Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences Student Publications


Judith Tomasson

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



The purpose of this qualitative inquiry is to analyze the literature on the topic of learner needs in distance learning from the perspective of the student. All research studies, surveys, and case studies were considered as long as they satisfied the following two conditions: a) they were published in a peer-reviewed professional journal and b) they reported on findings obtained from student feedback. Attention was given to those scholarly publications that reported on American community college students or undergraduate students’ feedback of their needs in e-learning. The theoretical foundation underlying the inquiry came from Malcolm Knowles’s (1977) Principles of Andragogy and the social constructivist theory. The examined research papers and studies confirm that Knowles’s principles of adult learning remain to be a valid theoretical approach in online environments as well. Finally, learner feedbacks point to the validity of the principles of social constructivist theory as the most likely approach to online learning.

Language (ISO)



online learning, literature review