School of Open, Distance and eLearning (SODeL) was initially the Continuing education at JKUAT which was overseen by Continuing Education Programme (CEP), which was a section in JKUAT. CEP was established in 1996 to cater for self-sponsored students (who were not admitted through the Joint Admissions Board) undertaking skill based programmes. These students are undertaking Post-graduate, Undergraduate, Diploma and Certificate programmes, which are offered in collaboration with JKUAT, approved institutions situated around the country.

Due to the increased need to offer the programmes at a global level, Open, Distance and eLearning (ODeL) was established. It provides access to all persons interested in improving their education irrespective of their prior education level, age and location. At the global level, the potential of ODEL has been exploited through utilization of ICT to support teaching and learning. The demand for education has continued to soar against a background of diminishing resources, thereby necessitating the development of cost effective approaches such as ODeL.

In its vision 2030, Kenya has committed itself to the expansion of ICT infrastructure as an integral component of development. Besides providing employment opportunities, ICT will support competitive production of goods and services such as education. The increased enrollment in both primary and secondary schools following the introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE) in Kenya in 2003 will be expected to intensify the problem of access to higher education. Alternatives have to be sought of creating more opportunities to accommodate the needs of the growing numbers of applicants. Vision 2030 expects institutions of higher learning to play a pivotal role in developing a critical mass of human resource to drive the nation towards the vision.