Sociodemographics and Psychosocial Experiences of Distance Learners in Nigeria: A Comparison of Single-mode and Dual-mode Universities


  • Tajudeen Adebisi Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Taiwo Olatunji University of Padua, Italy



distance learners, adult, psychosocial experiences, single-mode, dual-mode, universities


The study explored the psychosocial experience of distance learners at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife. Psychosocial experience refers to the aggregate outcome of events and feelings that define or affect a person’s knowledge and perception of their prevailing social environment. The study adopted mixed-methods phenomenology research design. We deployed multiphase mixed-method sampling involving a quota sampling technique to select 182 respondents, and a purposive sampling technique to select eight interviewees selected from the initial respondents—four students from each of NOUN and OAU. Two researcher-designed instruments—a questionnaire and an in-depth interview guide—were deployed for data collection. The collected data were analysed with frequency counts, percentage analysis, and phenomenological analysis. Analysis of their sociodemographic characteristics showed that the profile of the students at the dual-mode university (OAU) reflects characteristics of conventional distance learners more than does the profile of the students at the single-mode university (NOUN). Distance learners at NOUN and OAU had both similar and different psychosocial experience. Their experience was largely positive—only 14% and 12.3% of NOUN and OAU students (respectively) had considered dropping out. Factors affecting learners’ experience in both institutions included personal motivation, the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of distance learning, insufficiency of facilitator-led tutorials (at NOUN), and difficulties due to work and family responsibilities (at OAU). The study concluded that Nigerian distance learners possess the requisite psychosocial capacity to negotiate meaning and acquire knowledge in single-mode or dual-mode institutions.

Author Biographies

Tajudeen Adebisi, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Tajudeen Adewumi Adebisi obtained his Bachelor’s degree (Education/English), Master’s degree (Adult Education), and Doctoral degree (Adult Education) from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nigeria. He started lecturing in 2007 as one of the pioneer lecturers in Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria. Dr. Adebisi is now lecturing in the Department of Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.  He is an expert and consultant in the field of Adult Education, with specific interest in adult learning and human resource development, workplace learning, and vocational and technical education. He has written and published extensively in these areas.

Taiwo Olatunji, University of Padua, Italy

Taiwo Olatunji obtained his B. A. Ed (English) and M. A. (Education) from the Department of Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is an ERASMUS+ Alumnus (Julius-Maximillians University Würzburg, Germany). He is currently undertaking his Ph.D. in the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology (FISPPA) at the University of Padua, Italy.