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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

With distance learning increasing in popularity across the country and the world, a review of the extant literature as it relates to distance learning and face-to-face learning is warranted. In particular, this paper examined distance learning, including a historical overview, prevailing themes in past research, and studies relating the importance of the community concept in distance education. Also analyzed were research studies in which the importance of culture and values were addressed. Subsequently, the rationale for the development of instruments to quantify values, including the Schwartz Value Scale (SVS), was provided. Growth in online education has created an environment where educators must meet new challenges while having little practical experience. Research, then, is – and will be – needed to guide future practice and pedagogy. Therefore, to provide institutions with much-needed information about the value profile of the distance-learning student, it is essential that research on student values is performed. This information could aid in the creation and implementation of programs aimed at increasing student success and decreasing student withdrawals. In sociological terms, then, distance-learning courses would meet the criteria set forth for societies: courses are groupings of individuals living or participating in a territorial space. Furthermore, courses contain formal, and develop informal, structures that regulate the allocation of rewards.

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