Open learning systems for the continuing education of professionals in Malaysia
The present provision of continuing education for professionals in the form of periodicals, journals, seminars, conferences, talks and in-service programmes, do not always address specific needs and problems of individual professionals. On the basis that there are basically two types of needs involved in this case, for instance, national or managerial needs and the other being specific individual needs, the thesis has attempted to establish, a priori, the increasing need for professionals to keep up-to-date with developments and generally to ensure satisfactory standards of performance in practice, and that whilst the in-service and refresher courses provided by the government or central agency in Malaysia provides for the national individual needs, which may not be included.In response to this gap in the provision for the continuing education of professionals in Malaysia, this thesis provides the specifications for the provision of continuing education programmes for professionals in Malaysia. Two pilot project materials, one for Malaysian general practitioners in private service, and the other for Malaysian primary school teachers of English, were implemented to test the criteria for the provision of continuing education for professionals in Malaysia. The criteria for continuing education programmes for professionals in Malaysia include:Opening up new opportunities for learning for professionals.Providing accessible provision which is convenient to use.In response to specific needs of the professionals the materials should be:-(i) relevant;(ii) beneficial in terms of return for time invested;(iii) individualised in terms of needs and feedback;(iv) self-assessed; and,(v) reasonably priced.Administrative and learner support should be available at the providing institutional level and also at the regional level and learner support should be made available in a variety of modes.Professionals involved in continuing education programmes on non-credit basis, but the materials should allow for certification. There could be provision for assessment on credit basis, but this would be optional.Publicity and information regarding the provision should reach the target population.The provision should be collaborative between the providing agencies and institutions or other.Although the pilot projects to test the criteria were implemented for doctors in the community and primary school teachers of English, there seem no reasons to suggest that the criteria for open learning systems for continuous education provision presented in this thesis could not be applied in other professions as well in Malaysia.