What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning is the process of transferring knowledge to learners(students) who are separated from the instructor(teacher) by time and/or physical distance and are making use of technology components, such as the Internet, video, CD's, tapes, and other forms of technology to accomplish learning. - http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com

Technology Involved?

Using satellite, computers, telephone, the Internet, interactive video conferencing, and audio, distance learners can participate and share many different types of experiences that would not ordinarily be made available to them. Through online distance learning technologies, students can interact with one another and their instructors, and also easily consult experts from remote locations.

What's it like for Students?

Students participating in online discussions and chat sessions with fellow students and instructors, instead of having to attend courses in traditional lecture halls. You'll also be watching videos streamed over the Internet, taking exams through customized applications, and participating in class discussions via conference calls.Students completing team projects by meeting together in teams, on the same website, at scheduled times to discuss how to accomplish the goals of a certain project or assignment, and to share research findings. You'll also be communicating and collaborating with other students using computer conferencing software, e-mail, chat, and recorded video conferences provided by your instructor.Students complete homework assignments independently at home and submit them electronically to their instructor, via email or an online "drop box", just before the deadline. After the deadline passes, the drop box automatically closes.Students use online research tools, including databases and extensive collections of electronically stored documents, to complete projects-instead of wading through stacks of books in a traditional library. The Internet's search engines, along with the many scholarly databases that online schools make available to their students, replace traditional trips to the campus library.Students ask questions via e-mail, online chat or telephone calls. In addition, many academic instructors use Instant Messaging (IM) to communicate with their students.


Distance learning does not require commuting.This saves you money and time that you'd otherwise spend on traveling back and forth to school. You can also schedule your online learning around other aspects of your personal and professional life.

You can complete most of the classes at your convenience. In fact, most of the classes are asynchronous, which means that you don't have to attend a lecture at a particular time and place. You can also review the assignments and do your homework during off-hours or from home.

You can live anywhere, and study from anywherewhile pursuing the education of your choice. You don't have to live in the same city, or even the same country, to attend the online learning institution of your choice. You can study from any location that has a computer and an Internet connection.

You will gain valuable knowledge.The computer and Internet skills you will gain in the process of your distance learning experience are transferable to other facets of your life.

You can enjoy self-paced learning.Whether you tend to be a slow learner or a quick learner, self-paced learning will reduce your stress and increase your satisfaction.

Accessibility is another advantage of distance learning programs. Online classes eliminate some of the physical accessibility issues that some individuals with limited mobility encounter when taking traditional classes. You don't have to worry about gaining access to a classroom or sitting at uncomfortable desks. Instead, you can freely learn from the comfort of your own home.


Distance learning and e-learning education requires costly and complex technology.Despite the many opportunities inherent to distance education, it is also quite expensive for the institutions offering online classes. Live video communication, for example, requires careful planning, equipment, and facilities.

Distance learning requires advance planning.Both the instructors and students involved in distance learning will need to make sacrifices, at times, in order to get things done on time.

Distance learning may come with hidden costs.If you work for the military for example, and you are on board a ship, you might have to have some materials mailed to you in advance, incurring extra shipping and handling costs.

Distance learning does not always offer all the required coursework online for every degree program.
Distance learning degrees may not be acknowledged by all employers.

Video Links:

Challenges and Benefits of Distance Learning

Distance Learner Needs

Sources/ Resources:

http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com - major source for this Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distance_education - wikipedia
http://www.shgresources.com/colleges/distance-learning/illinois/ - state handbook - great resource for finding college w/ right degree