cent of the variance in the employees' intent to stay in or to leave the organisation. The article recommends that a talent retention tool be developed. In addition, it contributes to the literature on retention and turnover of high-performing employees, as it underscores the importance of measuring employee turnover.
Author F.J. PotgieterSource: Progressio 37, pp 64 –78 (2015)More Less
This article suggests attention to the paideia of the soul as an educative corrective for preparing open distance learning students for living in the current technology dependent world. This world is under-girded by a technology-rich knowledge society that privileges new informational epistemologies. In an attempt to suggest a spirituality of open distance learning that is based on the paideia (full-blown completeness) of the soul, use is made of the integrated interpretations of three relevant viewpoints. It is shown that spirituality in open distance learning is neither religion nor ethics; that it is essentially about the meaning in and of life, meaning-making and meaning-decoding, self-transcendence (especially as meaning-making), connection, engagement and a re-interrogation of all the major existentialist questions. It is a journey towards wholeness and compassion (as knowledge of love) of every student teacher.
Rich environments for active open distance learning : looks good in theory but is it really what learners want?Source: Progressio 37, pp 79 –100 (2015)More Less
In the open distance learning environment, efforts are made to engage students and provide rich environments for active learning (REALs). This article describes exploratory research undertaken on a fourth-year Tourism Management module. The research investigated two different study guides for different years - 2012students using an innovative guide with learner engagement tools designed in line with current learning theory, to achieve a REAL; and 2011 learners using a traditional study guide with far fewer engagement tools. The two consecutive cohorts completed a quantitative survey designed from theory on learner engagement, motivation and interactivity. The survey investigated learners' experiences of the implementation of four constructs, namely course design; engagement; learning activities; and the integrated construct of relevance, application, bonding and ownership. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, non-parametric correlations and cross-tabulations. Results suggest that this REAL does aid learning but not to the extent anticipated, and that it may be too rich. In light of the greater debate regarding the design of ODL material to maximise learning, recommendations are made to discerningly regulate the richness and depth of learning material, avoid overload of isolated learners, and gradually introduce REALs.
Source: Progressio 37, pp 125 –138 (2015)More Less
A serious problem in South Africa is the existence of 2.8 million people we can refer to as NEETs. This term refers to youths between the ages of 18 and 24 years who are neither in employment nor in education or training in South Africa (Cloete and Butler-Adams 2012). This article argues for the institution of community colleges to fill the niche between colleges for further education and training and universities. This niche represents a model of higher education that has already internationally proven its value for steering NEETs into worthwhile careers. After a conceptual clarification of the term 'Community College' and an overview of its track record, it is argued that the South African context dictates for the model to be adapted in two ways. Firstly: a South African community college should fully utilise ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and offer education of a blended type. Secondly, as a result of this, the concept of 'community' needs to be redefined more broadly than has traditionally been the case with community colleges abroad.