Criteria and guidelines for distance education to satisfy secondary school teachers' didactic-professional needs related to outcomes-based education
Sikhavhakhavha, Philemon Marubini
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There are vast differences between traditional content-based education and transformational outcomes-based education. For example, in content-based education teachers are viewed as the main sources of knowledge whereas in OBE teachers are viewed as facilitators of learning. In content-based education, assessment mostly focuses on the knowledge aspect of learners, rather than on skills, attitude and values. Teachers trained for traditional teaching should somehow be assisted to adjust to the outcomes-based way of teaching. This study firstly wants to identify the didactic-professional needs related to OBE of secondary school teachers in the Venda region of the Limpopo Province. The study identifies two categories of didactic-professional needs, namely: • Needs to improve secondary school teachers' academic competence • Needs to improve secondary school teachers' professional competence. The second objective of this study is to analyse and evaluate current distance education practice based in a printed format as means to satisfy secondary school teachers' didactic-professional needs related to OBE. The third objective of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of distance education based on print to satisfy the Limpopo Province Venda region secondary school teachers' didactic-professional and academic needs related to OBE to determine criteria and guidelines to this effect. A stratified systematic sample of 331 secondary school teachers and managers, including 148 persons who are or have already been involved in distance education, was selected to participate in the study. Data were collected through the use of a questionnaire and interviews with selected persons. Quantitative analysis of data employed a factor analysis to determine significant factors to work with. Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha to establish reliability of instruments, and Cohen's Criterion of effect size to determine significance of differences were used. The main findings of the study are: • The following six factors are regarded as important to satisfy secondary school teachers' didactic-professional needs: 1. Learning strategies centring around learner activities 2. Learner-centred assessing strategies 3. Learners' performance assessing strategies 4. Outcomes and methods of achieving outcomes 5. Educator centred teaching strategies 6. Learner- centred teaching strategies. • Counselling, tutoring and preparation for study are important in distance education to satisfy secondaly school teachers' didactic-professional needs related to OBE. However, counselling and preparation for study sometimes occur in the distance education currently available in the region, particularly in distance education programmes offered through an agent for a university. The findings further show certain differences with regard to teachers' needs and their satisfaction according to the experience, the nature of initial professional training, and the level of the current academic qualifications of the teachers. Finally the study recommends a plan of action to provide distance education based on print to satisfy the didactic-professional needs related to OBE of the Venda region secondary school teachers in Limpopo. The main elements of the plan include: • Effective contact sessions with lecturers. • Regular tutorial sessions under guidance of facilitators (tutors). • A multi-media approach. • Access to counselling and study guidance. • Relevant and integrated summative and formative assessment. • Efficient communication between the academic institution involved and the agent that acts on their behalf (where applicable).
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