MyVista digital platform as an Information and Computer Technology (ICT) tool for student support at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU)


  • Patrick Sibanda Department of Disability Studies and Special Needs Education, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Zimbabwe Open University, Zimbabwe.


Information and communication, Technologies (ICTs), Open and Distance Learning (ODL), MyVista, Digital platform, Student support


The study explored the accessibility, usability and sustainability of MyVista digital platform as an ICT tool for supporting the teaching and learning of students at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). A plethora of literature points to a positive correlation between Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and open and distance learning (ODL) resulting in active, self-directed and constructive learning. Since the trajectory of using ICT as a tool for student support is a relatively new phenomenon in ODL, it is bound to be characterized by opportunities and challenges of which this study envisaged to uncover. The study is informed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as well as the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and is grounded in pragmatism. A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was adopted to collect and analyse data. Predominantly, questionnaires, face-to-face interviews and focus group interviews (FGIs) were used to collect data which were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and thematic analysis. Results indicated that, while the usage of MyVista digital platform at ZOU had increased learner support initiatives, there were challenges of access, power and negative attitude in its utilization. For staff, technical challenges were experienced. These challenges were however out-weighed by the opportunities which hitherto had not been fully realised. Recommendations on training and capacity building for students and staff, improved interface and monitoring, policy support and further research were proffered as strategies for mitigating the challenges and intensifying opportunities.


Achmfour-Arko, A., 2017. Student support gaps in an open distance learning context. Issues Educ. Res., 27(4), 658-676.

Ajzen, I., 1985. From intentions to actions: a theory of planned behaviour. Heidelberg: Springer.

Aralu, U., Adetimirin, A., 2014. Influence of information support system on ICT use by distance learners in university of Lagos Nigeria. J. Inform. Eng. Appl., 4(9), 31-36.

Arko-Achemfuor, A., 2017. Student support gaps in an open distance learning context. Issues Educ. Res., 27(4), 658-676.

Awadhiya, A.K., Miglani, A., Gowthaman, K., 2014. ICT usage by distance learners in India. Turk. Online J. Dist. Educ., 15(3).

Bleisch, S., Dykes, J., Nebiker, S., 2010. A mixed methods research approach for 3D geovisualization evaluation. A paper presented at the workshop on methods and techniques of use, user and usability research, 13 April 2010, London.

Burge, L., Burge, E.J., Haughey, M., 2002. Using learning technologies: international perspectives on practice. London: Routledge.

Christensen, R., 2002. Effects of technology integration education on the attitudes of teachers and students. J. Res. Technol. Educ., 34(4).

Creswell, J.W., Klassen, A.O., Plano Clark, V.L., Smith, K.C., 2011. Best practices for mixed methods in health sciences. London: Sage.

Creswell, J.W., Plano Clark, V.L., 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. California: Sage.

Davis, F.D., 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use, and end user acceptance of information technology. MIS Q., 13(3), 318-339.

Dougiamas, M., Taylor, P.C., 2002. Interpretive analysis of an internet-based course constructed using a new courseware tool called Moodle. Proceedings of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2002 Conference, Perth, Western Australia.

Dougiamas, M., Taylor, P.C., 2003. Moodle: using learning communities to create an open source course management system. Proceedings of the EDMEDIA 2003 Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Etikan, I., Musa, S.A., Alkassim, R.S., 2016. Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. Am. J. Theor. Appl. Stat., 5(1), 1-6.

Fiorini, L., Griffiths, A., Houdmont, J., 2016. Mixed methods research in the health sciences: A review. Malta J. Health Sci.,

Fishbein, M., Ajzen, I., 1975. Beliefs, attitude, intention and behaviour: An introduction to theory and research. Addisson-Wesley: Reading, MA.

Gibson, W., 2014. Research methods: Theory, Method and Practicalities. London: University of London.

IGNOU, 2009. Defining distance education, ES-311: Growth and philosophy of distance education. New Delhi: Stride, IGNOU.

Imran, A., Yusoff, R.M., 2015. Empirical validation of qualitative data: A mixed methods approach. Int. J. Econ. Financ. Issues, 5(Special Issue), 389-396.

Johnson, R., Onwuegbuzie, A., Turner, L., 2007. Toward a definition of mixed methods research. J. Mix. Meth. Res., 1(2), 112-133.

Kamau, J.W., 2012. The effectiveness of learner support services to distance learners in a primary education diploma: A case study in Botswana. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.

Luhamya, A., Bakkabulindi, F.E.K., Muyinda, P.B., 2017. Integration of ICT in teaching and learning: A review of theories. Makerere J. High. Educ., 9(1), 21-36.

Marshall, G., Cox, M.J., 2008. Research methods: Their design, applicability and reliability. International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education. New York: Springer.

McCarroll, N., Curran, K., 2013. Social networking in education. Int. J. Innovat. Digit. Econ., 4(1), 1-15.

McInnis, C., James, R., Hartley, R., 2000. Trends in the first year experience in Australian universities (In Prebble, T. et al., 2004). Impact of Student Support Services and Academic Development Programmes on Student Outcomes in Undergraduate Tertiary Study: A Synthesis of the Research. Report to the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. 4, 51-86.

McKim, C.A., 2017. The value of mixed methods research: A mixed methods study. J. Mix. Meth. Res., 11(2), 202-222.

Mohammad, M.F.K., Huda, B.H.I., 2008. Toward an information and communication technology development in developing countries. Communications of the IBIMA. 4, 135-140.

Moore, M., Kearsley, G., 2008. Distance education: A systems view (2nd ed.). London: Thomson Wadsworth.

Murali, M.R., 2009. Web-enabled user support services system in distance learning. Proceedings of the International Conference on Interaction Sciences, Information Technology, Culture and Humans, Seoul; Korea.

Panagiotakopolous, C., Lionarakis, A., Xenos, M., 2003. Open distance learning: Tools of information and communication technologies for effective learning. Athens: Greece.

Rahman, H., 2014. The role of ICT in open distance education. Turk. J. Dist. Educ., 15(4), 162-169.

Shenton, A.K., 2004. Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Educ. Inform., 22, 63-75.

Yeasmin, S., 2012. Triangulation’ research method as the tool of social science research. BUP J., 1(1), 154-163.



How to Cite

Sibanda, P. . (2020). MyVista digital platform as an Information and Computer Technology (ICT) tool for student support at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 9(9), 956-964. Retrieved from



Social Sciences

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>