Notwithstanding the increasing importance of distance education in contemporary society, studies of distance education often lack solid foundations to sustain theoretical advances in the field. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to revisit five seminal distance education theories and reorganize their tenets into three broad categories: the context of industrial and post-industrial society, distance, and communication. Second, to extend the understanding of these three core concepts, delving deeper into their theoretical foundations which are often borrowed from the domains of philosophy and sociology. The aim of this critical and reflective analysis is to make a contribution to the advance of theory development in the distance education field.
SOURCE: MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching