Background and Objective:Higher education has faced many challenges and issues during the last two decades, among which we can mention the following: inability to produce theoretical knowledge and use of basic and theoretical knowledge produced in other countries. Of the world, the inapplicability of university education, the lack of an inappropriate relationship between the university and other social sectors, neglecting research functions and services in universities, the problem of multiple decision centers and the existence of multiple trustees on the one hand, and the excalating growth of students and applicants to universities and institutions of higher education, the slight expansion of the higher education system regardless of the existing capacity and economic, social and cultural capacity of the community to accept university graduates, reduced financial resources and pressure from society For responsibility and accountability on the other hand; the higher education system needs to maintain and improve the quality of higher education to meet these challenges. To succeed in this, all the functions of higher education in general must be considered comprehensively. In this regard, one of the measures that higher education deliberates to answer its problems was technology-based education, including distance education and distance learning. Considering the contradiction in the findings of the studies conducted on the effectiveness of distance education methods, the present study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of distance education in higher education.
Methods: The research method is based on secondary analysis and meta-analysis. The statistical population consists of all quasi-experimental studies which have already been conducted on the effectiveness of various types of distance education in higher education in Iran. The whole census was used for sampling. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 79 studies were identified as the sample size.To collect the data, a researcher-made worksheet was employed in three sections: bibliographicaldata, methodological data, and findings. To analyze the data, the effect size index and the homogeneity test were performed using CMA-Version 2.0 statistical software.
Findings:The research findings indicated that all of distance education methods in higher education of Iran were effective, but this effectiveness was moderate (ES =0.526, P <0.01); the area under the normal curve, the average implementation of distance education is 69% more effective than traditional methods. In addition, the meta-regression of the effect of year on the results of research showed that with an increase in the implementation of distance education methods, .07%was added to the effectiveness of these methods. In other words, the implementation of distance education methods in higher education will become more effective over time.
Conclusion: Considering that the study of moderating variables was not one of the objectives of this study, it is recommended that in future research, the impact of these components on the results of the study be examined to determine the impact of these components to explain and control the results.
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