Application of a Systems Approach to Distance Education

Teresa A Daniel


Systems science provides a tool for understanding relationships between things and not looking for a single answer to a problem within the confines of a single discipline. In postmodern science, understanding the whole involves understanding the parts, but also examining the interrelations between the parts.

Distance education manifests certain system characteristics which include: complexity, hierarchy, dynamism, nonlinearity, self-organization as well as both chaos and order.

This paper will review the relevant theories and literature and apply a systems approach to the study of distance education in an attempt to understand the interrelationship between the systems and subsystems that make up a complex distance learning program.


Distance education, systems approach, systems view

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