The impact of staff development interventions on teaching and learning at a South African Technikon
The focus of this research, PIL 72 (Building institutional capacity through staff development) was active at the Eastern Cape Technikon (ECT), a tertiary institution of higher learning in the Eastern Province, South Africa from 1999 to 2001. The project addressed curriculum and staff development with the ultimate aim of improving institutional capacity. This was done through a series of training sessions for a group of 22 participants over eighteen months in Outcomes Based Education (OBE). This research investigated the impact of PIL 72 on the teaching and learning practices at the ECT. Literature was reviewed on aspects of staff development, curriculum development, assessment reform, instructional improvement and project evaluation. Qualitative research was conducted with stakeholders at the institution. Data was gathered through interviews, questionnaires and document analysis. The major findings indicated that the benefit for participants resulting from participation in the TELP project was mainly personal; the project was to some extent successful in equipping participants with the required knowledge but not the wide academic corps; the format of the staff development activities was adequate but lacked sufficient monitoring and feedback mechanisms; developmental academic leadership, especially at Head of Department level, was absent at the institution and that institutional culture both influenced and hampered institutional learning. Recommendations for implementation and possible further research are made. The research revealed that institutional culture plays a crucial role in the degree to which institutional learning takes place. Further research in this regard is recommended at institutions with similar organizational characteristics as Eastern Cape Technikon, to explore the extent to which institutional culture influences institutional learning as well as alternative staff delivery modes that can be used at institutions of higher learning.