Special Notice

Considering the prevailing COVID – 19 pandemic situation, the AAOU has decided to offer the following special discounted rate on the Registration Fee for both onsite and online presenters and participants of AAOU2021. Please note that this discounted rate will be applicable only for the year 2021.

AAOU Full and Associate Members US$ 100
Non-AAOU Members US$ 120

As per the current situation, it is planned that the first day of the conference will be both an online and an onsite event, whereas the second and third days of the conference would be entirely online. However, if the Government of Sri Lanka makes any revisions to the travel restrictions in the future, changes may be made in the conference mode.


Closing date for the submission of abstracts has been extended till 15th December 2020 Close
  • The True Essence of Colombo
    Highlights & Hidden Gems

  • Have an amazing view over the Country
    Feel the Blend of Nature & Culture

  • Feel the Breeze, Hear the Ocean, Be at Ease
    Stay at the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka

It is with great pleasure that I announce and welcome delegates to the 34th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU 2021), which is being organized by the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), to be held from 1st to 3rd of June 2021 in the beautiful island of Sri Lanka.

The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is the premier distance education institution in Sri Lanka providing higher educational opportunities to a large spectrum of students in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. Being an institution that promotes lifelong learning, there is no strict admission criteria, other than being over 18 years of age, with the entry point to the university being decided by the prior qualifications of the applicant. The OUSL celebrated its forty (40) years of existence in the year 2020 as a progressive and inclusive educational institution.

The theme of the AAOU 2021 conference is “Opening minds for a sustainable future: Re-orienting ODL to surmount challenges”. This theme relates to the concept of holistic and transformational education as defined by UNESCO including the following:

  • Learning content and outcomes that empower informed decisions and responsible actions on critical issues such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction.
  • Pedagogy and learning environments that focus on learner-centred teaching enabling exploratory, action oriented and transformative learning.
  • Engagement in learning and promoting core competencies such as critical and systematic thinking, collaborative decision making, and taking responsibility for present and future generations.
  • Empowerment of learners of any age, in any educational context, to transform themselves and the society they live in.

These address the Education 2030 Agenda of UNESCO, targeting the Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aiming to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all:

It is our belief that the 34th Annual Conference of AAOU will provide the much-needed forum for Open and Distance Learning (ODL) practitioners, leaders, experts, influencers, providers and decision makers to discuss opportunities, possibilities and challenges, and exchange views and ideas in relation to the progression in achieving the goals of SDG.

Once again on behalf of the Open University of Sri Lanka and Asian Association of Open Universities I look forward to seeing you all at AAOU 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Professor S. Anbahan Ariadurai

The Open University of Sri Lanka

Conference Theme

Opening minds for a sustainable future: Re-orienting ODL to surmount challenges

Sub Themes

Promoting sustainable development through lifelong learning

Increase access and flexibility, improve quality, enhance equity, reorient curricula, facilitate economic growth, social development and environmental protection

Innovations in ODL through smart technologies

e-learning, m- learning, u-learning, digital library, remote access to e-resources, learner- teacher interaction, integration of social media and on-line evaluation

Open Knowledge Movement - implications for ODL

Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Educational Practices (OEP), MOOCs, Open Data, Social Media and Learning Communities

Learner engagement and motivation in ODL- challenges and possibilities

Enhance retention, increase completion rates, facilitate collaborative learning, redefine role of face-to-face components, harness influence of significant others, reorient student support

Best practices in ODL for ESD

Quality assurance, student support services, ICT integration, policies and procedures, capacity and capability development, innovative learning design and creative teaching practices

Learning analytics in ODL: potential and challenges

As a tool for quality assurance, quality improvement, improving learner support and increasing retention rates; ethical issues in use of learning analytics

COL-AAOU 2021 Fellowship Grants

Guidelines for Presenters

Silver Sponsor