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ERIC Number: EJ1106086
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2311-1550
Innovations in Learning and Development: A Case from the Arab World
Al-Khatib, Hyat
Journal of Learning for Development, v1 n1 2014
The twenty-first century is witnessing innovative practices in the advancement of learning in the developed world as a consequence of the technological revolution of the period and the increased demand for higher education (Bax, 2011; Barab, King and Gray, 2004; Roman, 2001). Education is perceived as the cornerstone for development, sustainability and modernisation (Fitzpatrick and Davies, 2003). The boom in open, distance and e-learning has changed the quality of life for many people, since it offered additional venues to higher education to overcome problems of exclusivity and scarcity, especially at times of shrinking public funding (Dhanarajan, 2011). The founding of the Open University in Britain in 1969 targeted an almost unlimited audience with innovative teaching and learning modes. Since it was founded, more than 1.5 million students have taken OU courses. The Open University was rated "top university in England and Wales" for student satisfaction in 2005, 2006, and 2012. The developing world sought to replicate the success afforded through innovative learning practices. The Arab region engaged in extensive reformation to allow for new systems of learning that would provide for accessible and diversified opportunities to learners at an acceptable cost. However, concerns were voiced along the axis of equality and social justice (Wilson, Liber, Johnson, Beauvoir, Sharples and Milligan, 2007; Dudeney, 2007). Innovative learning modes have been associated with polarizing the developed and developing countries, the promotion of western thought, and the furthering of socioeconomic substrating. Debates have emerged on the pedagogic fit of the newly promoted approaches for the region, allegations of social isolation, dropout rates, faculty strain, and urban concentration, in addition to a number of scholastic uncertainties. A survey was conducted on a random sample of learners studying through an innovative hybrid mode of learning to explore participants' perception of the new system. Two thousand and five hundred students took the survey from all faculties at the Arab Open University in Lebanon. The survey was conducted for the periods of Fall and Spring, 2012-2013. It ensured anonymity of participants for validity of results. The findings are as follows: (1) innovative learning systems have had an impact on the societies in the developing world; (2) open learning has been a means for gaining academic qualifications and has provided a solution for mass education in the region; and (3) it specifically helped develop learners from working backgrounds, underprivileged groups, and females. Efforts need to focus on: (1) enhancing awareness campaigns on open education in the developing world; (2) customizing material to suit the developmental needs of learners in the region as well as their cultural context; and (3) assuring quality of material used in non-traditional education in the region.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A