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      Quality, Context, and the Repositioning of Continuous Knowledge-Based Innovation in the Learner Support Frameworks of ODL: An African Perspective

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      UNISA Press
      continuous innovation, knowledge-based innovation, learner support, quality, open distance learning


            In this article, we question the assumptions related to the increasing exertion of continuous innovation within decentralised support structures for learners in open and distance learning. In 2011, 26 decentralised centres of learning initiated a standardised national quality process in the Department of Tuition and Facilitation of Learning at the University of South Africa. Its purpose was primarily to foreground and explore quality support models within learner support services, outside of academic and departmental support directorates. In the past five years, context and innovation have become the most critical, dominant and inclusionary themes throughout decentralised staff and student reflections and submitted document interrogations. These conversations and reviews led to the realisation that it was the regional context that would ultimately dictate the pace of knowledge-based and continuous innovation, in line with the conceptual and institutional forecasting of the Unisa institutional Agenda of 2030. In this article, we use a qualitative research methodology and explore the linkages between knowledge-based and continuous innovation and the framework of previous and existing quality governance models in learner support. In addition, we explain the literature, document and policy analysis procedures in the context of actual research experiences. The research findings suggest that retention and impact analyses in learner support and spaces of innovation should be based in drawing connections and socialised agency. This should be done by using regional expertise and context as situational resources and finding ways to harness closer collaboration and to enhance institutional support to complement innovation in decentralised and/or regional contexts.


            Author and article information

            UNISA Press
            23 July 2022
            [1 ] University of South Africa
            Author notes

            This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

            All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).
            Educational research & Statistics
            continuous innovation,knowledge-based innovation,learner support,quality,open distance learning


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