Predictors of Support Needs of Distance Education Students in the Institute of Distance Education and e-Learning (IDeL), University of Education, Winneba, Ghana

Francis Owusu-Mensah, PhD, Dandy G. Dampson, PhD, Stephen K. Apau


The study sought to establish the predictors of support systems for students in distance learning. Using the pragmatist paradigm, the study employed the concurrent triangulation design where 623 distance education students were randomly sampled from 41 study centers in Ghana for the quantitative phase of the study. Concurrently, 18 participated in 3 separate focus group discussions made up of 6 students each whilst the Registrar was also interviewed. Questionnaire adapted from Ozoglu (2009) was used to collect quantitative data whilst self-constructed semi-structured interview guides were used to collect qualitative data from the respondents. Means and Standard Deviations as well as Multiple Regression were used to analyse the quantitative data. The qualitative data were analysed using content analysis for respondents’ interview data. The study found that the most critical learner support needs were assistance in overcoming technical problems, orientation to the course media/delivery format of IDeL, help with the admission/registration process, counseling services to overcome students’ concerns about their education and textbooks provided by IDeL. The Regression Analysis showed that the learner support needs of the distance education students were predicted by sex, age and certificates students’ have enrolled for. It was recommended, therefore, that IDeL should consider the sex, age and certificates students’ have enrolled for in the provision of support systems for their students as they predict the support needs of the students.

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