Contents in ODL – Are they contextualized and gender responsive?


The learners in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system are mostly isolated and forced-to-work people. Since they left the formal education system long before, they are no longer interested to use the traditional contents. They are eager to learn something that can change/improve their livelihood.  Therefore, the contents in ODL should not be more theoretical; they must be localized and aligned with learners’ current and prospective works. On the other hand, the contents should be gender responsive.  Content development and quality assurance teams must review the contents carefully to ensure that contents are gender responsive and localized. There should be the representation of females in the course development team and also in review team. During content vetting, female participation should be ensured. In total, the contents should be prepared in a way so that they become appropriate and accessible for any gender, any specific communities like people with disabilities regardless their social and cultural positions.
Therefore, contextualization and gender sensitivity compliance of the ODL contents is crucial for the success of ODL. I found contextualized and gender responsive contents are more popular to the learners. Usually, when I prepare my text, video and other materials or even I conduct a tutorial session virtually, I try to use the words carefully so that gender balance is maintained. For example, in my course materials, I used to include cases or success stories of both females and males. The cases I include are fully localized ones – they reflect the true experience of the females and males of the society. Also, within the text or audio-visual contents, I use ‘she/he’ instead of using ‘he’. Similarly, when I use the images into the learning materials, I try to ensure the proper representation of the girls or women in the image.
Could you share how do you make the contents contextualized and gender responsive? I am looking forward to your contribution in this regard. You may add the link of your materials for reference.