The advent of information and communication technologies has created a number of tensions and challenges for many providers of open and distance learning (ODL). This paper discusses the impact of these emergent tensions and challenges on a small developed nation - New Zealand. Specifically, the paper examines the cost of infrastructure, the use of information technology, the requirement for economies of scale and the move from a highly competitive environment to one built on collaboration. There has been an unambiguous message delivered that open and distance learning is the only way to create an educated population in a timely manner, thereby breaking the poverty cycle. However, the costs of establishing a technological infrastructure and achieving economies of scale could mean the new technologies may be unattainable for many. It also creates a risk that small developed nations could slip backwards if they cannot afford to maintain or improve their level of ODL delivery. This means computerised technologies may not be the most effective means of delivery, at least in the short term. The experience of New Zealand is discussed in an effort to provide guidance for policy makers and educators when considering the most effective modes of delivery of open and distant learning.
McNally, B. A. (2007). Is new always better? The tensions and challenges created by new technologies in a small developed nation. In 12th Cambridge Conference on Open and Distance Learning, Cambridge, England.