The field of distance learning in higher education is experiencing a new paradigm shift in the methods used by instructors and distance learning administrators to interact and communicate with their students online. As millennials and other traditional students continue to grapple with how to balance work, school and other extracurricular activities, many institutions of higher education are looking for ways to bring the learning to students. Distance learning is, providing access and new opportunities for instructor to students as well as students to students’ active interaction even when they are physically apart. In this research synthesis we explore existing literature for the current trends in distance education in higher education. A research synthesis is defined as the scientific process of integrating empirical research in order to be able to make generalizations concerning a particular topic (Cooper & Hedges, 1993). We will explore the need for distance education as well as current trends in its implementation. In addition to current trends, we will provide examples of technologies and platforms that are available as options in the delivery of distance education. Technologies and platforms that place students in the heart of distance learning and give instructors the opportunity to customize learning to meet students’ needs as well as technologies that also provide flexibility without compromising the quality of education being offered. Furthermore, the authors will identify the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning as a credible educational method of delivery. Implications and recommendations for future research will discussed.
Queen Ogbomo, Tennessee Technological University, United States
Rufaro Chitiyo, Tennessee Technological University, United States
Stream: Technology enhanced and distance learning
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