, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 181-188

Current status of learner support in distance education: emerging issues and directions for future research

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Abstract

This study examines the literature on learner support with the aim of helping institutions of higher education plan and implement support services for distance learners. The following issues emerged as areas of particular importance to future research in distance learner support: 1) the lack of research on cost-effectiveness; 2) the lack of empirical research; and 3) the need for a learner-centered approach in designing and implementing learner support. These issues are discussed in detail to enhance our understanding the role of learner support in post-secondary level distance education programs. It is further argued that future research should focus more on developing and refining methods for cost-benefit analysis of learner support, developing a general framework of the learner support model in dual-mode institutions, and developing systematic methods to identify, analyze, synthesize, and assess the needs of distance learners.