- Asian distance education,
- distance learner support,
- quality assurance,
- student support
Research indicates that distance education (DE) students regard learner support systems as the key element in quality provision. This study sought to identify the key concerns of Asian DE students regarding support provision in different types of DE and dual-mode providers and formulate a student support model which took account of gender issues. An online survey was conducted with 1,113 distance learners in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong SAR China, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand which required them to respond to open-ended questions regarding their main concerns over the quality of distance education. Their responses were analyzed with Nvivo 2.0 based on the framework of the Atkins (2008) ARCS model of distance learner support. It was found that in assessing the quality of DE the students valued 13 types of student support across five domains: affective, reflective, cognitive, systemic, and gender-considerate. It was also confirmed that there were gender differences in the students’ perceptions of the need for student support. Building on these findings, an elaborated model for student support for Asian distance learners was developed from a systems perspective, and from this, a list of supporting strategies was proposed.
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