A phenomenological analysis of experiences of learning in the South African distance education context

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
ISBN
0 908557 72 8
Abstract 

This paper looks at the lifeworlds of 15 women who live in South African rural areas who by virtue of being distance learners share educational experiences of learning through distance. Distance learning takes place within different environments that are influenced by the social, cultural and political fields in which a student lives. The aim of this study is to investigate the conditions under which distance learning occurs and how they influence students’ experiences of learning. Giorgi’s phenomenological psychology analysis is used to explore learners’ histories and aspirations as they negotiate the meaning they attach to their learning experiences in a distance education context. In their narratives of their learning experiences, the women in this paper are consistently struggling to reconstruct themselves as distance learners and as members of the community that put a lot of pressures on them as “women in the village”, “mothers” and “role models”. The findings suggest that lack of resources; the distance between the institution and their homes; communication barriers between the lecturers and the students; limited support from the institution and the community; and time management affect their participation and performance in distance education.

Keywords: Distance education, phenomenological analysis, students experiences

A phenomenological analysis of experiences of learning in the South African distance education context

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