The Perspective of e-learning in Higher Education: A Systematized Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran

2 Head of Cultural-Scientific Research Department, Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Tehran Iran


Background: This study aimed to draw the perspective of e-learning in Iran and the world. In other words, an attempt was made to explore the goals, strategies, obstacles, enablers, and innovations of e-learning in higher education systems of Iran and other countries across the world. Methods: A systematized literature review of domestic and international studies was performed using PRISMA guidelines for data collection. Original studies from Iranian databases (Magiran, IranDoc, Civilica, and Noormags) and international databases (ScienceDirect, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and Sage) were included. Three criteria were considered for selecting the sources: relevance to the topic, date of publication (2004-2019 for domestic, and 2005-2020 for international databases), and credibility of sources. Additionally, comparative data analysis was performed using open and axial coding in Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM). Results: Forty one studies from Iranian databases and 22 from international databases were included. The Iranian research review demonstrated that the principal goals of e-learning were quality, cost reduction, and educational justice. Furthermore, it showed that the applied strategies included instructional design, needs assessment, suitable multimedia, and blended learning. Finally, it was revealed that the innovations were MOOCs. As for the international databases, the research review demonstrated that the principal goal of e-learning was innovation in providing instruction and learning at any time and location. The applied strategies included instructional design, evaluation of educational systems, and an interdisciplinary view of e-learning. Other research findings were also discussed. Discussion: Domestic sources were divided into 20 subcategories with respect to the goals, obstacles, enablers, strategies, and innovations. Based on the same factors, international studies fell into 21 subcategories. Decision makers are recommended to consider these elements in their policies regarding e-learning in higher education. Additional discussions and suggestions are provided within the article.


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