Barriers to Effective use of OER in Distance Education: A Case of Zimbabwe Open University Accounting Department
Keywords: Open Educational Resources, Learner perception, Distance Learning, Constructivist nature
AbstractOpen Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials. OERs are released under an open license that permits no-cost access. The learner and the teacher have access to the OER unlimitedly. One wonders why most learners still find it a challenge to access these resources. This is the motivation for this study. The purpose of this study was to gather first-hand data from the learners as to the challenges on integrating OER into Distance Learning. This study was descriptive quantitative research with the purpose being to get information about the barriers to use of OER in Distance Learning in Zimbabwe. The population of the research was all learners in the accounting department of Zimbabwe Open University. Learners partaking a chosen accounting course were chosen as a sample. Purposive sampling was used as the sampling method. Learners who had practised Distance learning in accounting for a semester were legible. Data to be analysed was gathered from the learners through questionnaires. The learners were asked on the use of OER in Distance Learning given the contemporary issues such as COVID-19 pandemic and the economic constraints. Findings included sentiments by learners who lacked funds for data bundles. Some said the learners need training on OER. Use of OER was perceived by learners as being crucial because of its pragmatic and constructivist nature. Learners reiterated it boosted their level of understanding of a topic especially through videos. Low rate of OER use by learners was prevalent with an average use rate of 38%.