Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 7(2), pp. 400 - 412
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2019.070213
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Widely Acclaimed but Lowly Utilized: Congruencing ODL Utilization with its Wide Acclaim

Paul Birevu Muyinda 1,*, Godfrey Mayende 1, Gilbert Maiga 2, Benedict Oyo 3
1 College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University, Uganda
2 College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda
3 Department of Computer Science, Gulu University, Uganda


World over, open distance learning (ODL) is widely articulated and vouchered as a panacea pedagogy for increased access and flexibility to higher education. In reality, however, the actual use of ODL approaches in higher institutions of learning in developing regions is unexpectedly low and not in tandem with its wide favorable regional and international vouchering. This paper has the goal to suggest a framework for congruencing the low utilization levels of ODL approaches with their wide acclaim. Using a cross sectional survey, an inquiry was conducted among faculty across institutions of higher learning in Uganda to establish: i) the factors explaining the wide acclaim for ODL; ii) the utilization level of ODL; iii) the factors that explain the present utilization levels of ODL; and iv) a framework for congruencing low ODL utilization with the hype surrounding it. The study revealed that being an ICT-driven pedagogy, ODL has the potential to transform higher education since ICTs are transforming other sectors. Further, the majority of institutions have put in place policies to spur ODL, but even then, ODL utilization has largely remained voluntary, implying lack of policy enforcement. This has left about 50% of the faculty with no presence whatsoever on their universities' LMSs. Low utilization was explained by factors personal or institutional in nature. Personal factors related to lack of will by faculty to get out of their perceived comfort zones and limited ODL pedagogy capacity. Institutional factors related to limited connectivity and access to ICT systems. Others were defective LMSs and lack of ODL pedagogy support. Institutions wishing to spur ODL utilization must first address people issues (soft dimensions) as they address the technological issues (hard dimensions). This way the hype will match the reality.

Blended Learning, Distance Learning, e- Learning, ODeL, ODL, Open Learning, Online Learning

Cite this paper
Paul Birevu Muyinda , Godfrey Mayende , Gilbert Maiga , Benedict Oyo . "Widely Acclaimed but Lowly Utilized: Congruencing ODL Utilization with its Wide Acclaim." Universal Journal of Educational Research 7.2 (2019) 400 - 412. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2019.070213.