The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning ( is a refereed, open access e-journal that disseminates original research, theory, and best practice in open and distributed learning worldwide. This journal was formerly named the "International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning", the name change from "distance" to "distributed" to emphasise the new focus on openness and particularly on open educational resources (OER).


The library contains articles of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning as of vol. 1(2000) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Distance Learning in Museums: A Review of the Literature

    Ennes, Megan; Lee, Imani (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-24)
    Distance learning has become an important tool in many fields of education. Museums, like other educational institutions, have been offering distance learning programs to their audiences for more than 30 years. This scoping study examined the published literature related to distance learning programs in museums to inform future research in this field. Searches were conducted in three academic databases in addition to journal hand searches. This resulted in 954 unique citations associated with distance learning in museums. Of these, 17 articles met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Forwards and backwards searches resulted in the addition of two books. A search of the research hosted by the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education resulted in one additional study for a total of 20 manuscripts. Upon analysis, four major themes were identified. These included benefits and barriers related to distance learning programs in museums, partnerships, and educators’ changing roles as they relate to distance learning programs. Each of these themes is described and areas for future research are identified. Future work should move beyond the predominately evaluative case studies and pursue larger questions about how future research might support museums as they continue to design and implement online programming. This may include exploring best practices in museum-based distance learning and how to develop effective professional development opportunities for the educators engaged in these programs. Such research will enhance museum-based distance learning programs so that they can continue to support global learners.
  • New Challenge for Initial Training of Mathematics Teachers: The Planning Phase of Mathematics Distance Learning

    Nongni, Gaël (Athabasca University Press, 2021-08-31)
    The scientific literature identifies five challenges related to training teachers: the basics of the constructivist approach, the problematization of mathematical knowledge to be taught, the promotion of interdisciplinarity, the use of digital pedagogical resources in planning teaching, and new skills to be developed due to the arrival of artificial intelligence. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it is appropriate to consider a sixth challenge, notably, training teachers capable of delivering mathematical distance learning courses focused on students’ conceptual understanding. It therefore is necessary to link the stakes of initial training with that of distance learning, which can enhance conceptual understanding. Linking the need to construct knowledge among students with technological tools used for distance learning allows new challenges faced in the planning of mathematics teaching to be highlighted. These new challenges give rise to the anticipation genesis that helps in situating the planning of mathematics teaching between three variables: artifact variables, arrangement variables, and variables related to the nature of the data to be used. These variables are a major asset for the training of the preservice mathematics teacher. Their study in this article allows us to recognize that the choice of technological tools to be used in mathematics distance learning depends greatly on the conceptual analysis of the mathematical knowledge to be taught. This study shows that it is important to rethink and question distance learning for each mathematical concept.
  • A Meta-Analysis on the Effects of Synchronous Online Learning on Cognitive and Affective Educational Outcomes

    Martin, Florence; Sun, Ting; Turk, Murat; Ritzhaupt, Albert (Athabasca University Press, 2021-05-04)
    Synchronous online learning (SOL) provides an opportunity for instructors to connect in real-time with their students though separated by geographical distance. This meta-analysis examines the overall effect of SOL on cognitive and affective educational outcomes, while using asynchronous online learning or face-to-face learning as control groups. The effects are also examined for several moderating methodological, pedagogical, and demographical factors. Following a systematic identification and screening procedure, we identified 19 publications with 27 independent effect sizes published between 2000 and 2019. Overall, there was a statistically significant small effect in favor of synchronous online learning versus asynchronous online learning for cognitive outcomes. However, the other models were not statistically significant in this meta-analysis. The effect size data were normally distributed and significantly moderated by course duration, instructional method, student equivalence, learner level, and discipline. Implications for educational practice and research are included.
  • Is the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course Accessible and Effective for Everyone? Native Versus Non-Native English Speakers

    Kim, Sarang; Bindoff, Aidan; Farrow, Maree; McInerney, Fran; Borchard, Jay; Doherty, Kathleen (Athabasca University Press, 2021-04-21)
    Most massive open online courses (MOOCs) are offered in English, including those offered by non-English speaking universities. The study investigated an identified English language dementia MOOC’s accessibility and effectiveness in improving the dementia knowledge of non-native English speaker participants. A total of 6,389 enrolees (age range 18–82 years; 88.4% female) from 67 countries was included in analyses. Dementia knowledge was measured by the Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) before and after the MOOC completion. Rates of completion were also compared. Native English speakers (n = 5,320) were older, more likely to be female, less likely to be employed, and had lower educational attainment than non-native English speakers (n = 1025). Native English speakers were also more likely to care for or have cared for a family member or friend living with dementia than were non-native English speakers. Native English speakers had a significantly higher DKAS score both pre- (M = 33.0, SD = 9.3) and post-MOOC (M = 44.2, SD = 5.5) than did non-native English speakers (M = 31.7, SD = 9.1; and M = 40.7, SD = 7.7 for pre- and post-MOOC, respectively). Non-native English speakers with low pre-MOOC dementia knowledge scores gained significantly less dementia knowledge following course completion than did native English speakers (p <.001, adjusted for age and education). There was no significant difference between the two groups in their likelihood of completing the MOOC. Our findings suggest that non-native English speakers are motivated and able to complete the MOOC at similar rates to native English speakers, but the MOOC is a more effective educational intervention for native English speakers with low dementia knowledge.
  • Development and Evaluation of an Open-Source, Online Training for the Measurement of Adult-Child Responsivity at Home and in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings

    Rodrigues, Michelle; Schneider, Alessandra; Sokolovic, Nina; Brunsek, Ashley; Oré , Beatriz; Perlman, Michal; Jenkins, Jennifer (Athabasca University Press, 2021-04-27)
    Efforts to monitor and improve responsive caregiving for young children, because of its importance for child development, are part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Two brief observational measures of responsive caregiving have been developed and validated (Responsive Interactions for Learning—parent [RIFL-P] and educator [RIFL-Ed] versions), with the RIFL-P available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. The aim of the current study was to present and evaluate two online training programs for the RIFL measures. These distance learning courses were designed as open-source and asynchronous to enable their use in low- and middle-income countries and remote areas. The following course components are used: readings, lectures, observation of interactions on video, coding practice with automated feedback on item coding, and quizzes. Of the 76 trainees who registered for one of the online courses, 58 (76%) completed all theoretical module components. Student performance was generally high. Marks on quizzes ranged between 83%–100%. Ninety percent of those who took the reliability tests passed (40/44). Student satisfaction during and after the course was high. The effective online training programs are available free of charge and the RIFL suite of measures is efficient to implement. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
  • Instructor Presence and Student Satisfaction Across Modalities: Survey Data on Student Preferences in Online and On-Campus Courses

    Glazier, Rebecca A.; Harris, Heidi Skurat (Athabasca University Press, 2021-05-03)
    Post-COVID-19, many, if not most, college and university instructors teach both online and face-to-face, and, given that online courses historically have higher attrition rates, designing and facilitating effective online courses is key to student retention. Students need online and on-campus courses that are well designed and facilitated, but even well-designed classes can be ineffective if students feel lost in the course or disengaged from the instructor. We surveyed 2,007 undergraduate students at a public, metropolitan university in the United States about the best and worst classes they had taken at the university. The resulting data revealed important consistencies across modalities—such as the importance of clear instructions and instructor availability. However, students responded that instructors matter more in face-to-face courses, where they can establish personal relationships with students, whereas assignments “stand in” for instructors in online classes. These findings support the need for increased faculty professional development in online course design and facilitation focused on student experience as well as faculty expertise.
  • Facebook or LMS in Distance Education? Why University Students Prefer to Interact in Facebook Groups

    Esteban Vázquez-Cano; Paz Díez-Arcón (Athabasca University Press, 2021-04-28)
    This article describes an investigation into the level of satisfaction among students at Spain’s National Distance Education University (UNED) regarding use of Facebook groups as an environment for learning. Based on a structural equation methodology, the research analyzed the most relevant personal and socio-educational factors that affect satisfaction. The sample consisted of 418 undergraduate and master’s degree students at UNED’s Faculty of Education; participants were consulted in three semesters between September 2019 and January 2021. The results showed that students who participated in Facebook study groups achieved better results than those who did not, and that they interacted more frequently in these groups than in UNED’s official learning management system. The main latent variables that influenced satisfaction with Facebook study groups were the perception of efficacy they elicited as a complement to distance learning by enabling greater interaction with other students, and the feeling of course companionship they provided. The absence of teacher control also influenced student satisfaction, which allowed students to focus on learning and achieving better results in tests and exams.  
  • What Motivates Students About Open Pedagogy? Motivational Regulation Through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory

    Werth, Eric; Williams, Katherine (Athabasca University Press, 2021-08-23)
    Open pedagogy is growing in popularity as an instructional method to decentralize classroom power dynamics, engage students, and provide greater meaning to student work. To investigate the impact of open pedagogy on motivation, interviews were conducted with first-year college students at a four-year liberal arts college after completing a semester-long project based on this pedagogical approach. Student responses were assessed using self-determination theory as a theoretical framework, particularly in relation to the motivation regulatory styles displayed by research participants. Results indicate that students experienced various forms of extrinsic motivation during the project based on open pedagogy, with autonomous forms of regulation being more prevalent than controlled regulation. Interview data also suggest that agency plays a role in mediating the internalization of student motivation. Based on these findings, suggestions are provided to the design of assignments in general and open pedagogy specifically to enhance development of autonomous forms of motivation.  
  • Knowledge Marketplaces: An Analysis of the Influence of Business Models on Instructors’ Motivations and Strategies

    Cisel, Matthieu Tenzing; Pontalier, David (Athabasca University Press, 2021-04-27)
    Unlike MOOC platforms such as Coursera or edX, which typically partner with institutions of higher education, online knowledge marketplaces allow anyone to broadcast courses and charge for them. In this article, we investigate, through a mixed-method approach, the motivations and strategies of the instructors of Udemy and Skillshare. Semi-structured interviews and a quantitative analysis of the characteristics of Skillshare’s courses, obtained using a Web scraper, suggest that while a significant proportion of the marketplace’s instructors are outreach driven, the majority are income driven. They develop strategies to maximize their revenues, notably by adapting the characteristics of their courses, such as the number of videos, to the business model of the platform. Courses are shorter on Skillshare than on Udemy, where instructors’ incomes are proportional to the number of registrations. We hypothesize that the latter platform’s business model incentivizes instructors to create longer courses in order to attract wider audiences.  
  • Editorial - Volume 22, Issue 3

    McGreal, Rory (Athabasca University Press, 2021-08-23)
  • Video Lectures: An Analysis of Their Useful Life Span and Sustainable Production

    Santos Espino, José Miguel; Guerra Artal, Cayetano; González Betancor, Sara María (Athabasca University Press, 2021-04-28)
    The learning effectiveness of video lectures has been extensively studied by the scientific community, but research on their cost-effectiveness and sustainable production is still very scarce. To shed light on these aspects, this study has measured the useful life span and cost-effectiveness of a large catalog of video lectures produced for undergraduate courses at a Spanish university. A Kaplan–Meier survival analysis has been performed to identify factors linked to video longevity. The analysis accounted for variables such as the video production style (screencast, slideshow, chalk and talk, talking head, and on-location film) and others such as the instructional purpose and field of knowledge. The teachers involved in video production and integration have been surveyed to discover causes of video obsolescence. In addition, using life span and production cost data, the cost-effectiveness of each production style over time was estimated. The results suggest that production style affects video longevity, and in particular, dynamic visuals are more related to longer life spans compared with static contents. Screencast stands out as the most cost-effective production style, having the best ratio of life span to production effort. Some practical suggestions are provided for producing video lectures with higher longevity expectations.  
  • Instructor Impact on Differences in Teaching Presence Scores in Online Courses

    Fiock, Holly; Maeda, Yukiko; Richardson, Jennifer C. (Athabasca University Press, 2021-08-23)
    Using three interdependent constructs: social, cognitive, and teaching presence, the Community of Inquiry framework is a theoretical process model of online learning. Specifically, teaching presence contains three sub-elements—(a) facilitation of discourse, (b) direct instruction, and (c) instructional design and organization—that work together to create a collaborative-constructivist learning environment. Data from the Community of Inquiry survey from 160 learners in 11 course sections were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine whether statistically significant differences existed in teaching presence scores between sections of two online courses with identical course design taught by different instructors. Results showed significant differences between individual instructors’ teaching presence scores for each of the two courses. Specifically, significant differences were found in each sub-element of teaching presence except for one course’s instructional design and organization. Conceptual and methodological explanations of the findings are provided, and implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
  • Design Matters: Development and Validation of the Online Course Design Elements (OCDE) Instrument

    Martin, Florence; Bolliger, Doris U.; Flowers, Claudia (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-18)
    Course design is critical to online student engagement and retention. This study focused on the development and validation of an online course design elements (OCDE) instrument with 38 Likert-type scale items in five subscales: (a) overview, (b) content presentation, (c) interaction and communication, (d) assessment and evaluation, and (e) learner support. The validation process included implementation with 222 online instructors and instructional designers in higher education. Three models were evaluated which included a one-factor model, five-factor model, and higher-order model. The five-factor and higher-order models aligned with the development of the OCDE. The frequency of use of OCDE items was rated above the mean 4.0 except for two items on collaboration and self-assessment. The overall OCDE score was related to self-reported levels of expertise but not with years of experience. The findings have implications for the use of this instrument with online instructors and instructional designers in the design of online courses.
  • Book Review: Guidelines on the Development of Open Educational Resources Policies

    Demirbağ, İrem; Sezgin, Sedef (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-28)
  • Editorial - Volume 22, Issue 2

    Blomgren, Constance (Athabasca University Press, 2021-05-03)
  • What Is Open Pedagogy? Identifying Commonalities

    Tietjen, Phil; Asino, Tutaleni I. (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-01)
    Open pedagogy has been touted by advocates as a promising expansion of open educational resources because it involves shifting from making resources accessible to impacting the practice of teaching. The allure of the term coupled with its promise to bring greater innovation to pedagogy has led to its widespread use at conferences and publications. However, as the concept has gained increasing levels of popularity, it has also sparked considerable debate as to what it means. For example, how is open pedagogy distinct from other forms of pedagogy such as critical or cultural? What does it mean to practice open pedagogy? Without a clear understanding of its meaning, establishing a solid research foundation on which to make claims about the impact of open pedagogy approaches is difficult. Accordingly, this article argues that the current debate signals the need for the development of robust analytical frameworks in order to construct a cohesive body of research that can be used to advance it as a field of study. To do this, the authors review the literature and identify common characteristics within it. The authors then propose a five-part framework that encourages the long-term sustainability of open pedagogy.
  • Impact of Changes in Teaching Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Effect of Integrative E-Learning on Readiness for Change and Interest in Learning Among Indonesian University Students

    Prasetyo, Anggun Resdasari; Nurtjahjanti, Harlina; Ardhiani, Lusi Nur (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-26)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to conduct online learning, requiring lecturers to create innovative e-learning methods and students to be ready to adapt and show high interest in learning. This study aimed to examine the effect of an integrative e-learning method on students’ readiness and interest in learning at Universitas Diponegoro, Indonesia. This research was experimental, designed with one group pretest and posttest, and no control group. As many as 190 students participated, selected using clustered random sampling. Two measurement scales were used: the readiness for change scale and the interest in learning scale. The statistical analysis technique used was a paired sample t-test. The results of paired sample t-test analysis on readiness for change (p = 0.000; p < 0.05) and interest in learning (p = 0.000; p < 0.05) showed significant differences between the pretest and posttest data. The findings indicated that students who participate in integrative e-learning show significant change in the level of readiness and interest in learning.
  • Evaluation of Open Educational Resources for an Introductory Exercise Science Course

    Hillman, Angela R.; Brooks, Anna R.; Barr, Marcus; Strycker, Jesse (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-25)
    While open educational resources (OER) have gained popularity, nearly three quarters of faculty are not aware they are available for use. However, when used, they are well received and do not negatively impact quality of learning. OER can be used within a variety of platforms, including software that aims to be more interactive and engage students in active learning and assessment. One such platform is Top Hat, which was used by the authors of this study to develop a textbook for an introductory exercise science course. We assessed student’s perceptions of Top Hat and barriers to use for reading their textbook and for class assessments over the course of two years. A total of 486 students were registered for this course. Although two thirds of students had previous experience with Top Hat and half of those used the textbook feature, students (n = 39, 38%) were apprehensive about reading their textbook online via Top Hat. However, these feelings resolved as students became comfortable with the platform’s features. Nearly 80% of students have sometimes or never acquired their textbooks before the start of the semester, despite 96% who expressed the importance of having their materials accessible online and available on or before the first day of the course. This indicated that students understood the importance of having their materials for the start of the semester, however they perceived the barriers of purchasing books to be greater. Therefore, using OER and Top Hat removed student learning barriers and had potential to increase course participation and success.
  • A Scoping Review on Open Educational Resources to Support Interactions of Learners with Disabilities

    Moon, Jewoong; Park, Yujin (Athabasca University Press, 2021-03-17)
    This scoping review explored the trends in open educational resources (OER) that support the interactions of learners with disabilities and the challenges of supporting these interactions in such environments. Emerging OER and open educational practices allow learners to interact with digital learning resources in self-regulated learning. Since OER assume learners’ self-regulation, research has explored how to promote learner interactions to facilitate better engagement and motivation. Emerging research on OER-enabled pedagogy corroborate this trend. However, despite increasing interest in OER and open educational practices, few studies have demonstrated how OER support various types of interactions for learners with disabilities. Learners with disabilities are likely to experience challenges in interacting with OER due to their modality constraints. A comprehensive literature synthesis is essential to investigate the needs of learners with disabilities in their interactions in OER. In this study, we reviewed and synthesized existing research on how OER and open educational practices support the interactions of learners with disabilities across different OER platforms. Our findings suggest both research and design implications for future OER designs suited for learners with disabilities.

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