An analysis of the learning resource centre concept and its implication for diploma teacher training colleges in Kenya.
Ngaruiya, Boniface Njoroge
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The Learning Resource Centre is a Concept that was introduced in Kenya in the mid seventies as a way of improving the educational system. Following an extensive review of literature on this concept, the following four objectives were formulated to help understand the development and organization of Learning Resource Centre in diploma Colleges since their inception there. (i) To elicit the views of tutors, students and a number of public officers involved in the Learning Resource centre on what they perceive as the meaning and role of Learning Resource Centres in diploma Colleges. (ii) To investigate the student and tutor utilization of the available learning media and get views on how the latter could be better organised to facilitate such utilization. (iii) To observe the Physical and learning environment in which the learning resources are utilized in the colleges. (iv) To investigate the problems that has been encountered in the development and utilization of Learning Resource Centres in the diploma Colleges and nationality. Following the objectives, all diploma Colleges in Kenya were to be used for the study. Laikipia Colleges was, however, left out being a newly established college as at the time of the study. The following tools were used to collect the required information: (i) Two questionnaires, for tutors and students. (ii) Interview schedules for some key staff in the Colleges, and for some public officers relevant to the Learning Resource Centre. (iii) Observation schedules. The tutors and students used for the study were selected on a departmental and class basis respectively to obtain a stratified sample. In all about 300 questionnaires were received from students, 100 from tutors, and 30 interviews were conducted. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise and interpret the data. The following major observations were found: (i) That the different tutors and public officers are aware of the Learning Resource Centre Concept but they attach different meaning and roles to the Concept. Students attach the meaning and role of a Learning Resource Centre to what is available in their colleges. Most persons, however, tended to see the Learning Centre as a repository of technological gadgets. (ii) That there appears to be little difference in the organization and utilization of learning resources in Colleges that claim to have a Learning Resource Centre and those which do not. (iii) That though the available book media is greatly overused in the colleges, the non-book media is largely under-utilized. (iv) That the traditional approaches to teaching and learning continue to predominate in the colleges, and this had hindered the utilization of non-book media. Tutors and students in the colleges have not shown a commitment to the production of their own learning resources, preferring to use what is already made. (v) That the organisational structure to facilitate the development and utilization of Learning Resource Centres seems inadequate both at the college and national level. (vi) Problems that have been faced include inadequate funding. Lack of adequate trained staff, Unclear Organisational structures, and lack of understanding and support for the Learning Resource Centre. The importance of Learning Resource Centres derives mainly from theoretical considerations, these being, perhaps, ideal. It seems that there has been difficulties in implementing the Learning Resource Centre as initially envisaged by the proposers. The writer proposes further researcher in Learning Resource Centre innovation in education and suggests that given greater publicity and clearer organisational structure the Learning Resource Centre ideals are worthwhile and attainable.