Sunday, 9 October 2016

Counselling: An Important Aspect of Learner Support Programme in Open Distance Education

Counselling is a process of assisting an individual to understand himself or herself in order to make right decisions that will be beneficial to himself or herself, family, others and the entire society. Counselling gives an individual the opportunity to discuss his or her problems with professionally trained Counselling therapists who are skilled in using talking therapies in assisting the individual in finding solutions to his or her  problems and challenges. The process of counselling is valuable because it provides opportunity for self-discovery and self- awareness for the individual. Counselling is necessary owing to the fact that human beings differ in their task approach and management strategies.

 Counselling is an important aspect of the whole learner support programmes provided for open distance learners in order to assist them in achieving their aim of enrolling into the programme.  It includes provision of useful and usable information, assistance and guidance to the learners. Counselling services are provided in three broad areas. These are:
Eduational/ Academic Counselling; this covers all matters concerning learning and the learning process. These include choice of course, study habit, time management, setting and achieving academic goals, how to tackle assignments and so on.
Vocational/ Career Counselling; this covers aspects that have to do with career aspirations and right match between course of study and the world of work. It also provides an individual the opportunity to learn about self, interests, aptitude and general attitude and disposition towards work and working.
Personal/ Social Counselling; this covers daily relational and adjustment issues that pose challenges to an individual. Some of these include school adjustment, family/ marital adjustment, interpersonal relationships, and financial management.
Modes of Counselling
In Distance Learning Institute, Counselling is provided for learners in two major modes – individual mode and group mode.
Individual mode caters for personal matters that are so confidential and require privacy.
Group mode is used for issues and matters that are common to many students at a time and do not require privacy.
Channels for Counselling in DLI
Counselling in Distance Learning Institute (DLI) are provided through the following channels
Telephone; a student may wish to contact the counsellors through the telephone. There are numbers provided on the website for this purpose
The Blog; this is a specially dedicated channel through which important information are published for students on monthly basis, you are advised to log on to the blog and follow the trend of events and also leave comments and questions that will be attended to by the counsellors there.
E-mail; students can also send e-mails to the counsellors on any academic, career, personal or social issues that bother them.
Text messages; important text messages can be sent to the counsellors by the students.
WhatsApp; this is one of the new technologies that drive information in all fields of human endavours today, this can also be used to reach the counsellors.
The Learning Management System (LMS), you can contact your course lecturers through the LMS and in any case that needs counselling or extra assistance, the lecturer would refer you to the counsellors for professional guide and help.
Reasons why you need counselling
Most of the time, people do not understand the essence of counselling to them as individuals. However, I want to let you know that counselling is an important aspect of the whole Open Distance Learning programme for the following reasons
1. Individual differences; human beings differ in the way they approach and manage tasks; educational and learning tasks inclusive.
2. As an adult, you have many roles and responsibilities that you must accomplish at the same time, adding your academic pursuit to it may pose some challenges that may require professional assistance in surmounting.
3. The University environment has its own unique challenges that an individual needs strict personal and time management strategies to adjust to in order to pass through it successfully.
4. Being an ODE student, is challenging in itself, because a student needs to develop self- directed approach to learning and learn methods that suit him or her to be able to succeed.
You are assured of professional treat to any matter you bring to the counsellors. Also the watchword for counselling is Confidentiality. So fell free to approach the counsellors any time you need help and you will be glad you did.  I wish you smooth and successful stay in DLI and indeed the University of Lagos; University of first choice and the Nation’s pride. Thank You.

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