The Open Distance Learning (ODL) system is an open concept education system that offers an opportunity for everyone to study and attain a Degree credentials irrespective of age, qualification, race, creed or color. This system is distinct from traditional education system as learners do not necessarily have to start their studies at very young age. The ODL system does not favor those from better economic families as it is always “Open” to everyone who has dogged determination to pursue higher education.
Costly academic studies fee is always the main hurdle for tertiary education. Most of the earnest learners prevented by financial constraint do not have the opportunity for further studies. The ODL system affords conscientious learners the chance to study further; it is widely regarded as an inexpensive path to quality education in terms of cost and time.
A tremendous flexibility is one of the most outstanding elements of the ODL system. Students embark on the academic career of this system are actually learning at self-paced. They take responsibility for what they learn, where they learn, when they learn, how quickly they learn and how they have their learning assessed. The ODL system helps students to instill self-confidence and awareness, as learning need not necessarily take place at the same time of teaching.
The ODL system is having excellent administration systems and gives their students access to accreditation and qualifications. It has been perceived as not an inferior quality of education but even better than contact education, and can meet the same rigorous academic standards. Today, the qualification of ODL graduates are gradually recognized and respected by world-wide, especially the large-scale private industries.
Learning under the ODL system can be done synchronously or asynchronously. This helps to create a virtual learning community, good for all learners, and especially helpful for students of distance learning. By taking advantage of advanced technologies and mixed-media courseware, such as the Internet, video and audio cassettes, computer-based learning materials and telecommunication, students are able to develop their learning at own pace, and foster an independent disposition.
The ODL system is overwhelmingly appealing to working adults as it has dramatically expanded with the growth of the World Wide Web, always accessible and absolutely accommodates the special needs of majority and minority groups. Separation of teaching and learning enables working adults to get rid of constraint of place and time because not everyone will be free at the same time, or will able to physically meet each other in designated place.