CEMCA co-hosts international conference on perspectives and innovations in ODL

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The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) partnered with the Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) regional centre, the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), to recently host the International Conference on Perspectives and Innovations in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in Noida, India. The primary aim of this hybrid conference was to convene educators, researchers, policymakers and industry experts internationally to facilitate a robust exchange of insights, best practices and cutting-edge innovations shaping the global landscape of ODL in education and skills.

COL was represented virtually by Professor Peter Scott, President and CEO of COL, who shed light on COL’s endeavours in the evolving landscape of ODL. He emphasised the importance of empowering learners and extending quality support to facilitate meaningful learning experiences.

Dr Tony Mays, Director of Education COL, who also presented, commented on the role of ODL for open schooling:

“As the world’s largest open schooling organisation, registering around 500,000 learners in a typical year, NIOS and its affiliated State Open Schools provide a powerful example of how ODL methods can be used to open access at scale. The conference provided an exciting opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and to explore the new possibilities of emerging technologies.”

The event was structured around seven main themes: Perspectives and innovations in ODL, Policy frameworks and practices supporting ODL, Technology-enhanced learning in ODL, Pedagogical and administrative strategies in ODL, Inclusive access, equity and quality in ODL, Vocational education through ODL mode, and Collaboration and networking in ODL.

In total, the conference attracted over 250 participants, 50-plus speakers, and 100-plus researchers from five Commonwealth nations.

Key takeaways from the discussions included the need for ODL institutions to:

  • gather evidence to demonstrate their effectiveness;
  • continuously plan to achieve higher and SMART goals;
  • be strengthened in preparation for the future and coordinate actions to achieve desired targets;
  • generate a stronger and cohesive voice nationally and globally for collective and stronger advocacy;
  • and finally, position themselves uniquely in the education and skilling arena.

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