Learning resources refer to materials that are used for teaching and learning. In distance education, a wide variety of materials are used to expand an institutionís ability to cater for the needs of learners of all backgrounds and capabilities. In addition, the use of ICT infrastructure and web technologies allows for a broader range of learning resources to be deployed to distance learners.
Some of the more common forms of learning resources that are available to ODL learners are customised texts, textbooks, reference books, articles from journals and magazines, audio/video material, CD-Rom, computer programmes, databases and digitised courseware or e-content. These different forms of learning resources may be provided in print, or may be a collection available in a digital library.
It is important that decisions regarding the development and employ of learning resources are based on a number of criteria. The most important consideration is that material is customised for a particular course, and that there is free and fair access to the resources that are used for teaching and learning.
Some other considerations are:
- Learner know-how and mental comfort with regards to access and use of print and digital learning resources
- Learner ability to access resources from home, the workplace, or from distance education provider
- The purpose and functionality of a particular learning resource
- The role of a learning resource in face-to-face and/or online interaction
- The ability of a learning resource to enhance learning autonomy
- Instructorsí degree of comfort with the use of learning resources for teaching and for providing learning support.