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close this bookDistance Education in Engineering for Developing Countries - Education Research Paper No. 13 (DFID, 1995, 102 p.)
close this folderSection 7: Cost-effectiveness
View the document(introduction...)
View the document7.1. The distance learning provider
View the document7.2. The purchaser
View the document7.3. Importance of student support
View the document7.4. Benchmark measurements
View the document7.5. Student fees

7.2. The purchaser

For sponsors of students on distance programmes (individuals, employers or other organisations) costs are invariably measured in comparative terms with conventional face-to-face courses. Cost-effectiveness on the other hand, is seen as very subjective. Sharrat and Foster indicate that

'Many of the benefits associated with DL do not translate into direct economic benefits for the consumers.'(13)

This is confirmed by the 1989 Department of Employment study:

'The cost-benefits of open learning could not be judged simply by the cash outlay on open learning versus the cash spent on more traditional methods. The improved logistics of training were at least as important.'(12)

The report goes on to say that not only was open learning found to be substantially cheaper, the most frequently cited reasons for employers choosing it were:

· trainees on multiple sites
· trainees working different shifts and work patterns
· line managers reluctant to release trainees
· large numbers being trained in a short period
· alternative forms of training not available.

There were also significant business advantages:

· financial performance improved in 70% of branches (Building Society)
· error rates in manufacture down by 3%
· reduced customer complaints
· 41% increase in success rate of calls (sales engineering)
· 25% fewer 'helpline' calls (microcomputer firm)
· sales increased by 50% (chemical industry).