Distance Learning in Saudi Arabia: The Revolution in Higher Education and the Needs of the New Academic

Mohammad Fhaid Alharby


The recent academic revolution within higher education in the past half of century brought about remarkable developments in delivery and pursuit of higher education. The most notable achievement was birth of distance learning that has resulted in unprecedented transformation both in diversity and scope. Distance learning in Saudi Arabia may be attributed
to emergence of instructional and information technologies as well as their influence on learning and teaching. This new learning trend has enshrined mandatory equipping of teachers and students alike in educational institutions with fundamental skills and knowledge to cope with emerging challenges. The urgent quest for distance learning in KSA arose from massive growth in population vis-à-vis scarcity of resources and teachers in quality and quantity, plus the need to cut down financial costs. From as early as 1954, distance learning in KSA has evolved over three generational developments, namely correspondence study, multimedia
distance teaching and interactive, web based instructions. It gained traction, interest and recognition among academics, academic institutions and students, although at a relatively slow pace. The author of this paper devours into history, growth and future of distance learning in KSA analyzing potential need and overall consequences on different stakeholders. The author further discusses the modern evolutions in distance learning such as e-learning and mlearning.


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