Competency Development for assuring Quality in Open and Distance Learning in Nigeria
A major characteristic of the 21st century knowledge economy is an increasing demand for global standards and best practices. Within the education industry, and specifically in developing countries like Nigeria, the demand is more deeply felt as practitioners grapple with the growing demands for higher education on one hand, and with the demand from consumers of the products and services for improved quality on the other hand. While assuring quality is applicable to all educational delivery systems, Open and Distance Learning (ODL) differs quite substantially from conventional education systems in several ways, and one of which is the core competency requirements for academic staff. The success and sustainability of ODL systems is dependent on the availability of a critical mass of experts in the field. In Nigeria, the goal to achieve adequate levels of competency in ODL is yet to be realised. This study has two aims: One, it seeks to identify core competencies in key pedagogical thematic areas of the ODL system; and second, it seeks to use the findings to determine competency gaps of academic staff in an ODL system, the National Open University of Nigeria. The pedagogical areas are course material development, tutorial facilitation; assessment and evaluation; and research and evaluation. It is expected that this study will contribute to informing the design of training programmes that will bridge competency gaps and develop competencies to achieve sustainable good practices in ODL.
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