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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue III, March 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Zimbabwe in Covid-19 Lockdown: The Benefits and Shortcomings of Online Learning in Open Distance e-learning Institutions of Zimbabwe

Mukomana Saziso1, Prof Sylod Chimhenga2, Dr John Mpofu3
1Zimbabwe Open University, Department of Teacher Education
2Zimbabwe Open University, Department of Disability Studies and Special Needs Education,
3Zimbabwe Open University, Department of Media studies

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: During the lockdown period for Covid-19, online learning has been the best platform to keep learners/lecturers engaged and safe by maintaining social distancing. Through online learning, students often face a number of challengesto their full participation in coursework units. The online environment also presents challenges for many academic staff that increasingly require higher levels of technological competency and proficiency on top of their regular academic workload. This study adopted the qualitative research paradigm in which a case study design was used. The design was considered appropriate because it enabled the researchers to interact with the participants in their natural settings on the phenomenon in its original form. The study was confined to Zimbabwe Open University, Bulawayo Regional Campus students and tutors only and it sought to establish the challenges learners experience in using the online learning platform during the Covid-19 lockdown. The findings show that participants still lack the knowledge on what online learning is all about and the different types of media used and how to use them in different environments.

Key Terms: Covid-19, Lockdown, online learning, open distance e-learning, e-learning, ICT.

I. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide health crisis. In Zimbabwe, the government has decided to close schools, colleges and universities. The closure of schools, colleges and universities not only interrupts the teaching of students around the world; the closure also coincides with a key assessment period and many examinations have been postponed or cancelled. The Zimbabwean government had no choice but to close its institutions of higher learning as part of their lockdown measures to contain the spread of the Corona virus.A lock-down is the restriction of movement (entering or leaving a place of residence) of people. The aim of the lock-down is to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.