Implementation of Astria E-Learning Solutions in Zambia: A Survey of the University of Zambia-Institute of Distance Education

Keywords: University of Zambia, Institute of Distance Education, Astria E-learning, Distance Education


Up until 2016 since its inception in 1966, the University of Zambia, through the Institute of Distance Education (UNZA-IDE), had been running its distance mode of delivery manually, and that though amidst some successes encountered a myriad of challenges. From October 2016, UNZA-IDE, in partnership with Astria E-Learning Solutions, went fully fledged online. The study targeted about 3000 registered students at the time, but only 557 responded via Google Survey. The main objective of this study was to document benefits and challenges of the introduction and implementation of the online mode of delivery at UNZA-IDE. The study was anchored on the qualitative approach, and case study design was implored. The analysis of the findings provided the evidence that the majority about (80 %) of students accessed the Astria E-Learning platform and their interfacing with the platform made their academic life easier, cheaper to use, and it was generally easy to access study materials online. There were, however, challenges experienced by some students which included, high cost of bundles, erratic network interconnectivity, inadequate orientation and lack of basic Information Technology (IT) skills. This study recommends that UNZA-IDE conducts regular orientation to new students and continuous in-service training and workshops to the teaching and support staff; expanding the accessibility of internet services through various mobile providers and improvement of internet connectivity through responsive infrastructure.