Quoting Nonyongo (2002), Tait (2003) said the UNISA was not successful due to low success in terms of completion and throughput rates, the correspondence nature of programmes in comparison with well-functioning distance education, and inadequate learner support which is exacerbated by the lack of a co-ordinated regional network of learning centers. From here, Tait (2003) emphasizes the dangers of developing distance education without learner support.
In contrast to UNISA, Tait (2003) describes the Open University UK established in 1969 with modern distance education endowed with a range of teaching and learning media and forming an integrated student support system. The characteristics of the systems included a personal tutor for each student (one tutor for every 25 students), tutor feedback, computer-mediated tutorials, 260 study center networks, residential school experience at a minimum of one week, and career advice.
Tait (2003) then explains the main reasons for having student support integrated in an ODL system. First, the students want support. Second, drop-out rate can be reduced; and third, the nature of learning is such that the use of the Web has expanded the potential for learning outside or independently of teaching materials provided. He then summarizes the rationale for student support as being cognitive, affective, and systemic altogether. ...Show more