Title

Exploring the role of open distance learning in improving teachers professional development

Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Samuel Andema

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Ms. Mary Anyango Oluga

Department

Institute for Educational Development, East Africa

Abstract

This study examined the role of open distance learning (ODL) on professional development (PD) of public primary school teachers in Kisumu West Sub County, Kenya. Specific objectives were to assess the contribution of ODL on acquisition of in-depth subject content knowledge, the contribution of ODL on acquisition of pedagogical skills, and the contribution of ODL on the acquisition of leadership skills of student teachers. Jean Piaget’s (1970) theory of learning was used to guide the study. The study adopted a qualitative case study design on a sampled population of 20 ODL programme student teachers and alumni who were instructing class eight pupils by end of 2017 in the sub county. The study participants, which included 20 ODL teachers and three lecturers who had been guiding the programme in the selected university campus were selected through purposive sampling. Open-ended questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussion, document analysis, and lesson observations were used to collect data. Instrument validity was checked by experts from Aga Khan University. Triangulation and pilot testing were used to check instrument reliability. Findings revealed that ODL programme widens the knowledge scope of the student teachers, and prepares them for direct applicability of learnt skills through interactions between lecturers and other students. It was also revealed that the programmes equip graduates with varied and rich teaching methods and leadership skills, which they apply depending on the prevailing learner situation. It is concluded that ODL programme improves teachers’ professional development. However, this is determined by how ODL as an INSET programme is planned and carried out. The study recommended that in-depth subject content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and leadership skills should be continuously inculcated in teachers to enhance pupil performance. Further research should be done on the influence of ODL programme teacher educators on teachers’ PD.

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