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Creat ive Educati on
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 61-66
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ce) DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.38b014
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Critical Success Factors for Online Distance Learning in Higher
Education: A Review of the Literature
Bus s akorn Cheawjindakar n1, Praw e en ya S uwan natthachote2, Anuchai Theera roung ch ais ri3
1Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
2Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Email: bussakornonline@g m a il .co m , prawe e ny a@g mail .co m , an uc ha i @g m ail .co m
Received 20 1 2
The aim of this paper is to specify the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Online Distance Learning
(ODL) in Higher Education (HE). Research methodology was analyzing and synthesizing the literature
review. The literatures were reviewed to determine items relevant to online learning success as imple-
mentation, criteria and indicator. A total of 19 papers, published during 2000-2012, were selected from
Chulal ongkor n Uni versi ty refer ence da ta bases . Data analysi s method was usi ng one of t he pop ular analy-
sis t echni q ues for qua lit ati ve res ear c h wor ks or the c ontent a nal ysis . The r esul t s on t he CSFs for ODL can
be group ed i nto 5 f a ctor s: 1) i nsti tuti ona l mana ge ment, 2) l ear ni ng envi r onment , 3 ) ins truc ti onal des ign, 4)
services sup port and 5) cour se evaluation. E ach of these 5 f actors includes several important elements tha t
can ass ist to enha nce ef ficiency of onl ine lea rni ng cours es in higher educa tion ins titut ions. It is a concr ete
appr oac h to lea d func ti ons of an onli ne ins t it ute or cour se i n all levels to t he s a me direc tions f or achi eving
the success of the institute‘s vision, and make staffs and executives know what they have to do for the
success of onl ine dista nce learning.
Key words: Critical Success Fact or; Online Learning; Distance Educati on; Higher Educati on
The growth in information technology (IT) rapidly changed
the world. Accordingly, the teaching and learning in universi-
ties are adapted to keep up with the changes in communications
and information technology for the development of quality
education. This is to accommodate stakeholder groups (e.g.
students, instructors, institute administrators, technical staffs,
team producers, etc) to involve in their educational institutions.
The internet has been used as a powerful tool to increase the
accessibility to education for people around the world. Univer-
sities utilize and integrate forms of online learning, which re-
quires access to th e internet, as a new ped agogy form is differ-
ent from traditional ones. “Online learning occurs in response
to distance education” (Malithong, 2005: 203). Online learning,
also known in another terms as “e-Learnin g”, is the delivery of
course content via electronic media (Khan, 2001; Harasim,
2003). Many higher education institutions are seeing the move
on to e-Learning that had saved cost by merging traditional
courses with online learning innovations (Selim, 2005; Rudes-
tam & Schoenholtz, 2010: 370). It will be interesting to see
how the increased use of online learning will fully affect dis-
tance education enrolments in institutions (Ba tes, 20 05: 13-14).
Therefore, the study of factors that affect critical success for
ODL is important for many stakeholder groups. There are sev-
eral factors need to be considered when developing and imple-
menting for the succes s of distance learning in online cour s es .
Online Distance Learning
ODL is one of the new learning trends; a learning approach
widely adopted in academic institutions. The majority of, if not
all, in struction t akes place online and there are no requir ements
for face-to-face meetings between students and instructors,
either i n the classro om or via video during the course (Arabasz
& Bake, 2003: 2). ODL technologies allows the delivery of
learning resources or communications between instructors and
students which may be applied either to the learning technology
itself, or to online pedagogical methods (Catherall, 2005: 2,
196). Online courses are defined as having at least 80% of the
course content delivered online, typically, with a little or none
fac e -to-face learning (e.g. course management system (CMS),
video conferences, etc) (Arabasz & Bake, 2003: 2; Moore &
Kearsley, 2005; Allen & Seaman, 2005: 4; Puteh, 2008; Kocur
& Kosc, 2009: 21; Charmonman, 2006: 6-7). Online learning is
a combination of courses delivered through a CMS or web-
based and print-based texts and workbooks. Learning is facili-
tated by an instructor who keeps in touch with students through
the online conferencing system and e-mail (Niagara College
Canada, 2012) that occurs in the human-computer interaction,
allows access to content and educational tools and, if well done,
can encourage development of a much more detailed and so-
phisticated understanding. (Rudestam & Schoenholtz, 2010:
194-198). The benefits of ODL include: 1) 24 hour access to
information, 2) up-to-date content materials, 3) self-paced
learning, 4) customized courses, and 5) cost effectiveness
(Puthe, 2008: 6).
Thus, it appears to be overwhelming and help to explain why
institutions alike have factors to success as part of their strate-
gies of online learning.
Critical Success Factors
CSFs first appeared in the literature in the 1980s when there
B. CHEAWJINDAKARN ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
was interest in the reason why some organizations appeared to
be more successful than other s, and research was carried out to
investigate the components of these success factors (Ingram,
Biermann, Cannon, Neil & Waddle, 2000; Selim, 2007: 397;
Puri, 2011: 1502). Therefore, CSF s are necessary for an organ-
ization or project to achieve its mission. These are different
from oth er factors, which are “imp ortant” o r “nice to have” b ut
not necessary (Bacsich, Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009: 90). How-
ever, CSFs must be done if a company need to be successful
(Freund, 1988). According to a study by Rockart (1979), the
CSFs approach has been established and popularized over the
last 30 years by a number o f researcher s , particularly.
In many literatu res, CSFs are defined as “the limited number
of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure suc-
cess ful competitive performance for the organization” (Daniel,
1961 & Anthony et al., 1972 cited in Rockart, 1979: 85). Bruno
& Leidecker ( 1984 : 24) defined CSFs are “ch aracteristi cs, con-
ditions or variables that, when properly sustained, maintained,
or managed, can have a significant impact on the success of a
firm competing in a particular industry”. In addition, CSFs are
also defined as “those factors addressed significantly to im-
prove project implementation chances (Pinto & Slevin, 1987
cited in Amberg, Fischl & Wiener, 2005: 22). According to
Rockart (1979: 87) who seeked to identify an ideal match be-
tween environmental conditions and business characteristics for
a particu lar company, th e following b enefits exist for man agers
when applying the CSFs approach: “The process helps the
manager to determine those factors on which he or she should
focus management attention. It also helps to ensure that those
significant factors will receive careful and continuous man-
agement s cr utiny”.
Thus, the fruit from the attempt to identify CSFs is a clear
definition. CSFs are factors or variables that are important and
indispensable especially in education institutes. These CSFs can
assist the online stakeholder groups to be guided in their opera-
tion in order to achieve the institution’s vision. Without the
CSFs, the vision would not be responded.
Basic Concept of Critical Success Factors for Online
Distance Le aning
CSFs for ODL are the areas t hat must be critical ly taken care
of if institutions that needs success. The successful and sus-
tained adop tio n makes it n ecessar y for an e ffectiv e co mbin ati on
of pedagogies, technologies and management of resources.
There are many CSFs describe to be for ODL courses. Vo-
lery & Lord (2000) had surveyed on 47 students enrolled in an
online based management course at an Australian University
and identified three CSFs in online education: 1) technological
factors (ease of access and navigation, level of interaction and
interface design, etc), 2) instructors’ characteristics (attitudes
towards students, teaching style, technical competence, en-
courage classroom interaction, etc), and 3) students’ characte-
ristics (previous use of technology from a student's perspective).
Papp (2000) explored distance learning from a macro perspec-
tive and suggested some CSFs that can assist faculty and uni-
versities in online environment development as 1) intellectual
property, 2) suitability of the course for e-learning environment,
3) building the e-learning course, 4) e-learning course content,
5) e-learni ng course mainten ance, 6) e-learning platform, and 7)
measuring the success of an e-learning course. Govindasamy
(2002) discussed seven e-learning quality benchmarks to pro-
vide a pedagogical foundation or a prerequisite for successful
e-learning implementation namely, 1) institutional support, 2)
course development, 3) teaching and learning, 4) course struc-
ture, 5) student support, 6) faculty support, and 7) evaluation
and assessment. Allen & Seaman (2005) annually surveyed
online learning quality pillar of The Sloan Consortium and
understood the foundation for assessing quality of online learn-
ing beyond the U.S. borders. The Sloan quality factors were: 1)
access, 2) learning and effectiveness, 3) student support, 4) cost
effectiveness, and 5) faculty satisfaction. Based on students’
perceptions, Selim (2007) classified the CSFs for e-learning
into four factors, namely, 1) instructors’ characteristics (teach-
ing style, attitude toward students, technology control, etc), 2)
students’ characteristics (motivation, technical competency,
perception of content and system, collaboration in interaction,
etc), 3 ) technol ogy infrastru cture (ease o f access , int ernet sp eed,
screen design, etc), and 4) institution support (technical support,
computer availability, learning material accessibility and print-
ing, etc). Vaye-U-Lan (2007) stated that resources that support
e-Learning include 1) human resources, 2) computer and inter-
net technology resources, and 3) e-Learning contents resources.
Chantanarungpak (2010) synthesized the success indicators of
e-learning system for higher education institutions in Thailand
and found that the factors were: 1) media and technology, 2)
institution and management, 3) instructional design, 4) sup-
porting factors, and 5) evaluation components.
From the above-mentioned details, it is apparent that there
are numerous factors affecting online learning implementation
success that can assist higher education institutions in increas-
ing the efficiency and effectiveness of adoption online learning
process. Consequently, this study will seek for the appropria-
tion of CSFs to guide the use of ODL in HE.
The main purposes of this study were to speci fy th e CSF s for
ODL in the context of HE. The literatures were reviewed to
determine items relevant to CSFs for ODL. The topics of inter-
est were implementation, criteria and indicator for the success
of ODL. A total of 19 papers, published during 2000-2012,
were selected from Chulalongkorn University reference data-
bases. The research instrument was data analyzing form. The
methodology for this research were analyzing and synthesizing
data using one of the popular qualitative techniques with con-
The result from data analysis and synthesis method of litera-
ture review is to specify the CSFs for ODL within environment
in HE. It can be grouped into 5 factors: 1) institutional man-
agement, 2) learning environment, 3) instructional design, 4)
services support and 5) course evaluation. Each factor included
several el ements that can be explai ned as follows:
Factor 1 Institut i onal Manag ement
Institutional management is significant for the success of the
particular manage ment level involve (Rockart, 1979: 87). These
are business-driven processes that have perspective and focus
on the issues affecting the organization (e.g., business adminis-
tration, academic affairs, student services, etc). Therefore, on-
line learning courses need to have their programs planned
carefully (Pawlowski, 2002; ENQA, 2005; Puri, 2012) by in-
cludeing the following elements:
B. CHEAWJINDAKARN ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
● Market Research – Market research is the analysis on tar-
get group requirements, which must be executed discreetly
from the central of educational institute with awareness of
ODL (Pawl owsk i, 2002; ENQA, 2005; Puri, 2012). Moreo-
ver, the data from market research have to be updated an-
nually or before the planning of a major event (Bacsich,
Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009).
● Program Fra mework – The management of the institution
is to determine the framework and scope of the program as
related to the definitions used in the operation. This may be
the policies and procedures: philosophy, mission, copyright
requirements, and intellectual property (Cruz, 2010; Chan-
tanarungpak, 2010). This factor is being developed as it is
needed to accommodate changes in the organization’s strat-
egy (Rockert, 1979), as direction for implementing the on-
line course in order to support the students’ progress
● Operational Plan – This factor is the management style of
the institution which is the integration of online learning into
the curriculum as a whole (Bacsich, Bastiaens & Bristow,
2009). Construction of program development plans at both
the short and long term operation plan (Selim, 2005, 2007)
to enhan ce and impro ve an approp riate mix of acade mic and
business/marketing activities, e.g., methodology announce-
ment, admission criteria, online payment system, etc (Paw-
lowski, 2002; Chantanarungpak, 2010; Cruz, 2010).
● Cost Effectiveness – To be fully implemented, the online
learning course will need a budget to be significant enough
to invest in the course (Puri, 2012). The budgets for online
learning systems are the high investment costs and long-
term sustainability (ENQA, 2005; Chantanarungpak, 2010).
Therefore, costs must be property to be used by all online
courses in order to gain the right to charge for online classes
(Bacsich, Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009; Puri, 2012). Apart
from institutions’ needs to develop their services, there are
also needs to reduce costs as well (Harasim, 2003; Allen &
Seaman, 2005). However, advancements in information
technology are perceived by universities as the solution to
the quality and cost problem (Selim, 2005: 340).
Factor 2 Learning Environment
Online learning environment refers to the locations where
students access online resource, use systems for access to on-
line course and communication, obtain tutor assistance, and
receive assessment (Lennon & Maurer, 2003 cited in Bhuasiri
& et al, 2012). Online learning environment also includes in-
struction and university support (Selim, 2007). People learn
best in a learning environ ment that is suppor tive, relaxeing and
casual. Thus, the learning environment should be comfortable
in all aspect such as the physical, trust, respect, helpfulness and
freedom (Wands and Blanc, 2001). However, online learning
environment does not have a high effect on learning outcomes
but it has the potential to develop appropriate learning envi-
ronment in an online learning course.
● Course Management System (CMS) – Also known as
Learning Management (LMS) is taking on similarly impor-
tant role to several of HE administrative function (e.g.,
finance, human resource, etc). At the micro level,
CMS/LMS usually facilitates student registration, the deli-
very and tracking of online learning courses and content,
and testing, and may also allow for the management of in-
structor-lead training classes. CMS/LMS provides to an in-
structor a set of tools and a framework that allow the rela-
tively easy creation of online course content and the subse-
quently teaching and management of that course including
various interactions with students talking the course. (Paw-
lowski, 2002; ENQA, 2005; Selim, 2005, 2007; Masrom,
Zainon & Rahiman, 2008; Chantanarungpak, 2010).
● Technical Infrastructure – Technology plays important
roles in delivering learning outcomes because students have
more interactions in online learning environments that are
essential to be successful (Wands & Blanc, 2001; Selim,
2005: 340; Bhuasiri & et al, 2012). University must have
supportive quality technology with a modern and appropri-
ate in transfer knowledge for online courses (Wands &
Blanc, 2001; Harasim, 2003; Masrom, Zainon & Rahiman,
2008; Mosakhani & Jamporazmey, 2010). To have the stu-
dents facilitated, the most simple and easiest access to
learning must be supplied (Selim, 2005, 2007; Cruz, 2010,
Chantanarungpak, 2010). The efficient and effective use of
IT in del iverin g onl ine lear ning base components of a course
is of critical importance to the success and student accep-
tance of online learning. To ensure that the university IT in-
frastructure is rich, reliability in and capability of providing
the courses with the necessary tools to make the delivery
process as smooth as possible are critical to the success of
online learning (Selim, 2005: 341). This factor is associated
with the hardware and software technology including high
speed internet connection, bandwidth for download audio
and video, system reliability and availability, system backup
procedures, network security, courseware authoring applica-
tions, system response, and etc (Wands and Blanc, 2001;
ENQA, 2005; Selim, 2005, 2007; Bhuasiri & et al, 2012;
Puri, 20 12).
● Interactive Learning – Effective online learning environ-
ments require some forms of interaction and collaboration
among students as well as between learners and instructors.
Moore & Kearsley (2005) identified three types of interac-
tions: 1) learner-content interaction, 2) learner-instructor in-
teractio n, and 3) learner-learner interaction. However, inter-
active learning must be relevant and appropriate to the pur-
pose of instruction to increase learners’ participation in
educational activities (Wands and Blanc, 2001), such as the
appropriate use of multimedia to convey highly interactive
learning. Most studies indicate that learner-learner interac-
tion is CSF when their satisfaction with online learning
based courses is measured (Phillips & Peters, 1999; Selim,
● Access and Navigation – Interface design is a technical
support to facilitate communication and learning activities
of online course (Volery & Lord, 2000; Harasim, 2003;
Penn St ate, 2008). Studen ts can easily access to enhance the
learnin g experience in the context of the online environment,
e.g., quickly web access (Wands & Blanc, 2001; Selim,
2005, 2007; Allen & Seaman, 2005). Accessibility require-
ments of the course are to adhere to the policy of the Uni-
versity. Moreover, navigation is concerned with the visual
structure to help students quickly find programs and content
whilst the online course design should be easy to be consis-
tent an d screen n avigation syste m (P enn S tate, 20 08). These
relate to the look and feel of the online learning that require
good interface designs that are user friendly (Wands &
Blanc, 2001; Puri, 2012), such as pointers or marquees
leading to useful information “What You See Is What You
B. CHEAWJINDAKARN ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Get” ( W YSIWYG) (Wands & Blanc, 2001)
Factor 3 Instructional Design
Ped agogical for online learning focuses on the learning and
teaching that enhance the mood (Puri, 2012), e.g., assignments
options, interactive course, learning styles, multimedia tools,
technologies. As instructor is a facilitator for student commit-
ment includes element the following:
● Clarification of Objectives – The purpose of online learn-
ing, like any other learning approach, is to achieve the
learning objectives. Therefore, online learning course must
have clear learning goals and objectives at the very begin-
ning phase of the learning. Students should be able to easily
access course syllabus, contains information on the program
which clarify principle to learning content and using tools.
In addition, clearl y defined l earning pathway is th e required
structure to allow the students to choose their own path and
reflect th e lear nin g needs (Wand s & Blan c, 2001; Penn State,
2008; Cruz, 2010).To indentify learning outcome is a learn-
ing standard related to students’ skills and achievement,
both evaluation the methods and the condition what the stu-
dent s want to learn an d able to do at the end of the course
● Content Quality – Content issue is a strong pedagogical
foundation. Well-designed and selected courses content and
learning material facilitate meaningful educational expe-
riences that are essential for implementation of online
learning materials (e.g., accuracy, completeness, ease of
understanding, timeliness, relevance and consistency)
(ENQA, 2005; Selim, 2005, 2007; Masrom, Zainon & Rahi-
man, 2008; Mosakhani & Jamporaz mey , 2010; Bhuasiri & et
al., 2012). The content quality of writing, images, video, or
flash to meets generally accepted s tan dard of semanti cs, st yle,
grammar, and knowledge (Bhuasiri, 2012).
● Learning Strategies – Educational institutions have a wid e
range of strategies to support teaching and learning. Espe-
ciall y, instructor plays a central role in creating the effec-
tiveness and success o f distance learning based courses that
support the “student-centered” principle. For example, stu-
dent is a user control of screen information by their owns,
and also enter information when they do learning activities
(Wands & Blanc, 2001). Therefore, it is essential that insti-
tutions must prepare in various ways to encourage instruc-
tors to teach and students to study in the online course, such
as integrating technology into appropriate learn ing strategies
(Harasi m, 2003; Bacsi ch, Bastiaens & Br istow, 2009, Chan-
● Psychology of Learning – To enhance the students’ learn-
ing skills through practical experiences in the online learning
system, students must be motivated and committed by
themselves or by the instructions from teachers (Wands &
Blanc, 2001). In addition, students will learn better if they
are motivated to learn in the first place (Pawlowski, 2002).
Moreover, the reinforcement will create awareness; for ex-
ample, the rewards from a student’s efforts make that stu-
dent want to repeat the behavior. Transmission is dependent
on the performance of students with new learning skills that
can be applied directly in the workplace (Wands & Blanc,
2001). Instructor’ feedback should be made available in the
forms of immediate and adequate after students have at-
tempted on online interaction (Wands & Blanc, 2001; Paw-
lowski, 2002; Selim, 2005, 2007; Penn State, 2008; Bacsich,
Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009).
● Learning Assessment – The effective assessment of learn-
ing is to evaluate and measure benefits resulting from online
learning implementation at a particular institution (ENQA,
2005) that will be done after their completing the course
(Wands & Blanc, 2001; Puri, 2012). Students can learn ef-
fectivel y with cognitive develo pment and l earning approach
development (Harasim, 2003). The assessment method must
be valid, reliable, flexible and fair (e.g., test studies, tasks,
etc) (Wands & Blanc, 2001; Pawlowski, 2002; Masrom,
Zainon & Rahiman, 2008; Chantanarungpak, 2010).
Factor 4 Services Support
ODL will not succeed in achieving their goals when it does
not have access to technical advice and support. Institution’s
resources are factors that must be developed for the learning
support services system (Harasim, 2003; Mosakhani & Jampo-
razmey, 2010; Puri, 2012; Chantanarungpak, 2010). Service
quality significantly influences students and instructors satis-
factions and happiness in teaching and learning (Allen & Sea-
man, 2005; Selim, 2005; Penn State, 2008; Bhuasiri, 2012).
Services also include the provision of supports which include
equipment accessibility and computer training that are impor-
tant facto rs for online lear ning acceptance ( Lee, 2008). In addi-
tion, services include administrative concerns such as manage-
ment, funding, maintenance, and the delivery of resources, are
positively related to students’ satisfaction and instructors’ sa-
tisfaction ( O zkan & Koseler, 2009).
● Training – This factor is the development of the characte-
ristic of online stakeholder groups, especially students and
instructors, by training on competencies and partner person-
al development which enable all stakeholders to efficient in
online learning (Wands & Blanc, 2001; Masrom, Zainon,
Rahiman , 2008; Mosakhani & Jamporazmey, 2010; Puri,
2012). The training that improves the ability of people re-
lates to technology and differently interactive learning (Se-
lim, 2005, 2007; Bacsich, Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009).
These are key factors for faculty to implement online learn-
ing in developing course (e.g., computing skills, technical
background, training programs, and etc). In addition, in-
structors are suggested to be enthusiastic to motivate the
students and to enhance students’ computing literacy and
online learning applications skills (e.g., e-mail, presentation,
and creative thinking) (Selim, 2005). These things can sa-
tisfy online stakeholders and make them feel like using the
new me thod (C ruz , 20 10).
● Communication Tools –Commu nicati on res ources are u sed
to supporting the interaction between teachers and students
(e.g.,e-mail, chatroom, webboard, etc) (P awlowski, 2002;
Penn State, 2008; Puri, 2012). The facilitated communica-
tion contributes to consistence in line with expected learning
outcomes (Allen & Seaman, 2005; Bhuasiri & et al., 2012).
However, the tools used depend on the strategic goals, the
objectives of the communication program, the profile of the
target audience, the various advantages and disadvantage of
each tool, and the communications budget. Therefore, it is
important to know how to use the community tools option in
order to choose appropriate the tools in the online learning
(Moore, Deane & Galyen, 2011: 129).
● Help Desk – To establish student help desk is the best way
to assist student (Bacsich, Bastiaens & Bristow, 2009). On-
line cou rse provides access to useful facilities. Th is includes
both offline and online resources. The “offline” resou rce can
B. CHEAWJINDAKARN ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
be just a paper manual to help learning. On the other hand,
“online” support is not only just an electronic manual but
also an option to help the students who request for direct as-
sistance, such as terminology and glossary (Puri, 2012).
Moreover, there must also be human resources, e.g., expert
users, trainers, to give technical assistances and advice
(Wands & Blanc, 2001).
Factor 5 Course Evaluation
This factor i s the assessment of the su ccess in the online im-
plementation. All phases provide a measure of quality assur-
ance for online courses in order to serve the online learning
needs of institution. (ENQA, 2005; Masrom, Zainon & Rahi-
man, 2008; Bhuasiri; 2012). Evaluation is the key to quality
online learning, and having a plan for the process is the key to
evaluation. Course evaluation includes formative evaluation in
project management and summative evaluation in implementa-
tion plan. Evaluation process must cover all aspects the online
course, to ensure that ODL systems achieve the objectives of
the cour se. (Pawlows ki, 200 2; ENQA , 2005; Chantanarungpak,
2010; Musa & Othman, 2012; Puri, 2012). This is the final step
to ensure that online learning applications are not a barrier to
ODL is rapidly becoming a popular mode of study among
students worldwide. This trend is also visible in universities,
with the emergence of several higher education distance learn-
ing institutions using online learning to support its learning
activities. Therefore, identifying CSFs is necessary to deter-
mine the direction of an online course which must be imple-
mented if organization wants to be success.
In conclusion, the “CSFs for ODL in HE” found from a re-
view of the literature are: 1) institutional management – market
research, program framework, operational plan, cost effective-
ness, 2) learning environment – course management system,
technical infrastructure, access and navigation, 3) instructional
design – clarify of objectives, content quality, learning strate-
gies, psychology of learning, learning assessment, 4) services
support – training, communication tools, help desk, and 5)
cours e eval uation.
It is su ggested t hat each of these 5 factors is important to en-
hance efficiency of online distance learning courses. It is a
concrete approach to lead functions of an online institute or
course in all levels to the same directions for achieving the
success of the institute‘s vision, and make sta ffs and ex ecutives
know what they have to do for the success of ODL.
This finding is phase one in the process of the dissertation,
“Strategic management of educational technology and commu-
nications center based on critical success factors for online
distance learning in higher education: A multi-case stud y”. The
future work is to explore consistency between “CSFs for ODL
in HE” and “organization function of Educational Technology
Center” and next, to study and synthesize strategic management
of educational technology center based on CSFs for ODL in
I would like to express my sincere thanks to my thesis advi-
sor and co-adviser for the invaluable help and constant encou-
ragement throughout the course of this research.
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