Learning Leverage for Online Distance Education (D.E.)


A New Key Performance Indicator Proposition

for Higher Education Management; Case Study

of AUL University – Lebanon



By Lola Saliba

Ottawa, Canada

Acknowledgments: To Professor “Rabih Hassoun” at AUL University who shared his knowledge and expertise concerning the Lebanese education system; in addition, he reviewed and validated the author’s observations and notes. To Professor “Georges Maalouf”, The MBA coordinator at AUL University and my direct supervisor for his encouragement and support. To Mr. “Saeed Sarvazizi”, PhD student at Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Ottawa, Canada, for revising the L.L.R proposition.


Global inflation in addition to the recent pandemic led to a global shift in teaching methods and techniques. In Lebanon, the online learning was implemented in schools and universities as a form of distance education without a proper training for students and instructors. The abrupt transition to online learning presented a new challenging evaluation system for students at any higher education institutions like the “Arts, Sciences and Technology University of Lebanon” known as (AUL). Using an inductive approach based on the researcher’s observations for a complete year, and the semi-structured interviews conducted with the university students and instructors, this exploratory study aims to highlight the gaps within the applied online system at AUL, particularly in regards to the adopted examination and the student’s evaluation system. Our findings reveal the high impact of student’s skills on their online academic achievements, versus the low impact of their knowledge levels. Thus, we propose in this study a useful evaluation method that we called “The Learning Leverage Ratio” or the L.L.R. system.

Keywords; Distance Education (D.E.); Knowledgeable; Skillful; E- Learning; Leverage; Key indicator.

  1. Introduction

1.1 General Outline

University graduates typically receive certificates as proof of their academic achievement and attendance. For many years, these certificates have indicated that an individual is knowledgeable and skilled in their field of study. However, it has been observed and reported within our literature review that the application of the knowledge can vary greatly among individuals. This research aims to explore the impact of student skills on the academic performance, particularly in the context of online distance learning in Lebanon. Through an exhaustive literature review and the adoption of relevant theories, as well as the researcher’s own observations, a calculation of the ratio between skilled and knowledgeable students was proposed. The study also analyzed the case of AUL University as a leading higher education institution in Lebanon, which has always prioritized the improvement of its internal system for the benefit of its students.

1.2 Research Context

For many developed countries, the online education has been the “new normal” for several years. These countries have focused on creating a rich environment for active learners, known as R.E.A.L (Rich Environment for Active Learning), as they have adopted a complete e-learning system for new generations. Student competencies are nowadays essential for success in the global job market. Therefore, it is important for Lebanese education institutions to consider the skills and knowledge required by the global business market and implement them through a new conceptual approach based on students’ self-initiatives. It is worth noting that the literature review is mostly dated between 1990 and 2005, which means that the current education system in Lebanon has not yet reached the technological, skills, and competencies advancements of the 1990s in the developed countries. The root cause is not a lack of effort or awareness on the part of education institutions, but rather the Lebanese law, which until recently did not recognize or allow for online teaching and e-learning. As a result, a graduate from a prestigious university such as Harvard or Oxford would not be able to obtain an equivalency certificate in Lebanon.

Top of Form

1.3 Problem Statement

This study examined the development and progression of distance education, including online systems and e-learning methods in Lebanon. It also looked at the challenges and concerns of education institutions and learners in implementing these systems. The study conducted interviews with students and professors at a specific institution to validate the researcher developed module on student categorization and to identify gaps in the distance education system at one of the educational institutions. It also proposed a new term called the “Learning Leverage Ratio” as a method for measuring student knowledge and skills, and as an indicator of the institution’s performance. Finally, the researcher provided recommendations for improving the current hybrid online system.

1.4 Importance and Objectives of the Study

This study was conducted by an MBA student, management consultant, and observer participant in the distance education system at a specific university (AUL) in order to improve the current online methods and techniques used. It may also help the university attract financial donations during the current economic crisis in Lebanon.

The objectives of the study;

  • Highlight the importance of teaching relevant skills to students.
  • Show that the current online system does not accurately reflect students’ levels of knowledge.
  • Collect and analyze valuable information and experiences to improve the online system in Lebanon.
  • Analyze interviews with students and professors and link them to a comprehensive figure summarizing student results reported by experienced professors.
  • Propose a new ratio calculation as a key indicator for measuring students’ levels of knowledge and skills effectively.
  • Provide recommendations for improvement based on the perspectives and experiences of university professors.


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How to cite this paper: Saliba, L. (2023). Learning Leverage for Online Distance Education (D.E.): A New Key Performance Indicator Proposition for Higher Education Management; Case Study of AUL University – Lebanon; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Saliba-Learning-Leverage-for-Online-Distance-Education.pdf

About the Author

Lola Saliba

Ottawa, Canada


Lola Saliba is seeking a Doctorate program “DBA” in Canada. She holds an MBA degree from AUL University in Lebanon. Served as a jury member for M2 Graduation at “ESLI University” in Paris for the year 2022-2023. In addition to an I.R.C.A certification as a lead auditor for ISO QMS standards since 2014. She is interested in new business concepts and modules, E-learning outcomes and the implication on the future workforce. She received her O.S.H.A certificate from the U.S.A. as a safety supervisor for general industry in 2017, and was assigned as a board member in a local N.G.O for four consecutive years. She also studied and received a diploma in N.G.O management from La Sagesse University in April 2018.

She can be contacted at lola.saliba.n@gmail.com