Science practical work instructional technologies and open distance learning in science teacher training: A case study in Zimbabwe

Bhukuvhani, Crispen; Mupa, Mathew; Mhishi, Misheck; Dziva, Daimond
April 2012
International Journal of Education & Development using Informati;2012, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p17
Academic Journal
The practical work component offers unique challenges for university science courses. This is even more pertinent in an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) environment like the Bindura University of Science Education's Virtual and Open Distance Learning (VODL) programme. Effective ODL education should be flexible enough to accommodate science disciplines with practical components. The main challenges with practical work in ODL are that students are geographically scattered and that they come from very different educational backgrounds. In spite of these constraints, there is an equivalence motive as justification for compulsory practical work as a means to put degrees and diplomas in science education awarded through ODL programmes on the same level of achievement as those offered conventionally as they should equally develop practical scientific inquiry and problem solving skills. This Case Study evaluates the use of instructional technologies for science practical work, adopting Kumar et al (2005)'s five-stage model. The research revealed that although lecturers place great value on practical work, in practice they prefer using lecture notes and internet downloads more than other instructional technologies. Research participants do not use online tutoring at all though the philosophy of VODL requires the use of such technologies that support student-centred learning.


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