Distance learning, e-learning and the digital divide

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)


This paper outlines a research project that investigated ODL students’ levels of access to, use of and preferences for new technologies for learning. The study was based in the Department of Information Studies at Aberystwyth University, UK. A questionnaire including both quantitative and open-ended questions was utilised, allowing a mixture of statistical and qualitative data to emerge. This paper focuses on selected aspects of the qualitative data, addressing themes around barriers to ICT, use of learning materials and preferences around online and paper-based learning. A mixed picture of access, use and preference is evident. Key themes include sharing and negotiating use of ICT with family members; issues around reading online and print-based material; amount of time spent on the computer for other reasons; and the demands of busy working/family lives. A clear preference for a mixture of online and printed materials was evident, implying a continuing need for a variety of access points to learning materials for ODL students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge International Conference on open, distance and e-learning 2011
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)987-1-78007-323-1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2011
EventCambridge International Conference on Open, Distance, and E-Learning - Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 25 Sept 201128 Sept 2011


ConferenceCambridge International Conference on Open, Distance, and E-Learning
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period25 Sept 201128 Sept 2011


  • digital divide
  • distance learning
  • opening learning
  • online
  • internet


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