Master of Business Administration Executive
Faculty / School
Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)
Year of Award
MBA Executive Research Project
The objective of this study project is to assess tlie scope of distance learning in Karachi. Distance learning programs (also known as ‘'online education", “e-leaming" and “virtual education’') is a way of providing education services / learning facilities by using electronic technologies to access educational packages outside of a customary campus based classroom. According to an overview on Allama Iqbal Open University website, the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson presented the idea of distance learning in the late 60s for the first time in the UK. He believed on providing educational opportunities to those who could not get a better education because of early employment and wish to improve their knowledge and skills in their free time in evenings at their home. The UK Open University established in 1969. Since then, it has become a key learning institution in the UK as it has opened up opportunities for millions of workers and then the gospel of distance and open learning has spread throughout the world. More than sixty open universities are working based on the concept of distance learning. Modem information teclinology has made the task of distance learning much easier and more effective. (AIOU, 2016) With the passage of time, delivery of distance learning programs adopted state-of-the-art communication methods as these became widely available through cost-effective means. These programs expanded greatly with the of the Internet for exchanging course content and student work. Availability of distance learning programs attracted non-traditional, older, and students with full-time employment or transportation limitations. Institutions recognize that distance learning provides wider prospects to attract more students and has increased competition among institutions to register these students. In order to determine the scope / prospects of distance learning programs in Karachi Pakistan, we focused on following interdependent factors in this study as the research objectives:
- Whether there is enough demand for distance learning programs from students and employer perspective “
- Whether distance learning is cost effective as compared to classroom based education from institutions and parents / fond provider perspective “
- What are the current challenges in providing the distance learning programs?
- What are the operational issues in setting up quality distance learning programs?
Two types of researches were conducted i.e. I) Primary research with the help of data gathered through questionnaires, interviews and focus group meetings; 2) Secondary research by
reviewing online sources such as research papers, websites etc. We conducted the primary research in two phases, first with program managers / university facilitators and institutional experts who have good knowledge about the subject domain. Secondly, with students, employers, parents and guardians, who would be the important stakeholders / consumers of the distance learning program. Mostly, the data gathered was using a primary approach, conducting interviews of the professionals like the employers to understand whether they consider the profile of students as suitable who possess distance learning program credentials and what criteria they have set to provide jobs to the students holding a distance learning credential. We focused on students as well as their parents and solicited their feedback whether they would be willing to enroll in a distance learning program. Method of analysis includes different statistical tools like regression analysis, bar chart, and pie charts. We reached a conclusion based on hypothesis testing on the sample size taken. Based on these researches, following are key findings and conclusions:
- According to our survey results, 24% of the respondents responds that there is demand of distance learning programs in the market; whereas 40% of the respondents agreed that the employer will accept the qualification i.e., earned from a distance learning program.
36% respondents responded that parents could afford their children getting educated from distance learning programs. However, 26.7% respondents were not certain whether distance learning is expensive or not. Furthermore, our statistical result proved that there is strong relationship between affordability and scope of distance learning programs.
45% of the respondents responded that there are many hindrances in setting up a distance learning program and specifically drawn attention towards adequate technology, sufficient finds and appropriately skilled technical teaching resource.
50% of the respondents indicated that to maintain quality, appropriate technology and sufficient funds are necessary. The quality assurance measures taken by providers of distance learning programs mainly pertains to technological advancements followed by arrangement of funds.
Atif,, M. (2017). Scope of distance learning programs in Karachi (Unpublished graduate research project). Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan. Retrieved from https://ir.iba.edu.pk/research-projects-emba/125
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