Factors Influencing Learners’ Enrolment in Distance Learning Programmes in Kenya: a Case of University of Nairobi
The increased demand and need for continuous learning have led to the introduction of Open, Distance, and e-Learning (ODeL) programmes in Kenya owing to their flexibility and convenience and the fact that conventional institutions cannot cope with ever increasing demand of higher education. The focus of this study was to investigate factors influencing learners‘ enrolment into Distance learning programmes in Kenya: the case of ODeL campus, University Of Nairobi with reference to Diploma in Adult Education and Community Development programme. The study was guided by the following objectives: To assess the influence of learners‘ characteristics on enrolment of learners in Distance learning programmes in Nairobi University. To assess the influence of Instructional materials on enrolment of learners into Distance Learning programmes in Nairobi University. To assess the extent to which economic factors influence enrolment into Distance learning programmes. To determine the extent to which technology influence learners enrolment into Distance learning programmes. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The population of this study was learners who had enrolled into Diploma in Adult Education and Community Development programme. The researcher used snow ball technique to select learners enrolled in the programme as well as the graduates of the course. The study mainly utilized one questionnaire for the learners and graduates. A pilot study was conducted with respondents with similar characteristics in all respect to the target population. Each item of the completed questionnaire was discussed with those involved in the pilot study. The researcher also applied content validity to improve the validity of the questionnaires where experts‘ opinions was sought. Split half method was used to determine reliability of the questionnaires. Data was collected by the researcher. Data was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Quantitatively, the data was analyzed using descriptive statistics aided by Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) computer application and Microsoft Excel. Quantitative data was presented by use of tables, percentages, mean, mode and frequencies. Qualitative data was analyzed by establishing the categories and themes, relationships/ patterns and conclusions. The study findings revealed that most distant learners are adults employed and with family commitments. Instructional materials mostly used are the modules with little use of online materials. Loan facilities from Higher Education Loans Board were not available to distant learners forcing them to result to their SACCOS and banks for loans to enable them finance their education. University of Nairobi has not fully embraced use of technology in delivery of distance learning programmes resulting to use of print media as the main mode of delivery. The study recommends on improvement of learner support services to cater for the different learner characteristics. There is need to diversify Instructional materials to cater for different needs and situations of the distant learners. The Government should consider financing distant learners through loans from HELB to ease the fees burden and finally there is need to integrate technology in delivery of distant learning programmes.
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