Teaching and learning is assumed to be the core business of a distance education institution and requires a team design process that brings together curriculum, assessment and learner support decision-making in an integrated way. Learner support is then seen to include efforts made to address academic, social/personal and informational counselling and support needs of learners, as groups and as individuals, for the entire learning journey from marketing and pre-registration, through teaching and assessment, to graduation and the student’s continuing role as an alumnus. Learner support strategies seek to enhance learner-learner, learner-staff, learner-institution, learner-community and learner-curriculum interaction and active engagement and to promote increasing levels of learning autonomy in a structured way. This links primarily to Nadeosa Quality Criterion 7: Learner support.
Examples of our work in learner support
- Saide has adapted our original tutor guide entitled Supporting Distance Learners: A Tutor's Guide into a set of course materials intended for tutors in blended learning or fully online programmes. The materials are available on SAIDE's OER Africa website.
- We are currently supporting Unisa in the reconceptualisation of learner support at their institution.
- We have run a number of workshops around tutoring in distance education, namely for the University of Pretoria, Wits University, and a conceptual document on student support required for the National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE).
- One of our earliest research outputs on the topic was Learner Support: A South African Programme Perspective published in 1998.
In 2010 Saide held a workshop for representatives from Namcol and Bocodol on providing online tutor support. We repeated this workshop for the University of Swaziland at the end of 2011.