An Analytical Study of Web Support in Distance Education Programmes
Providing effective learner support services (LSS) is essential for the successful completion of any distance education programme. The open and distance learning (ODL) institutions are testing web technology to provide LSS. This study examined the degree of use and usefulness of web technology for providing LSS in one of the distance learning programmes offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). It was observed that learners used different types and levels of web based LSS components. Most components used by the learners were online admission facility, pre-admission support, online study material, supplementary study material and post programme support. About 54 per cent of the learners indicated that online admission facility was very useful and 67 per cent learners said that this service was delivered very effectively. Most of the learners felt that web based LSS was useful in the successful completion of the programme of study. The majority of the learners had smart phones and laptops and they were comfortable in using these digital devices for LSS provided by the University. The learners were ready to pay a little higher fee if the University provided a well organised web based LSS. The results of the Poisson regression analysis revealed that the probability of using various components of web based LSS depends on factors like age, number of digital devices, qualification and work experience of the learners. The study also identified various constraints faced by the learners and their suggestions to remove the constraints. Inferences drawn from the study should be useful in designing web based learner support services at distance learning institutions.