Communication strategies in open and distance learning Institutions:A case study of the Zambian College of Open Learning (ZAMCOL) in Solwezi.
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This report was a study of the communication strategies at the Zambian College of Open Learning (ZAMCOL) in Solwezi. The institution offers Diploma in Secondary School, Teacher Education by open and distance learning (ODL) mode, it is both an in-service and out of service program aimed at upgrading academic and professional qualifications of teachers in Zambia. The study sought to understand the communication strategies and the challenges it poses between the Institution and the enrolled and prospective students and others. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, self-administered questionnaire survey, and personal observations by the researcher. The findings were that it is not yet clear to tell whether information flow to and from the intended beneficiaries of ZAMCOL’s learning process by ODL, is insufficient or it is only delayed. A lot still remains to be done in terms of communications research and getting feedback from the learners on the study material.The paper recommends the use of radio or television which will by accessed by the student’s self-driven neighbourhood study groups. It also explored the use of alternative instructional technologies, and institute regular student and study centre visits and evaluations.