PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF FACILITATORS IN AN OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING MODEL: THE CASE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF SWAZILAND

Sharayi Chakanyuka

Abstract


The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the professional development offered to the facilitators of the Certificate in Psychosocial Support programme offered by the Institute of Distance Education, University of Swaziland. It also explores the effect this has on the learners being supported. The study was qualitative using open ended questionnaires and focus group discussions to gather data from the facilitators and the mentor supervisor and her assistant. Data was analysed through content analysis applying the Harland and Kinder (2014) model of professional development outcomes. The results show that the professional development offered to facilitators of the Certificate in Psychosocial Support of the UNISWA once every semester has positive results. The facilitators generally agreed that through the professional development they acquire knowledge and skill in handling face-to-face sessions, using modules and other learning materials, motivating learners, psychosocial support principles, approaches and child protection; the delivery model and application of content rather than spoon feeding. These gains are largely to do with the pedagogical approach selected for the programme. The facilitators also acquired new learning/ teaching materials in readiness for a new semester. Each session provided an opportunity for facilitators to interact with the modules coordinators and among themselves. The facilitators were unhappy with the lack of preparation by some module coordinators. The study recommends that IDE reviews the performance of module coordinators and replace those who are no longer performing. IDE should also devise creative ways of offering the professional development so that it continues to be educative and motivating to the facilitators. 

 

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Keywords


facilitators, professional development, delivery strategies, supported open and distance learning

References


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