Factors influencing the choice of technology for development of instructional materials for distance education: a case of the School Of Continuing And Distance Education, University of Nairobi
Scientific and technological advances lead to fundamental changes in social and economic life in the one hand, and also in the concepts and approaches acquired in the process of education on the other hand. One of those concepts and approaches is distance education. Kenya has a long history of distance education and it’s clearer in East Africa. Since Independence, a number of commissions and reports have highlighted Open Distance Learning (ODL), as an alternative mode of educational provision. The purpose of this study was to explore factors that influence the choice of technology for the development of instructional materials for distance education at the School of Continuing and Distance Education. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design as it aimed at exploring factors. The target population for this study included distance learners, course administrators and course tutors at the University of Nairobi. Data collected was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Qualitative data was analyzed by organizing it into categories on the basis of the themes, concepts or similar features. Quantitative data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences SPSS. The computed data was then analyzed using descriptive statistics. The statistics that was calculated included frequencies, means and percentages. Interpretation of the data was then done within the frame of reference of the research problem. Regarding the technological based factors, the findings revealed that the following technologies were being used at a Very great extent: (Print Mean=4.53; SD=0.9874) and Email (Mean= 4.55; SD=0.9665). The technologies that were found to be used at a very little extent included: Voice-mail (Mean=2.38; SD=0.9978), Audio files/CD (Mean=2.36; SD=0.9780), Audio conference (Mean=2.36; SD=0.9780), Satellite Video conference(Mean=2.42; SD=0.9456), Telephone tutoring (Mean=2.34; SD=0.9452). On institutional Related Factors influencing the adoption of technologies for distance learning, the findings revealed that the development of appropriate technologies for distance learning is part of the college strategic planning; the staff in the department have adequate skills on modern distance learning technologies (Mean=4.57; SD=0.9874); the university has facilitated the acquisition of modern distance education technologies (Mean=4.52; SD=0.9686); the staff in the department have adequate skills on modern distance learning technologies, the university has programmes for training tutors to use of newer technologies for distance learning (Mean=4.50; SD=0.9963), and that the university has hired adequate technical personnel to support the use of emerging technologies for distance learning (Mean=4.52; SD=0.9796). On learner related factors, the findings revealed that the learners strongly agreed that development of appropriate technologies for distance learning is part of the college strategic planning (M=4.58; SD=0.9976), the department has adequate financial resources for adoption of appropriate technologies for distance learning (M=4.60; SD=0.9876), and that the organizational structure of the University allows for the development of the distance education mode (M=4.65; SD=0.9963). The course tutors however disagreed that the department has adequate staff to spearhead the adoption and use of appropriate technologies for distance learning (M=2.33; SD=0.9979), Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that the university should enlighten the staff involved with distance learning on the importance of reliability and the criticality of the distance learning equipment, its integration into the programmes offered, and its maintenance. It was concluded that learning through experience influences the creation of new values which become attitudes that have a strong impact on the adoption of learning technology.