Farmers’ Media Preferences for Designing Agri-Based Distance Learning Courses for Hill Region of Uttarakhand
In pursuit of assessing farmers’ media preferences for designing agri-based distance learning courses for the hill region of Uttarakhand, the objectives of this study were twofold: (i) to study the personal, socio-economic and communication characteristics of farmers, and (ii) to find out preferences of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agri-based distance learning courses. Data was collected from 120 vegetable growing farmers from four hill districts of Uttarakhand state using the census method. The results indicated that a majority of the vegetable growers were found to be of middle age group, married, had middle level of experience, marginal farmers, belonged to the general caste, and were involved in social and political institutions and had medium level of socio economic status. A majority of the farmers possessed television, radio, mobile phones and video cassette players. They preferred text and VCDs for getting information on agriculture in a distance learning setting. Amongst various blends of ICTs, combination of printed material and video CDs ranked first. Most of
the respondents preferred demonstration and discussion format for educational programme on TV and VCDs; whereas, all the respondents preferred self-explanatory and auto-instructional text material with diagrams. The related implications of media preferences for designing agri-based distance learning courses are also discussed in the paper.