Thar Multidiscipline Journal

Students Satisfaction in Distance Learning Programme Reference To (IDOL), Guwahati University




Higher Education provides and supplies a wide range of sophisticated manpower needed for the development of a nation. The citizens always look for attainment of individual progress by joining the mainstream system. It is expected that the system must be accessible to an optimum level of those citizen who are capable of pursuing higher studies. Taking into considerations the factor of increasing rate of enrolment in Higher Education, the formal system cannot fulfil the needs of Higher Education and it was thought to divert the overflow of entrance through creation of alternate channels of higher education. In this context the open learning system has been initiated to augment opportunities for higher education, as an instrument of democratizing education and to make it a lifelong process. There are many distance education institutes all over the world which are providing higher education through distance mode. But the effectiveness of distance education system based on the satisfaction of distance learners. This paper is an attempt to understand the satisfaction of distance learners’ special reference to Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL).


Higher Education provides and supplies a wide range of sophisticated manpower needed for the development of a Nation. The open learning system has been initiated to augment opportunities for Higher Education, as an instrument of democratizing education, and to make it a lifelong process. Teaching and learning by correspondence is the beginning of what is today called Distance Education. In a developing country like India, Distance Education is well suited to meet the increasing needs and aspirations of clientele in Higher Education. Today about 3.6 million students all over the India have enrolled in distance learning system, which is 28% of the total enrolment in Higher Education. The share and role of distance education in catering to Higher Education is highly significant and is likely to increasing in the coming decades. The University of London was the first University to offer distance learning degree establishing its ‘External Programme’ in 1958. But the credit of starting the first Open University goes to Britain. In the 1960 the UK Labour Government under Harrold Wilson approved the setting up of ‘The University the Air’ presently known as UK Open University. Since then each region has developed its own form of distance education and open learning system in accordance with local resources, target groups and philosophy of the organizations which provide the programmes ( Lokesh Koul, sixth survey of Educational Research , p. 169). In North East region also many distance education institutes are providing Higher Education through distance mode. IDOL, GU is one of the famous institute of distance education in North East region formerly known as Post Graduate Correspondence School ( PGCS). The effectiveness of distance education system based on the satisfaction of the distance learners. So it is very important to know the satisfaction level of learners of IDOL.



As the name indicates ‘Institute of Distance and Open Learning’, this is an institute of Distance Education under Gauhati University. It is well known to all that Gauhati University was established in 1948. The University has completed 50 years in 1998. On the eve of its Golden Jubilee year it established Institute of Distance and open learning. It was formerly known as post Graduate Correspondence School (PGCS). The man motto of IDOL is Quality Higher Education for all.
The institute extending its reach to every nook and corner of North East reason and it has become ‘The peoples University’ of the North east exactly 140 years after University of London opened its door even to a young shoemaker who studies in his great. The Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) completed 14 years of successful existence and aims to continue the mission of spreading and providing quality education to the students. IDOL started its mission in 1998 with 514 students and 6 courses. But the institute has now grown to offer 29 programmes with more than 30 thousand in various programmes and so far more than six thousand candidates have qualified candidates have qualified themselves for various degrees/diplomas. The alumni of IDOL, G.U. are employed in Universities, colleges, schools and in many prestigious organizations of the country. Many successes in getting promotion in their carrier after acquiring the post graduate degree through distance learning. The motto of reaching the hither to unreached has entered the role of the University for opening new avenues for learning for the marginalized section of the society. The establishment of IDOL has added a new dimension in the domain of higher education in the region by reaching every nook and corner of the region and providing greater accessibility of higher education to a large number of populations.
To fulfil the dreams of its pioneers, i.e. to provide higher education to the people north east region, Guwahati University trying to provide higher education to the people of the region not only by conventional class room made but also spreading its wings to impart education through open and distance made since inception, the institute of distance and open learning has been able to contribute to the educational history of North- East by demo crating higher education in real sense of the term. The institution with greater accessibility provides equal opportunity to large number of aspirants, who otherwise have to drop their lifelong ambition to pursue higher education due to limited number in the University classes and the officiated colleges. Widely recognized as the pioneering institute in the arena of Distance and Open Learning, IDOL has successfully met the increasing demands for higher education in the region.


To study the satisfaction level of distance learners towards student support services and evaluation system of IDOL, GU.


The study is based on both secondary and primary sources of information collected through a self structured questionnaire for the distance learners. The sample of the study consists of main study centre of IDOL, GU. A sample of 100 students was selected through convenience sampling technique. The data were analyzed through using simple percentage. The present study is delimited to only the learners of M. A. Course of the main study centre of IDOL, GU. Questionnaire to the learners were used as tools of together data. The data is tabulated, interpreted and conclusions drawn presented in the following pages.


The data is tabulated, interpreted and conclusions drawn presented in the following pages.


The following data shows the trend of responses of the sample of distance education learners of IDOL towards student support services and evaluation also. The trend is reported as percentage on a three point scale i. e. satisfied, undecided and dissatisfied. The learners were asked to express their satisfaction on the following areas-

  • Courses offered by IDOL
  • Course material
  • Assessment and evaluation system
  • Contact programme and counselling services
  • Other student support services
Serial No.StatementOpinion in %
1IDOL offer adequate number of courses.81109
2Courses are suitable to the needs of the students731611
3The fee that you have paid for the course is very reasonable682012
4More job oriented courses should be introduced8686
5There is freedom for you to choose your course9262
6Curriculum is very relevant to student needs652510
7There is need for introducing teacher education courses like B. Ed.9550

As seen from the above table 81% of the sample is of the opinion that IDOL offer adequate no. Of courses .In the same way 73% expressed that courses are suitable to the needs of the students. 68% feel that the fee is very reasonable. 86% is of the opinion that more job oriented courses are to be introduced. A good number of respondents i.e. 92% expressed their satisfaction and gave a positive reply and said that there is freedom for the learners to choose their course. Again, 65% expressed that curriculum is very relevant to students needs. Regarding introduction of teacher education programme maximum number of respondents’ i. e. 95% gave positive opinion.

Serial No.StatementOpinion in %
1Course material is usually supplied in time402535
2Reading material provided by IDOL is very good532720
3The syllabus relating to your course is proper for you691615
4The language of the study material is very easy to understand721513
5Course material is covering the entire syllabus382434

As can be seen from table 2 it is notable that 40% respondents admit that course materials are supplied in time. 53% are of the opinion that the reading materials are very good. 69% respondents opined that the syllabus relating to the course is proper for them. 72% expressed that the language of the study material is very easy and only 38% sample are of the opinion that the course material covers the entire syllabus.

Serial No.StatementOpinion in %
1Assignment approach is properly followed631819
2You have received the assignment in time from IDOL691713
3IDOL gives proper time to submit the assignment762004
4The declaration of result of examination is always in time050590
5You are very satisfied with the marks/ grades awarded on your assignment622018
6The examination system of IDOL is very transparent642610

Towards assessment and evaluation system of IDOL it can be reported that 63% respondents satisfied and said that assignment approach is properly followed. 69% samples are of the opinion that they have received the assignment in time. Again 76% expressed that IDOL gives proper time to submit the assignment. Learners are totally dissatisfied with the time of declaration of exam result. A negligible number of respondents’ i.e.5% only support that IDOL declared exam result timely.62% respondents expressed their satisfaction towards the marks/ grade provided to them and 64% support that the examination system of IDOL is transparent.

Serial No.StatementOpinion in %
1Personal contact programme (PCP) are beneficial to students712504
2Counselling timings are suitable to students682210
3Duration of Contact programme is sufficient552619
4The quality of counselling is satisfactory533512
5You get the schedule of Contact programme timely504505
6The lecture of Contact programme is very effective613306
7The fee structure paid for counselling is reasonable49


8PCP Should be free of cost851005
9Duration of counselling programme is sufficient474112
10Limited counselling programme is enough for you
11You feel that the counsellor of counselling programme is quite suitable for counselling.453609
12You have opportunities for expressing your doubts in counselling sessions564004
13The counselling programmes helps in developing good study habits623503

It can be seen from the above table that the opinion of the sample towards the benefits of PCP and timings of PCP are almost same i.e. 71 and 68%. 61% sample expressed that the lecture of the contact programme is very effective and 62% sample opined that counselling programme helps in developing good study habits but 85% support that counselling programme should be free of cost. The overall satisfaction of the learners regarding contact programme and counselling services are good.

Serial No.StatementOpinion in %
1The current information about IDOL is available on web321355
2IDOL provides SMS service to all learners464212
3The service of e-learning portal of IDOL is very good244927
4The counsellor response well on telephone counselling095239
5Walk-in-counselling of IDOL is available for all learners205921
6You get adequate response in Walk-in-counselling195427

As seen from table 5 that learners are not very satisfied with SSS because the no of positive response of the sample are below 50%. Among the sample only 46% are of the opinion that IDOL provides SMS service to learners. So IDOL should improve the student support services to increase the satisfaction of the learners.


Distance education is a multimedia teaching learning system. This innovative system has earned credibility all over the world as an effective alternate channel for imparting higher education to varied clientele and target groups. This system is of special relevance to the developing countries for meeting the future educational demands of the people and for coping with the urgent needs of updating knowledge and skills. In the context of IDOL it can be concluded that IDOL plays a very significant role in providing Higher Education. There are gradual increases of student enrolment in distance learning system of IDOL.


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Sangita Barman

Assistant Professor Department of Education, Saraighat College, Changsari

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Thar Multidiscipline Journal is a bi-annual international e-journal of scholarly research articles/papers covering all disciples of studies which can be accessed via electronic transmission. The journal shall be solely published on the web in a digital format. However, as most electronic journals, it may subsequently evolve into print component maintaining the electronic version. The journal may publish special issues over and above the mandatory bi-annual issues.