Vocational Education and Training through Open and Distance Learning

Vocational Education and Training through Open and Distance Learning

Vocational Education and Training through Open and Distance Learning

Vocational Education and Training through Open and Distance Learning

Synopsis

Conventional apprenticeships and older methods of professional training are not providing enough skilled workers - governments, companies and colleges are now using open and distance learning to fill these gaps. Published in association with the Commonwealth of Learning, this unique review provides detailed analysis of worldwide experiences of vocational training and distance education. It looks at recent policy and practice at different levels - from trans-national programmes and national policies to institutional and programme models. Offering guidance on how distance education and new technologies are being used to support vocational education and training, this book will help senior institutional managers and policy makers to understand and appreciate: * the role distance education can play in increasing skills levels in young people and the existing workforce * the challenges in using educational technologies, and distance education to deliver vocational education and training * how to devise effective policies to meet these challenges.

Excerpt

There are some two billion people engaged in the global workplace. Most are found in low-income countries. Large proportions of them are unskilled or under-skilled and earn less than a dollar a day as reward for their labour. Without intervention, the cycle of poverty, deprivation and destitution can only worsen as world economies move increasingly to and overwhelmingly into knowledge-driven and knowledge-based ones. Workplace education and retraining for newer and higher skills and livelihood may perhaps be the only way to break this poverty trap and vicious cycle. Not surprisingly, reducing poverty by up to 50 per cent from current levels by 2015 is one of the eight millennial development goals set by the United Nations.

Educating and training citizens for both preparatory and in-service purposes is a huge and expensive venture. This is further compounded when the training has to do with technical and vocational disciplines where often in the poorer nations the necessary assets to deliver the training is in short supply Traditional systems of delivering training therefore may not meet the current or anticipated demand. Innovations in delivery systems must be a part and parcel of the solution, requiring further exploration. The use of distance and open learning methodologies is one such innovation.

Over the last three decades trainers and educators have come to appreciate the usefulness and value of using open and distance learning to provide especially continuous and 'just-in-time training' for workers in a range of fields from farming to electronics, health to engineering, animal husbandry to information technology Often these ventures have been carried out by the enthusiasm of individuals, departments of larger institutions and in some rare occasions by clearly enunciated policy directives from governments. From the little evidence we have it is becoming clear that where there are clear and unambiguous policy directives governing the application of open and distance learning, sustainability and success have been remarkable; and where these were not there, failures have been high.

This volume is the fifth in the World Review of Distance Education and Open Learning series, and attempts to capture by scholars, the experience . . .

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