13. BARRIERS TO ONLINE LEARNING IN DEVELOPING NATIONS

The Case of Nepal

Cathy Cavanaugh

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the potential for online and blended learning to meet the needs of all students, based on the case of a least-developed country that faces many challenges in its readiness for virtual education. The societal context and potential for virtual education in Nepal is considered, in light of initiatives in other developing nations. Recommendations are presented for infrastructure and educational capacity development efforts needed to increase educational access in Nepal through virtual education

Discussion Questions

1. What are the key barriers that the author cites to establishing an online learning program in Nepal?

2. Identifying and designing online and blended approaches that address education needs in a country begins with understanding the context. This chapter can serve as a template for proposing an approach for another country. Select a country, and use the resources of UNESCO and a country’s education ministry to describe the barriers to completing education that are faced in that country.

3. For your selected country, identify existing online and blended learning programs, tools, and apps that that address specific barriers or needs you have identified. For example, in many countries, access to books is a barrier. UNESCO and other partners created an app for making ebooks for literacy, http://www.lit4life.net

4. To extend beyond currently available online and blended learning approaches, propose a new app, program, or other initiative that addresses specific country barriers that you have identified.

Additional Resources

UNESCO Education Publications - http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/resources/online-materials/publications

UNESCO Education Data - http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/default.aspx

Open Learning Exchange - http://ole.org

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