The objectives of the study were: (1) To find out the characteristics of distance learner. (2) To ascertain the extent to which the information need perceived by the learners were achieved through distance teaching. (3) To find out the problems on the basis of sex, faculty (arts and commerce) and also the location i.e. rural-urban. (4) To locate and study the problems of distance learner under categorized personal, social, economic, academic and psychological aspects out of the content method and administration of the program. (5) To give suggestions for further improvement and advancement in distance teaching with regard to lesson materials, lesson schedule, report sheet, assignments and personal contact program based on the opinion of distance learners, educators and planners. (6) To offer suggestions for further research.
The hypotheses of the study were: (1) The distance learners are spread over in a wide range of different age levels and groups as (a) low socio-economic status, (b) employed, (c) deprived from formal education due to sickness, house hold charge etc. and not availability of admission in regular course, and (d) due being for away of schools, college and the percentage of girls in higher. (2) The information (knowledge) perceived by the learners are not satisfactory in distance teaching. (3) There are significant difference on the basis of sex, faculties and location between the groups of distance learners. (4) There are so many problems of distance learners-person social, economic, academic and psychological. (5) There should be changes in the distance teaching learning program with special reference to, lesson material, lesson schedule and personal contact program etc. for improvement and advancement in distance education.
1200 distance learners and 200 educators from IGNOU, H.P. Open University, and Kota Open University were selected as sample by random purposive sampling method.
Questionnaire 1: Present Perspective Questionnaire of Distance Education (establish reliability= 0.58 to 0.71 split half), Questionnaire 2: Questionnaire based on the Problems of Distance Education (establish reliability = 0.69 to 0.77 by split half) and Interview Schedule developed by researcher for data collection.
The descriptive survey method was used by researcher. The data were analyzed by mean, SD, C.R. and t-test.
The findings of the study were: (1) The chief characteristic of distance education is the physical separation of the learner from the teacher. (2) Personal contact program and counseling sessions were found to be very useful. (3) Most of the learner were found to be satisfied with the present system of distance education with admission procedure, examination and revaluation, libraries, counseling. (4) Half of the sample were found to be inconvenienced with quality of the learning material as compared to that of regular. (5) No arrangements of practical, teleconferencing and other communication techniques were found there for learners of B.A. and B.Com. (6) Rural learners of both the faculties were found to be more dissatisfied with library, hostel facilities. (7) The learners were of the view that vocational education couldn’t be imparted through distance education. (8) The rural urban groups of arts differed significantly regarding the problem related to learning material, and availability of material. (9) The rural learners of both groups had more problems related to social and psychological aspect. (10) The administrators (planners) opined that distance education was highly specialized task, so pre entry and in-service training were essential and experienced counselors were and should be adopted in distance education. (11) The planners/counselors were of the view that the inhibition of the conventionalists didn’t allow distance institution to run laboratory based course but needed provisions would be made in near future. (12) The administrators were satisfied with the library service of open universities. (13) The planners/counselors were of the view that the reputation of distance education should be judged by its nature and quality and not by its pass percentage. (14) They revealed that mostly the newspapers were used for publicity of admission notification but perhaps IGNOU only was using all the communication techniques.