1. bookVolume 19 (2016): Issue 1 (July 2016)
Journal Details
First Published
11 Dec 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

Adapting Structuration theory as a Comprehensive Theory for Distance Education: The ASTIDE Model

Published Online: 26 Jul 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 19 (2016) - Issue 1 (July 2016)
Page range: 19 - 35
Journal Details
First Published
11 Dec 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

Distance Education (DE) theorists have argued about the requirement for a theory to be comprehensive in a way that can explicate many of the activities associated with DE. Currently, Transactional Distance Theory (TDT) (Moore, 1993) and the Theory of Instructional Dialogue (IDT) (Caspi & Gorsky, 2006) are the most prominent theories, yet they still do not represent a unified and comprehensive theory for DE. This paper provides a review of the existing literature on DE theories and identifies potential gaps in theorising distance education. Building on Giddens’ (1984) work, an innovative approach to theorising DE is proposed through the conceptualisation of the Adapting Structuration Theory In Distance Education (ASTIDE) model as a means to explicate DE operations and practices at the institutional and national/international level. It also presents evidence, from a larger study, of the necessity of a comprehensive model such as the ASTIDE constructed through an investigation into the DE systems of developing and developed countries.


1. Aktaruzzaman, M. (2014). Community perception towards integrating vocational elements in open and distance learning in Bangladesh. Peer reviewed paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Brisbane 2014. Published in conference proceedings.Search in Google Scholar

2. Anderson, A. (2010). Learning e-Learning: The restructuring of student’s beliefs and assumptions about learning. International Journal of E-Learning, 9(4), 435-461.Search in Google Scholar

3. Archer, E., Chetty, Y., & Prinsloo, P. (2014). Benchmarking the habits and behaviours of successful students: A case study of academic-business collaboration. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/161710.19173/irrodl.v15i1.1617Search in Google Scholar

4. Arts, B., & van Tatenhove, J. (2004). Policy and power: A conceptual framework between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ policy idioms. Policy Sciences, 37(3-4), 339-356.10.1007/s11077-005-0156-9Search in Google Scholar

5. Baruque, L. B., & Melo, R. N. (2004). Learning theory and instructional design using learning objects. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(4), 343-370.Search in Google Scholar

6. Caspi, A., & Gorsky, P. (2006). Instructional dialogue: distance education students’ dialogic behavior. Studies in Higher Education, 31(6), 735-752. Routledge.10.1080/03075070601007963Search in Google Scholar

7. DeSanctis, G., & Poole, M. S. (1994). Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: Adaptive structuration theory. Organisation Science, 5(2), 121-147.10.1287/orsc.5.2.121Search in Google Scholar

8. Dillahunt, T., Wang, B., & Teasley, S. (2014). Democratizing higher education: Exploring MOOC use among those who cannot afford a formal education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(5). Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/184110.19173/irrodl.v15i5.1841Search in Google Scholar

9. Downes, S. (2007). What connectivism is? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://halfanhour.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.htmlSearch in Google Scholar

10. Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from a Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-57. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1937-8327.1993.tb00605.x/abstract10.1111/j.1937-8327.1993.tb00605.xSearch in Google Scholar

11. Findlay, P. (2007). Library Research Methods Divinity Graduate Students. Retrieved on June 30, 2014 from http://library.mcmaster.ca/instruction/divgrad07.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

12. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.Search in Google Scholar

13. Gokool-Ramdoo, S. (2009). Policy deficit in distance education: A transactional distance. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(4). Retrieved on August 10, 2014 from http://irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/702/134410.19173/irrodl.v10i4.702Search in Google Scholar

14. Gorsky, P., & Caspi, A. (2005a). A critical analysis of transactional distance theory. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 6(1), 1-11.Search in Google Scholar

15. Gorsky, P., & Caspi, A. (2005b). Dialogue: A theoretical framework for distance education instructional system. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 137-144.10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00448.xSearch in Google Scholar

16. Gorsky, P., Caspi, A., & Chajut, E. (2008). The theory of instructional dialogue: Toward a unified theory of instructional design. In Zheng. R & Pixy-Ferris. S. (Eds.), Understanding online instructional modelling: Theories and practices. Hershey, PA: Idea Group, Inc.Search in Google Scholar

17. Gourley, B., & Lane, A. (2009). Re‐invigorating openness at The Open University: the role of Open Educational Resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 24(1), 57-65. doi: 10.1080/0268051080262784510.1080/02680510802627845Search in Google Scholar

18. Gulati, S. (2008). Technology-enhanced learning in developing nations: A review. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9(1). Retrieved from http://irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/477/101110.19173/irrodl.v9i1.477Search in Google Scholar

19. Halperin, R., & Backhouse, J. (2007). Using structuration theory in IS research: Operationalising key constructs. Paper presented at the 28th International Conference on Information Systems, Montreal, Canada.Search in Google Scholar

20. Heeks, R. (2008). ICT4D 2.0: The Next Phase of Applying ICT for International Development. Computer, 41(6), 26-33. doi: 10.1109/mc.2008.19210.1109/MC.2008.192Search in Google Scholar

21. HL WIKI International (2014). Research Methods. Retrieved on June 30, 2014 from http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/Research_methodsSearch in Google Scholar

22. Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, M., Campbell, J., & Haag, B. (1995). Constructivism and Computer-Mediated Communication in Distance Education. American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08923649509526885#.VrSkxU8u9T410.1080/08923649509526885Search in Google Scholar

23. Jones, M. R., & Karsten, H. (2008). Giddens’s structuration theory and information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 32(1), 127-157.10.2307/25148831Search in Google Scholar

24. Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9(3). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103Search in Google Scholar

25. Mahmud, A. (2006). Bringing Information Technology to Rural Bangladesh by Boat. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award Recipient 2005. Washington: Library & Information Resources. Available at http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/reports/pub136/pub136.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

26. Moore, M.G. (1993). Theory of transactional distance. In D. Keegan (Ed.), Theoretical principles of distance education. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

27. Moore, M., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance Education - A systems view. CA: Wadsworth.Search in Google Scholar

28. Orlikowski, W. J. (2000). Using technology and constituting structures: A practice lens for studying technology in organisations. Organisation Science, 11(4), 404-428.10.1287/orsc.11.4.404.14600Search in Google Scholar

29. Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Search in Google Scholar

30. Rashid, B., & Rahman, R. (2010). Strategic Intervention of ODL in Bangladesh. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 11(4), 93-108.Search in Google Scholar

31. Rodriguez, O. (2012). MOOCs and the AI-Stanford like Courses: two successful and distinct course formats for massive open online courses. European Journal of Open, Distance, and ELearning, 2012(I). Retrieved on March 10, 2015 from http://www.eurodl.org/materials/contrib/2012/Rodriguez.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

32. Saba, F., & Shearer, R. L. (1994). Verifying key theoretical concepts in a dynamic model of distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 36-59.10.1080/08923649409526844Search in Google Scholar

33. Sein, M. K. (2005). Paradigms of ICT in development. IFIP 9.4, Abuja, Nigeria.Search in Google Scholar

34. Sein, M. K., & Harindranth, G. (2004). Conceptualizing the ICT artefact: Toward understanding the role of ICT in national development. Information Society, 20(1), 15-24. 10.1080/01972240490269942Search in Google Scholar

35. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

36. Shearer, R. L. (2009). Transactional distance and dialogue in online learning. Paper presented at the 26th annual conference on distance teaching and learning, 2009. The University of Wisconsin. Retrieved from http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conferenceSearch in Google Scholar

37. Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Educational Technology & Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htmSearch in Google Scholar

38. Simpson, O. (2013). Student retention in distance education: are we failing our students? Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 28(2), 105-119. doi: 10.1080/02680513.2013.84736310.1080/02680513.2013.847363Search in Google Scholar

39. Subotzky, G., & Prinsloo, P. (2011). Turning the tide: a socio-critical model and framework for improving student success in open distance learning at the University of South Africa. Distance Education, 32(2), 177-193. doi: 10.1080/01587919.2011.58484610.1080/01587919.2011.584846Search in Google Scholar

40. van Tatenhove, J., Arts, B., & Leroy, P. (Eds.) (2000). Political Modernisation and the Environment: The Renewal of Environmental Policy Arrangements. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.10.1007/978-94-015-9524-7Search in Google Scholar

41. Tinio, V. L. (2004). ICT in Education. In UNDP-APDIP (Eds.), The e-ASEAN Task Force e- Primer Series. Retrieved from http://www.unapcict.org/ecohub/resources/Search in Google Scholar

42. Tresman, S. (2002). Towards a Strategy for Improved Student Retention in Programmes of Open, Distance Education: A Case Study from the Open University UK. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 3(1).10.19173/irrodl.v3i1.75Search in Google Scholar

43. Unwin, T. (2009). ICT4D: Information and communication technologies for development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

44. Walsham, G. (2002). Cross-cultural software production and use: A structurational analysis. MIS Quarterly, 26(4), 359-380.10.2307/4132313Search in Google Scholar

45. Wheeler-Brooks, J. (2009). Structuration theory and critical consciousness: potential applications for social work practice. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 36(1), 123-140.Search in Google Scholar

46. Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo