Integrating Information and Communications Technology into Counselling for Effective Learning Outcomes in Open and Distance Education in Nigeria
Open and distance education attracts many students from varying geographical locations. Some of such students are far away from the study centres of their institutions where they can easily run to student counsellors for assistance, especially in solving socio-, psychological and academic problems. Such students can easily be reached through the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This paper discusses the need to integrate ICT into counselling in open and distance education in Nigeria for effective learning outcomes. Current counselling practices in distance education are discussed along with the processes of integrating ICT into counselling. This proposal for integration may face a lot of challenges such as epileptic power supply, poverty, poor attitude, inadequate computer literacy, and poor policy implementation in open and distance education. It is suggested that government should ensure adequate supply of electricity on regular basis, and initiate poverty alleviation programmes through several economic empowerment. There should also be change of mindsets among people about the credibility of distance learning. Similarly, there should be mass training of people to acquire computer literacy. Government should also endeavour to embark on sincere implementation of policies on ICT and open and distance education in order to achieve full integration of ICT into counselling for effective learning outcomes and retention of students in ODL institutions.