Distance and Blended Education in Developing Countries


Di Xu, UCI
Mark Warschauer, UCI
Danny Glick, Edusoft
Anat Cohen, Tel-Aviv University


Given the increasing recognition of English as the lingua franca for business and communication in the global economy, a growing number of developing countries are making significant investments to improve English Language Learning (ELL). Yet, often constrained by both economic and human capital resources, national efforts to develop students’ English language proficiency in developing countries often remain ineffective. Typical challenges include a shortage of qualified English teachers, lack of teacher certification or training, and limited access to high-quality language learning resources.

In view of these challenges, online has increasingly been viewed as a possible way to remove the barriers associated with traditional English language learning by providing low-cost, quality education. Recent studies suggest that technology-mediated language learning implemented in developing countries has a significant, positive impact on students’ course grades and course completion rates compared to traditional face-to-face instruction (Xu et al., 2016). While online learning is a promising approach to deliver more desirable learning outcomes, many students struggle in such settings, especially students lacking certain personal attributes – such as being goal-oriented and self-disciplined – that are essential for successful online study. Therefore, to improve persistence and performance in online courses, it is important to have a better understanding of student online learning behavior andstudent engagement in online courses.

These projects thus have three major goals:

1) To explore how to implement online learning to better reach policymakers’ goals of promoting English language proficiency

2) To use learning analytics to examine the strongest predictors of student persistence and performance in online TMLL courses

3) To explore how different types of intervention strategies (e.g., videos with study tips for distance learning students, post-video reflection questions, etc.) affect student persistence and performance in developing countries


Xu, D., Glick, D., Warschauer, M., Rodriguez, F., Li, Q., & Cung, B. (2016, August). Maximizing learning outcomes through blended learning: what research shows. Paper presented at the 2016 Association of Binational Centers of Latin America Conference, Houston, Texas.