The Physical Learning Environment of Online Distance Learners in Higher Education – A Conceptual Model

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20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Online distance learning is offered not only in post-secondary distance education institutions but in traditional universities as well. With advances in mobile and wireless technologies, completing academic studies anywhere anytime should become feasible. Research in distance education and online learning has focused on computer-mediated communication, instructional design, learner characteristics, educational technology, and learning outcomes. However, little attention has been given to where exactly learners do their learning and studying and how the physical and social aspects of the physical environment within which the online learner is physically embedded (e.g., the home) supports and constrains learning activities. In this paper, the author proposes a conceptual model for understanding the role that the physical environment plays in online distance learning in higher education, drawing on theories and research in environmental psychology, online learning, telework and mobile work, and higher education. Several gaps in research are identified, and suggestions for future research are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number635117
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep. 2021

Keywords

  • distance education
  • higher education
  • mobile learner
  • online learner
  • physical learning environment

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