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E3S Web of Conferences

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In this opinion piece, the authors critically consider the transition to the ‘emergency model’ of distance education (DE), forced by the pandemic and associated restrictions to our daily life, paying special attention to its potential pitfalls. The authors argue in favour of more careful approach to DE design and implementation over the ‘one size fits all’ solution. The data from previous meta-analyses in the field of DE and technology integration in education are briefly summarized to provide research-based support for the following observations: (1) students’ academic achievements in DE are largely associated with the interactivity factor, which is also instrumental in preventing excessive drop-out rates; (2) the flexibility factor that largely predetermined the initial rise and rapid proliferation of DE should be maintained to avoid negative side-effects, including student’ dissatisfaction and drop-out; (3) pedagogical factors, imbedded in careful instructional design, outweigh technological affordances, especially since the latter require properly organized and managed infrastructure, adequate training for teachers an students, and sufficient time to be efficiently adopted in formal education to reveal its potential for successful teaching and learning; (4) vast variability of meta-analytical findings, even with the most favourable to DE average point estimates, do not only present educational system with pleasing promises, but also call for serious caution as the negative effect sizes are almost equally prevalent as the positive ones. In conclusion, the paper reminds educational practitioners and policy makers: what comes to life out of necessity does not necessarily present viable solutions in the long run.


EDP Sciences





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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series

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Education Commons