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Accessibility, Acceptance, and Effects of Distance Learning Technologies in South Asia

Accessibility, Acceptance, and Effects of Distance Learning Technologies in South Asia

Participating Institutions:

  • University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka
  • Samtse College of Education, Bhutan
  • Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan

Research Team:

  • Dr. Gihan Wikramanayake, UCSC ( project leader )
  • Sangay Jamtsho, SCE
  • Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi, AIOU


Project Overview:

The objectives of this project were to investigate different Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based learning models (both independent and blended) currently used in three different South Asian countries - Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - in terms of access, acceptability, learning styles, impact on learning and cost effectiveness; and to come up with suitable ICT-based models for different environments and different learning styles.


The outputs included: (1) research publications on access to ICT-based independent and blended learning technologies available to different sectors of the community of learners (rural, disadvantaged, minorities) in the three countries and on issues as well as strategies of acceptability, learning styles, interaction with technology and their effect on distance learning (DL); and (2) recommendations on suitable ICT based learning models and best practices for these three countries and others in the region. These included policy guidelines for recommendation to governments, distance and flexible learning institutions and donors.


This project addressed the basic conditions without which DL cannot be implemented. An overview of existing PAN distance learning technology (DLT) projects has indicated that, in some countries, projects have laboured against social and cultural resistance to DL, and against a lack of basic infrastructure. The partners in this project have amassed a wide range of experience in addressing these concerns in their own countries (Bhutan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), and will expand on this experience in making recommendations for the fundamental stages of DL adoption. The project has implications for future DL initiatives in Asia and in other countries where the benefits of DL have not yet become generally known.

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