Despite the infrastructural challenges evident in the country, the Nigerian government is embracing online learning in order to respond to the challenges posed by the rapidly changing and interdependent world. It is a well-known fact that education is very important for the development and growth of every country. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment on education. It can be seen that countries with high literacy rates tend to be more economically buoyant. Countries like Russia, Canada, Japan, Israel, United States of America, South Korea, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Finland and Australia have high literacy level and are part of the top 20 economies in the world.
The boom in online higher education enrollments in Nigeria is nothing short of astonishing a Nigerian universities are adopting E-learning as a way to meet the strong demand for higher education a demand they simply cannot meet with traditional campuses and programs.
What is Distance/Online learning?
Distance/Online learning (ODL) is a way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher in the classroom. This style of learning gives you the opportunity to transform your career from the comfort of your home – or wherever you choose to study. This makes it perfect for working professionals or those with other commitments who wish to study whenever it suits their busy lifestyles.
How effective is Online/Distance Learning programs in Nigerian Universities?
According to a 2012 Guardian Newspaper publication “there are more than 1 million young Nigerian school leavers competing for the limited spaces in our universities on a yearly basis and only a few of these can be admitted.” By implication, there will always be a large number of admission seekers who get disappointed as a result of their inability to secure admission or the inability of our Tertiary Institutions to fully absolve them. This gap prompted the Nigeria Government to establish the National Open University in 2002 – a distance learning educational system making use of E-learning technologies to deliver knowledge. Not surprisingly, other universities and tertiary institutions, with distance learning programs have also adopted E-learning to reach their students.
The demand of the online courses offered in the Nigerian schools, colleges and universities is soaring with the passage of time. Plenty of students coming from remote corners are able to pursue their courses right from their homes with ease and confidence.
In recent years the advent of the internet and widespread use of the computer has led to a huge growth in distantly delivered tuition and study. ODL in Nigeria is becoming a resourceful substitute of traditional learning and why not? It is comparatively flexible. Unlike a contemporary education setting, distance learning offers students the freedom of pursuing higher education regardless of their age, geographical location, etc.
The rigid immigration policies along with increasing relocation costs have resulted in the rise of online distance learning programs. Many educational institutions in Nigeria have accepted it as mainstream learning approach.
Currently, there are six accredited open distance learning institutions in Nigeria, they include: University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, University of Lagos Akoka, University of Maiduguri, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria with several other universities making positive attempts to adopt the open distance learning mode. So, students who are willing to pursue higher studies online after school or graduation can enroll in any of the accredited Nigerian institutions with confidence.
However, a lot of people are of the view that complicated online interfaces make online learners isolated and prevent them from mingling with other students, hampering overall growth. Though it is true that there are certain things that curtail students from learning under traditional university environment but the benefits offered by distance learning are something that overlaps its shortcomings.
Benefit of Online/Distance Learning
- Cost effective
- It is a recognized degree
- Continue to earn as you learn
- Study the course of your choice
- Study at own pace
- Study schedule
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