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  • Background to the Study

The earliest account of distance learning can be traced to the first century AD when St. Paul used his letters or epistles to the young churches around the Mediterranean. This was a powerful form of distance learning as can be judged by the substantial growth of the Christian church. St. Paul’s epistles are, because they continue to be read today, the most successful application of distance learning in history(Wood, 2016).

The next phase of DL started with the age of printing and posting. An Englishman, Isaac Pitman, is credited as an early pioneer. He began teaching shorthand by correspondence in Bath, England in 1840. Students were instructed to copy short passages of the Bible and return them for grading via the “new” post system. The establishment of the British Open University (BOU) in the United Kingdom in 1969 marked the beginning of the use of technology through well designed courses. The BOU which is acknowledged as the most innovative university in the world has played a major role in the development of much of the important research in distance learning. The success of the BOU was the major reason for the development of open universities in other countries such as USA, Japan, India, China and Nigeria (Lim, 2001).

Education at present is a very costly commodity. In the present scenario lots of youngsters who pass secondary school, Diploma or any graduation would knock on the employer’s doors for want of opportunity/finance for higher studies. At the present stage new opportunities like banking, health care support services, call centers attract a lot of individuals without having higher education. However, after sometime, being stagnant at that stage only for want of opportunities for higher learning there is always a craving for higher education. At that time, however, they had to earn and learn. It is at this stage distance education will be of great help and especially qualifying for higher education in Technology, Management, Hospitality and other allied programmers’ (Teaster & Blieszner, 2009).

Distance education or distance learning is a field of education that focuses on teaching methods and technology with the aim of delivering teaching, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom. It has been described as “a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.”

To Greenberg (2008) distance education is less a philosophy and more a method of education. Students can study in their own time, at the place of their choice (home, work or learning center), and without face-to-face contact with a teacher. Technology is a critical element of distance education. Distance learning and its relationship to emerging computer technologies have together offered many promises to the field of education. In practice however, the combination often falls short of what it attempts to accomplish. Some of the shortcomings are due to problems with the technology; others have more to do with administration, instructional methods, or students. Despite the problems, many users like technologies such as compressed video and see continued growth in the area. This study will examine some of the challenges of distant learning to adult learners.

It is clearly known that distance education provides adult learners with the advantage of life-long learning due to its flexibility. Distance education is defined as the planned teaching and learning activities provided through the use of a communication channel within an institutional organization without any time and place limitations (Moore &Kearsley, 2011, p. 2). With the widespread adoption of the Internet and online tools as the communication medium, online distance education empowered the flexibility of educational opportunities. Considering the advantages of online distance education, adults compose the largest audience for online distance education (Ke & Xie, 2009) and consequently the limits of the diversity expand in online distance education practices. Specifically, they display significant differences from traditional students in terms of their academic, psychological, and life characteristics (Richardson & King, 2008). Besides, their engagement in education is more irregular and varied compared with the traditional ones (McGivney, 2004). This variation and irregularity is due to the fact that they mostly continue their education with their work and family responsibilities. With all these in mind, adult learners’ unique characteristics cause unique challenges for them, which affect the way they continue their education or participate in online distance educational processes.

            Adult education means education of the grown up men and women who are above 18 years of age. It includes implementation of all the activities with an educational purpose. It is given on part time basis along with job or earning of living. The main aim behind giving adult education is to prepare every adult in his contribution in democratic social order. In this case, it is also termed as “social education.” Adult education is imparted under two main aspects; firstly, adult literacyis the education of those adults who have never had schooling before, and secondly, continuation education, it is the education of those adults who have had some kind of schooling before (Preserve Articles, 2011).

Merriam and Brockett (2007) define adult education (AE) as the activities intentionally designed for the purpose of bringing about learning among those whose age, social roles, or self-perception define them as adults. From this general definition, the field of AE generally professes to serve the broad purposes of social justice, individual self-development, and workforce preparation and advancement for individuals and organizations (Elias & Merriam, 2005). Clearly, these goals encompass the learning of adults in widely varying contexts. Reconciling them within a single intellectual framework – adult learning – has become a major issue of contention for many AE academics and practitioners.

Adult Education is the type of education that people desire and cherish as long as they exist, irrespective of the level they have attained in life. According to Reddy (2000), adult education is a part time or full-time education for men or women of all ages, either organized by themselves or provided by schools, learning centres, or other agencies which enable them to improve their general or professional knowledge, skills and abilities by either continuing their education or resuming their initial or incomplete education of previous years. Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN (2004) stated that adult education is an integral part of education that involves a learning process or situation outside a formal school system, emphasizing all forms of functional education programmes for youth and adults outside formal school system. Such education programmes include Basic literacy programme, post-literacy programme, continuing education programme, vocational education programme. These educational programmes are all geared towards human resource development in particular and the national development in general. Adult education could also be referred to as the education programme people attend despite the levels of education they already acquired. Guodong (2003) therefore regarded adult education as broad field education, vocational and technical education, higher education and professional development, and is offered through formal, nonformal and informal education means, and by a variety of actors. He further stated that adult education is a highly dynamic field associated with innovativeness, and with values and practices once viewed as relevant and desirable.

It is in the light of the above discussions that this study seeks to investigate the challenges of distant learning to adult learners of some selected adult literacy centres in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Statement of the Problem

In recent years, distant learning has become very handy and an utmost priority, especially in times when the corona virus pandemic has been ravaging the economy. However, there are numerous facing the distant learning in modern society, therefore, it is in the light of this that this study seeks to determine the challenges of distant learning to adult education learners in selected adult literacy centres in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine the challenges of distant learning to adult learners in some selected adult literacy centres in Pankshin Local government Area of Plateau State.

Other specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the ICT challenges faced by adult learners in distant learning.
  2. To find out the economic challenges faced by adult learners in Pankshin.
  3. To explore the instructional challenges faced by adult learners in distant learning.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

  1. What are the ICT challenges faced by adult learners in distant learning?
  2. What are the economic challenges faced by adult learners in Pankshin?
  3. What are the instructional challenges faced by adult learners in distant learning?
    • Significance of the Study

The benefit of this study cannot be underemphasized especially now that the corona various has ravaged the Nigerian economy and made distant education a top priority for primary, secondary and tertiary education. This study shall be of benefit to adult learners, government, policy makers and future researchers.

The study shall be of significance to adult learners because they will get to know the benefits of distant learning and they will embrace it the more.

To the government, the findings of this study will expose areas or factors that pose as challenges to distant learning and they will take the necessary measures to solve these challenges.

The policy makers shall benefit from this study as they will make formulate policies that will enhance distant education in the country.

Finally, when this research is successfully concluded, it will serve as reference materials to future researchers who will want to make or carry out research under the same topic.



  • Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study covers challenges of distant learning to adult learners to some selected adult literacy centres. The study is restricted to selected adult learning centres in Pankshin Local government Area. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected local government, its findings will be generalised to other parts of the state and country at large.

  • Operational Definition of Terms

Distant Learning: A planned teaching/learning experience that uses a wide spectrum of technologies to reach learners at a distance and is designed to encourage learner interaction and certification of learning.

Challenges: These are problems which hinder or mitigate success of an event.

Adult Learners: These are learners in adult learning centres.

Adult Education: This is an education given to people who are above youth age, which will enable them to live a comfortable life and as well contribute to the society they live in. The people in this category had no opportunity to attend a conventional school.

Adult Literacy Centre: These are environment where adult literacy takes place.


  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
  • Preview Table of contents, abstract and chapter 1 below

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