The method of instruction at NOUN is by the distance learning mode within an open learning environment. For clarity, open learning is defined as “any form of learning in which the process enables individual learners to exercise choice over any one or more of a number of aspects of learning.” Furthermore, distance education is defined as “an educational process in which a significant proportion of the teaching is conducted by someone removed in space and/or time from the learners.”
Distance education involves the use of a range of media such as print, audio, video, computer-based media and networks as well as multimedia facilities for presentation of information and for communication between the university and her students.
This instructional mode provides the opportunity for working people to acquire knowledge, skills and techniques which may be relevant to their present work situation or to future career prospects. Distance education thus provides people with the opportunity to improve their academic qualification without giving up their jobs and without being removed from their domicile areas. The system also allows for teaching people who are living in any location, regardless of the types of jobs they do. The system is also flexible in terms of age and time allowing for enrolment at any time and age and at a convenience of pace dictated by the student.
The NOUN instructional delivery system is modelled after that of Indira Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU), India. NOUN does not provide lectures to students in the normal classroom situation. Instead, it teaches through the provision of specialized study materials on the basis of self-learning. These study materials are given or sent to students who are enrolled for the courses by the postal service. The teaching is provided through the use of the following:
Printed materials will remain a major instructional mode until such a time that the infrastructure for total online teaching will become available. Each course has a study material written specifically for the course and which students are expected to study prior to being examined.
In addition to printed materials, some of the courses are recorded on audio/video tapes to be played as often as possible and in whatever environment is convenient for the play backs.
Complimentary to the print materials is the CD-ROM which constitutes one of the wonders of ICT. It affords the opportunity of storing a vast amount of information and carrying this about. CO-ROMs could be both audio and visual.
Radio and Television Broadcast
Some courses will be broadcast on the radio and some on television. This is usually well organized and arranged by a time table which will be widely publicized for all the students concerned. In addition, public enlightenment programmes will be broadcast on radio and television for advocacy.
Recent innovations in the field of communication technology are being exploited to make the delivery of instruction even more effective. As the country becomes more accessible via the internet and more students get access to personal computers, learning at a distance will become more enabling. Through the NOUN i-Learn programme, students now engage in a whole range of interactions with their peers and tutors.