Potential of Distance Education to Reduce Learning Gaps in Higher Education: A Look to the Colombian Case

One of the main needs of Latin America, besides education coverage, is to reduce learning gaps in higher education. In order to respond to such need, many strategies have been designed, worldwide, to impact the demand and provision of higher education programs. Among these strategies, we can find grants and scholarships, financial aids, and others. Many have been the options that have been proposed to raise the provision of higher education programs, such as offering technology-supported education modalities like blended-learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and distance and online education. This paper aims to explore the potential of the provision of distance education programs to close learning gaps in Colombia’s higher education. 

In order to do so, we present an estimation of the effects that students and program's characteristics can have on the results of the test “Saber PRO” (a Colombian standardized test that measures the level of competencies developed by students in different higher education programs). This estimation was done applying a mixed model (Hierarchical Linear Modeling-HLM) based on the information of 451,358 students who were assessed in their last phase of their university major. Data were collected from 2016 to 2018.


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