Distance learning is a form of education, where the student and teacher are separated by physical distance. As opposed to traditional face-to-face learning where all participants are physically in the same place at the same time, distance learning can be conducted with varying levels of interaction. Learning may take place through self-study alone or with assistance from instructors or peers.

A wide variety of programs are offered at institutions ranging from college or graduate school level down to elementary school. Programs vary in length of time required for completion as well as delivery methods (for example, online courses can be delivered via email, video conference, web conferencing tools like Adobe Connect, social networking sites such as Moodle, YouTube , virtual worlds like Second Life). 

Distance learning can be thought of as a form of education or training that uses any combination of the following: written materials, audio/video cassettes, CD-ROMs, Internet resources such as email and websites, radio and television programmes to deliver teaching. It may take place in a classroom, in a self-study mode at home or anywhere where there is access to mail service or fax machine.

The development of new technologies has made distance learning easier and more accessible to people around the world. It is found that distance learning courses have a number of advantages compared with traditional face-to-face learning especially for working adults who do not have time for traditional institution-based models for higher education. The flexibility provided by online courses allows learners to balance their academic and professional pursuits. Degrees earned in this manner are also widely accepted by employers because the curricula of these courses have been designed to help students develop skills that are relevant to their professions or careers. The availability of online programs has made distance learning a more viable option for many people whose needs would otherwise go unmet due to busy work schedules, family commitments, etc.

The advanced technology used in today's educational settings has transformed the way teachers teach and students learn resulting in increased student participation and interactivity with course material. Online education can provide learners with a stream of information from various sources which is skillfully extracted from frequent updates from e-journals, digital libraries, databases etc.; making it easily accessible 24/7 at their convenience. Courses are also more flexible to attend as they provide access to information any time of the day or night that is relevant for students who are working at different shifts.

Distance learning can help institutions meet the needs of many nontraditional students with diverse backgrounds and interests through courses delivered online where content is made available to learners around the world at their convenience. This form of education has grown in both scope and size over the years which has spurred employers' interest in hiring employees who have completed distance learning courses/programs. Aspiring medical, nursing, physicians assistant, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist aide, dental hygienist are but a few examples of potential professions where licensure/certification may be acquired by completing an approved distance learning program. The growing numbers of students using online education for career advancement demonstrates the effectiveness of distance learning in meeting specific educational and professional goals.


There are various types or models of distance learning: 

These three main models have since been enhanced by a number of different types or variations in order to meet different preferences, needs and expectations for both learners and teachers/instructors with respect to their academic pursuits. 

Benefits of Distance Learning Programs:

The development of new technologies has made distance learning easier and more accessible to people around the world. It is found that distance learning courses have a number of advantages compared with traditional face-to-face learning especially for working adults who do not have time for traditional institution-based models for higher education. The flexibility provided by online courses allows learners to balance their academic and professional pursuits. Degrees earned in this manner are also widely accepted by employers because the curricula of these courses have been designed to help students develop skills that are relevant to their professions or careers. The availability of online programs has made distance learning a more viable option for many people whose needs would otherwise go unmet due to busy work schedules, family commitments, etc.

The advanced technology used in today's educational settings has transformed the way teachers teach and students learn resulting in increased student participation and interactivity with course material. Online education can provide learners with a stream of information from various sources which isfully extracted from frequent updates from e-journals, digital libraries, databases etc.; making it easily accessible 24/7 at their convenience. Courses are also more flexible to attend as they provide access to information any time of the day or night that is relevant for students who are working at different shifts.

Distance learning can help institutions meet the needs of many nontraditional students with diverse backgrounds and interests through courses delivered online where content is made available to learners around the world at their convenience. This form of education has grown in both scope and size over the years which has spurred employers' interest in hiring employees who have completed distance learning courses/programs. Aspiring medical, nursing, physicians assistant, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist aide, dental hygienist are but a few examples of potential professions where licensure/certification may be acquired by completing an approved distance learning program. The growing numbers of students using online education for career advancement demonstrates the effectiveness of distance learning in meeting specific educational and professional goals.

On the other hand, some argue that there are still disadvantages to online courses. First of all, it is harder for students with disabilities or severe illnesses to participate in distance learning programs because they lack physical access to course materials, faculty, staff and student services at traditional campuses. Moreover, some educators feel that the social experience associated with traditional classrooms is lost on online courses as instructors do not have opportunities to build rapport between themselves and their students before class begins.

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