Nebraska Network 21


Date of this Version

April 1999


To provide a strong philosophical and policy basis for developing distance education opportunities, distance educators across Nebraska identified and ranked future research and evaluation needs/issues for distance education. In the area of planning, major interests focused on identifying ways to promote better cooperation among institutions so both technology utilization and distance education programming can be coordinated more effectively. As the coordination and cooperation for programming and technology use improve, it is important to identify the impact the improved strategy has on learners. In the area of structuring, major interests appear to concentrate on effective strategies for successful distance learning experiences; the support needed from the educational institution; and, training needs for distance education teachers. In the area of implementation, the main themes focused on learner issues, instructional delivery, administration and quality control. In the area of outcome needs, major interests focused on assessing outcomes in formal higher education courses and K-12. There is less interest in assessing outcomes of non-formal professional and personal growth workshops. Documenting participation and completion rates were viewed as important, as was identifying effective and fair teacher evaluation processes. In the area of general education, it is seen as very important to assess how to include training on adult education theory and practice so the distance education instructors become more action-oriented, to identify if distance education creates changes in the learning process, to study how the change process is managed by students, and to identify how distance education can facilitate lifelong learning. Creating a long-term vision about educational systems is very important as is integrating distance education into strategic plans.