Publication Date

April 2006


This article presents a theoretical framework designed to guide distributed learning design, with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of distributed learning systems. The authors begin with a review of the extant research on distributed learning design, and themes embedded in this literature are extracted and discussed to identify critical gaps that should be addressed by future work in this area. A conceptual framework that integrates instructional objectives, targeted competencies, instructional design considerations, and technological features is then developed to address the most pressing gaps in current research and practice. The rationale and logic underlying this framework is explicated. The framework is designed to help guide trainers and instructional designers through critical stages of the distributed learning system design process. In addition, it is intended to help researchers identify critical issues that should serve as the focus of future research efforts. Recommendations and future research directions are presented and discussed.


Suggested Citation
Bell, B. S. & Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2006). Distributed learning system design: A new approach and an agenda for future research (CAHRS Working Paper #06-07). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.