BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The world over, open and distance method of education is gaining a momentum and becoming more popular than conventional education especially in Nigeria. Open and open and distance learning is an excellent method of reaching the adult learner. Because of the competing priorities of work, home, and school, adult learners desire a high degree of flexibility. The structure of open and open and distance learning gives adults the greatest possible control over the time, place and pace of education; however, it is not without problems. Loss of student motivation due to the lack of face-to-face contact with teachers and peers, potentially prohibitive startup costs, and lack of faculty support are all hurdles to successful open and open and distance learning. Open and distance education is much more flexible and student centered in approach. By allowing students to learn in more convenient locations, and often at more convenient times, open and distance education opens educational opportunity to previously un-reached learners. It also enables students to extend the period of their education from a limited number of schooling years to a lifelong learning process. It changes power and authority relationships between teachers and students and often encourages more equal and open communication than occurs in traditional educational settings. Despite excessive efforts at large, the concept of open and open and open and distance learning has yet to reach its height. Open and open and distance education is a vast term. It has been conceptualized by various educationists in different manners. On the bases of their experiences people define open and distance education differently. This is nothing unusual if you recall the story of the six blind men who went to view an elephant. One blind man got hold of the tail, and went home convinced that an elephant was like a rope. The other one got hold of the tusk, and exclaimed that the elephant was just like a spear. Upon touching the flank, the third blind man concluded that an elephant was like a wall. The remaining three made their own conclusions, depending on the part they happened to touch. When they all got back home, there arose such a disagreement that each man was left confirmed in his ignorance. So, what is this elephant called Open and distance Education? We are fortunate that we are not blind. We are also fortunate that this elephant has been researched into, therefore, there are ideas we can draw upon in the attempt to arrive at a better understanding.
The open and distance mode of education play an important role in meeting the need of such persons who are in great demand of education but can’t complete their education from the formal or regular system of education. They may be- In service persons due to certain reasons could not complete their educational qualifications without disturbing their jobs, inferior from of socio-economic conditions but wants to enhance their education status, such persons who want to learn and earn simultaneously, such persons who are residing far away from the big cities or in remote areas and do not have colleges and universities for higher education, overflow from colleges/universities due to fix number of seats or merit, dropouts due to some personal reasons, now again motivated to study, such persons who always want to add something new in their knowledge or update their knowledge or something training, such women who are housewife but do have their for knowledge, some very active retired persons who still want to know about their changing environment and such students who cannot fulfill the basic qualification for entrance of the university.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
Open and Distance Learning as an educational method and a philosophical construct has been identified as the most potent instrument for combating the educational problems overwhelming notion like Ethiopia (Marew, 2002). Despite the splendid role and increased popularity of the open and distance learning, the quality of higher education via distance education has been called to question (Helland, 2002). Different people perceive the advantages of DL differently and their perceptions have influenced attitudes towards the acceptance and use of DL in the system in our country and elsewhere. Out of the various problems facing distance education today, a very important one is how it is perceived by the individuals involved in it (Arnould, Price & Zinkhan, 2002). Equally important as Gagne and Shephered, (2001), assessing problems on accurate perception of the sector by beneficiaries and/or stakeholders is a crucial factor. This is because the success of the open and distance education system could be affected by how it‟s viewed by the individuals involved in it. Secondly, the tutors and other stakeholders‟ perceptions have an enormous effect on the successful implementation of the system. It is clearly indicated that, the term „perception‟ refers to the idea, a belief or an image one has as a result of how she or he sees or understands something (Arnould, Price & Zinkhan, 2002). Perception is the way people sense and interpret the world around them. Moreover, Arnould, et al. (2002) explained that perceptions are results from acquisition, consumption and disposal of goods. While Kolesar & Galbraith (2000) suggested that perceptions are a consumer‟s opinions and attitudes towards any products after purchasing them.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the problems of teaching practical courses in open and distance education. Other specific objectives of the study include;
HO1: There are no factors affecting the teaching of practical courses in open and distance education in Nigeria.
HO2: There is no significant relationship between the challenges and the growth in the teaching of practical courses in open and distance education in Nigeria.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance towards the development of open and distance education in Nigeria as it would highlight the factors inhibiting the teaching of practical courses in open and distance education programs in Nigeria with the sole aim of ensuring effective growth and development of open and distance education in Nigeria. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing a further study on the subject matter.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is on the problems of teaching practical courses in open and distance education in Nigeria, using selected distant learning centers in Lagos state as the case study.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Student: a person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education
Learning Environment: refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. Since students may learn in a wide variety of settings, such as outside-of-school locations and outdoor environments, the term is often used as a more accurate or preferred alternative to classroom, which has more limited and traditional connotations—a room with rows of desks and a chalkboard, for example.
Satisfaction: fulfillment of one's wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.
Distance: make (someone or something) far off or remote in position or nature.
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