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Access Strategy for Blended E-learning: An AIOU Case Study

Keywords: Online Learning , Blended Learning

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Abstract:

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is growing in Distance Education Institutions (DEI). ICT has contributed to effective learning for rural/urban, male/female, ethnic, and remote student groups. In Pakistan, tertiary education is generally restricted to those who can afford it in urban areas. In addition, recent accessibility studies in Pakistan have identified that most students do have access to a range of ICT devices, but with limited Internet access due to problems related to the national ICT infrastructure. An ICT equipped DEI can, however, deliver tertiary education with high levels of interaction to females and underprivileged ethnic groups living in rural and remote areas. Therefore, DEIs need to uncover suitable education delivery models. Blended learning models with multiple access methods for content development and presentation, teacher student interaction, and e-assessment are needed. Blended e-learning is relatively cost effective, and can provide quality education to distant students.Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) initiated e-learning in Pakistan about a decade ago, and the program has been continuously evaluated. Owing to its success and cost effectiveness, AIOU planned a major organizational change to incorporate ICT-based blended learning. In the present paper, these ICT-based access models for blended learning are described with multiple accessibility options to provide content delivery over TV, radio, Internet, and video conference-based communications. Progress to date is also highlighted.

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