2nd Int'l ODeLan confab: RETRIDOL organises pre-conference workshop  

By Inuwa Hamza Yunusa
Prof. Ofulue

The Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), has organised a Pre-Conference Workshop for the Open, Distance and e-Learning Association of Nigeria (ODeLan) during the 2nd International Conference held at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The workshop, held on Monday, April 22, 2024 with the theme: "Navigating the Digital Landscape: Quality Assurance Practices for Learners Support in Open and Distance Learning," witnessed three separate sessions. 

In session one, the Director, RETRIDOL and coordinator of the workshop, Prof. Christine Ofulue and Mr. Felix K. Olakulehin also from RETRIDOL, presented a paper titled: "Learner Support Services in Open, Distance Learning." 

In the second and third sessions, the resource person, Dr. Simon-Peter Kafui Aheto of the College of Education, University of Ghana, delivered two papers titled: "Technology Integration for Enhancing Learner Support," and "Case Studies: Challenges, Good Practices and Solutions," respectively. 

In an interaction with NOUN News, Prof. Ofulue explained that they were requested and engaged by the host to run a pre-conference workshop, which she described as a half-day workshop and was successfully conducted. 

She further described the main facilitator, Dr. Simon - Peter Kafui Aheto as an academic of high repute. 

The coordinator stated that they choose the topic because research has shown that Learner Support is a neglected, yet a very critical area of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL).

The director because of the Learner Support Services which cater for all interactions with their learners, prospective and existing students or even the graduates "were among things we centred on and the interactions we had with the participants."

She emphasised that "these are very critical to ensuring the successful completion of their studies knowing their peculiar characteristics that the distance learners are of the feeling of isolation, being motivated and so many things like that. 

"We had a very successful workshop, we had over hundred participants who came for the conference but decided to turn for the pre-conference workshop and we had a robust conversations with the participants."  

One of the major takeaways, Ofulue stated, was coming up with the template that would enable the various institutions that offer Distance Learning programme to profile their students. 

"Therefore, when they profile the students according to their characteristics, they find it easier to design support for the students adequately.

"If you don't know who your students are you cannot design adequate support," she said. 

The director expressed her pleasure with the presence of the Vice-Chancellor, NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters at the workshop as well as the representative of the Federal Ministry of Education.