Construction and evaluation of the effectiveness of a needs-based learner support system: The case of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Muchiri, Patricia W
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The purpose of this study was to construct and evaluate a needs-based learner support system. The study sought to fulfill the following objectives: to analyse the expressed learner support needs of distance learners in the School of Continuing and Distance Education in the University of Nairobi based on gender, location, year of study I study environment and course of study; to construct a prototype learn support system based on the expressed learner support needs; a OJ evaluate the effectiveness of the learner support system in the delivery in learner support services to distance learners in the University of Nairobi. The study comprised Phase One and Phase Two. The Research Design of Phase 0 the study was survey. The survey involved analysis of expressed learner support needs of distance learners in the School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Nairobi in order to generate' a prioritized list of learner support needs. Data analysis techniques consisted of non-parartietric statistics to test hypotheses for significant differences. The findings in Phase One of the study indicated significant differences in expressed learner support needs of distance learners at the University of Nairobi based on gender, year of study, location, study environment and course of study. The research design for Phase Two of the study was experimental (randomized Pre-test- post-test control group design) whereby the learner support needs generated in Phase One of the study were used to construct a prototype online learner support system which was experimented in the field. Research instruments used for data collection were questionnaires. Data were analysed using Mann-Whitney U test, to test for significant differences between the experimental and control group. Significant differences were observed between the experimental and control group in student learning self efficacv, student motivation and student satisfaction. Evaluation of the learner support system indicated that the system had good information quality and system usage characteristics. The respondents were satisfied with the learner support system. The study recommended that the University of Nairobi adopts the learner support system in order to enhance learner support for her distance learners; that the University of Nairobi should endeavour to provide time - and location independent access to a complete array of learner support services to distance learners; that learner support services for distance learners be tailored and be responsive to the needs of the learners and that many student services should be completely reconceived to serve distance learners effectively.