International Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 289–302 | Cite as

An empirical study of challenges in online distance education in Saudi Arabia

  • Sulafah Basahel
  • Abdullah Basahel
Original Research


Information communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly improving and increasing human activities. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) around the world are using these technologies to enhance learning experiences and overcome geographical barriers in the creation and delivery of educational knowledge. In this context, online distance education (ODE) has become popular in HEIs as process of education that can help them achieve international prestige as well as increase their student numbers via ICT-based learning. However, successful implementation of ODE using ICT presents a number of challenges. This paper explores challenges of institutional, technological, cultural and learner, whose manifestations can vary from one country to another using Checkland soft systems methodology as a learning methodology. We present an empirical examination of ODE challenges in the Saudi cultural context in King Abdulaziz University during the academic year 2014–2015. The outcome of the empirical work addresses additional challenges that will help future designers and managers of ODE towards successful ODE implementation.


Online distance education Challenges Higher Education Institutions Soft systems methodology Information systems Saudi Arabia 


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Copyright information

© Bharati Vidyapeeth's Institute of Computer Applications and Management 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information Systems ManagementJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and AdministrationKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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