Open learning and distance learning
Published on: Monday, August 29, 2022
By: K Krishnan
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YOU would have heard of Open Learning Programmes and Distance Learning Programmes. Today let us learn more about these educational routes. 

Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system is a system wherein teachers and learners need not necessarily be present either at same place or same time and is flexible in regard to modalities and timing of teaching and learning as also the admission criteria without compromising necessary quality considerations

When did ODL start in Malaysia?

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak has prompted universities in Malaysia to take a step to implement online teaching and learning in line with the instruction of the Ministry of Higher Education not to conduct face-to-face lectures but to take advantage of Online and Distance Learning (ODL) method.

Does Malaysia accept online degrees?

Pursuing your tertiary studies online is an excellent alternate route to obtaining your academic degree. Online education programmes are popular among working professionals in Malaysia, as most of them are designed as part-time online degree courses.

What are the advantages of open/ distance learning?

Perhaps the most immediately obvious advantage of distance education is the level of flexibility it provides for students. In general, remote learning tends to require more independent study and because modern distance education is usually online-based, students have more control over both when and where they study.

Why is open distance learning important?

Open and distance learning is important for providing greater access to education, but it has also proved time and again to be a successful mode of higher education, although not necessarily recognised by students and governments around the world.

What are the challenges of 

open distance learning?
  • Ineffective Time Management.
  • Lack of Instant Communication.
  • Not Receiving Timely Feedback.
  • Not Receiving Clear Instructions or Expectations.
  • Share Time Management Apps and Resources for Students.
  • Utilise Educational Technology (“EdTech”)
  • Increase Peer Review.

Who offers ODL programmes in Malaysia?

There are many colleges and universities, which offers ODL Programmes. Let us browse through some of these institutions. The most popular amongst all is the Open University Malaysia (OUM).


According to Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang, the President/Vice-Chancellor of OUM,  “Established in 2000, OUM is the country’s seventh private university. What is so special about OUM is that we are owned by a consortium of Malaysia’s first 11 public universities. This gives us the unique advantage of being able to benefit from the prestige and expertise of our stakeholders. For learners, this means we have the resources to make our programmes the best they can be, with input and contribution from subject-matter experts throughout the country.”


Currently OUM offers 28 Undergraduate Programmes and 26 postgraduates’ programmes. It also offers 5 new programmes:  

l Bachelor of Marketing with Honours l Bachelor Of Digital Media Design With Honours l Diploma in Accounting l  Bachelor of Political Science with Honours lBachelor of Liberal Studies with Honours

How to apply or register?

You can visit the OUM Learning Centres for more information on the courses and the fees. The officers there will provide you the necessary guidance. The nearest centres are at:

1.  Open University Malaysia (Sabah Learning Centre)

Address Block A, Lot 1 – 10, Jalan Lintas, Kepayan Highway, Lintas Jaya Uptownship, 88200, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Phone 011-2669 3649.

E-mail: [email protected]

2. Open University Malaysia 

(Sandakan Learning Centre)

Jalan Utara, Batu 1 ½, 90000, 

Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

Phone : 013-890 2205

E-mail: [email protected]

3. Open University Malaysia (Kota Marudu Learning Centre )

Lot 22 Ground Floor Langkon Commercial Centre Simpang 3, Langkon 89100 Kota Marudu 89100 Langkon,

4. Open University Malaysia ( Tawau Learning Centre )

6, Lorong Bandar Sri Indah 1, 91000 Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia, 089-751 300

Wawasan Open University (WOU) 

WOU is another Open Learning University in Malaysia. The University was established in 2006 to deliver quality higher education via open distance learning (ODL) to working adults. WOU welcomed its first intake of students in January 2007.  Currently WOU offers the following programmes:

l Graduate Diploma in Electronics l Graduate Diploma in Telecommunication l Diploma in Early Childhood Education l Postgraduate Diploma in Education l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Construction Management l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Information Systems l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Electronics l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Multimedia Design l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Networks and Data Communication l Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Studies l Bachelor of Education (Hons) in Primary Education l Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in LLBeral Studies l Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology l  Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Business Information Systems l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking and Finance l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Sales and Marketing l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management l Bachelor of Business (Hons) (Corporate Administration) l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management l Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Human Resource Management l Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Telecommunications l Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Mechatronics l Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) l Bachelor of Information Technology in Networking l Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration (CeMBA) l Master of Business Administration in Construction Management l Doctor of Business Administration 

All WOU programmes are approved by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and the Ministry of Higher Education.

For further information on courses and registration contact:

Wawasan Open University

54, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah

10050 Penang

Tel : 04-2180 333 (Monday-Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm)

Fax : 04-226 9323

Email: [email protected]

Toll Free Careline at 1300-888-968 (WOU)  

WhatsApp: 019-4749323

WOU has a learning center in Kota Kinabalu. For more details on WOU programmes  contact:

Almacrest International College

Suite 1-8-E9, 8th Floor, CPS Tower, Centre Point Sabah

No. 1, Jalan Centre Point,

88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Tel: 088-312 223

Fax: 088-312 322

Email: [email protected]

Career Tips 

We will look at other institutions offering distance and open learning programmes in our next article.  If you have a question related to careers, write to [email protected] 

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