A Systems Approach to the Future of Distance Education in Colleges and Universities: Research, Development, and Implementation

September 3, 2012


In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the popularity of distance education among higher-education administrators. Students in growing numbers are also taking advantage of the flexibility and accessibility that distance education offers. This growth, however, has been a mixed blessing since it derives from using the Internet without fully taking advantage of personalized instruction and learning that the telecommunication and computer nexus offers. Thus, many institutions are disregarding the most valuable aspect of digital technologies in education.

In most cases, colleges and universities offer a one-size-fits-all curriculum through information and communication technologies. This model of curriculum is a relic of the industrial era when standardization of products and services was highly valued in advanced economies. Today, however, in many sectors the economy of the United States either has already transitioned into a post-industrial era or is in the process of completing such a transition (Saba, 1997). In such an advanced economy, those who can think independently are rewarded far more than those who conform to a predetermined industrial mold. Yet, the standard model of curriculum design offered through a one-size-fits-all academic schedule completely ignores this fundamental need for learners.

Continuing Higher Education Review

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