Challenges Experienced by Students Studying through Open and Distance Learning at a Higher Education Institution in Namibia: Implications for Strategic Planning

Amalia Ilonga, Daniel Opotamutale Ashipala, Nestor Tomas


Online learning remains one of the most powerful enablers and accelerators for realising higher education studies by enhancing teaching by means of innovative technologies and pedagogies. However, the success rate of students studying through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) remains very low. Therefore, institutions of higher learning in Namibia should continuously establish and assess the challenges affecting the students who opt to study via distance mode to devise strategies required to address such challenges. The objective of this study was to understand the challenges experienced by students studying through ODL at Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Namibia and establish the challenges they face. A qualitative, phenomenological, explorative, descriptive and contextual research strategy was employed in this study to explore and describe challenges experienced by students’ studying through ODL at HEI’ satellite campus in Namibia. A purposive sampling was utilised in the selection of participants. Data were collected from participants using semi-structured interviews with nine participants. Three themes were identified, namely, the reasons why students chose to study through ODL programme, challenges experienced by students studying through ODL and mechanisms for improvement. The findings of this study call for well-articulated plans and actions to address the challenges faced by students studying in the distance e-learning mode. The study recommended that both Lecturers and ODL programme Administrators should undergo refresher training on distance education annually to ensure that they are aware and can address the challenges faced by their students.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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