A Collaborative Team Approach in the Development of ODL Teaching/Learning Materials: A Case of Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU)

Constance Kadada, Betty Mutambanengwe


The concept of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is relatively new in the field of education and is quite diverse.
Basically, ODL, in institutions such as Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) involves the separation of the teacher
and the learner and provision of self-contained teaching/learning packages. The provision of relevant teaching/
learning to the student depends on a collaborative team approach which comprises learning institution, industry,
community and many others. The purpose of  this paper was to find out  the  extent  to which ZOU collaborates
with industry and community in the development of world class teaching/learning materials that satisfy the
needs  of  the  student,  industry  and  the  community. ZOU targets  mostly  mature  students  engaged  in  full-time
employment who desire to advance themselves academically. As a stakeholder to ZOU, industry should provide
the learning institution with the type of content that it needs to function successfully. ZOU could also collaborate
with communities to improve individual livelihoods, through imparting skills to small-scale farmers and Small
and Medium Enterprises. A case study of ZOU was used. Participants were randomly sampled from ZOU
lecturers, employers in industry and entrepreneurs in the community. Interviews, focus group discussions and
questionnaires were used to gather data which were analysed using content and statistical analysis respectively.
Hopefully the findings will help ZOU develop and deliver relevant teaching/learning materials.

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