Information Needs of Distance Learners: A case of Winneba Study Centre, University of Education, Winneba. Ghana.

Agatha Gifty LARSON

The study focuses on the information needs of distance learners of the Winneba Study Centre of the University of Education, Winneba. The main objective was to investigate the information needs of this group of students who live far away from their host institution and have minimal interaction with their tutors. The study was a survey and made use of a questionnaire as research instrument. The target population consisted of all distance learners of the Centre; this includes the Diploma and Post Diploma students numbering 1,029 as at 2014/2015 academic year. A sample size of 206 representing 20% of the population was selected through random sampling. The questionnaire was analyzed using frequency tables and percentages. Findings of the study were that distance learners depend solely on the course materials and lecture notes as the only source of information due to their tight schedule. They were also not using libraries to support their learning and other academic activities as they lacked searching and library use skills. Furthermore, it was found that the learners prefer print format to electronic format and lack of time and inability to search for information are some of the hindrances to their information utilization. Based on the findings, it was recommended among other things that, tutors should endeavour to give assignments that would require the use of libraries, efforts should also be made by library management in partnership with distance education administrators to run mobile library services, instruction on library use, negotiate for space in public and school libraries to keep library materials for use by the learners and also provide instruction on how to access and use both print and electronic resources in libraries.

KEYWORDS: Distance Education, Distance Learners, Information Needs, Libraries, Information, Winneba Study Centre,

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.09269