Distance Learning (DL) is an instructional delivery system that connects learners with educational resources. Distance Learning provides educational access to learners not enrolled in educational institutions and can augment the learning opportunities of current students. The implementation of Distance Learning is a process that uses available resources and will evolve to incorporate emerging technologies.
- The separation of teacher and learner during at least a majority of each instructional process.
- Separation of teacher and learner in space and/or time.
- The use of educational media to unite teacher and learner and carry course content.
- Providing two-way communication between teacher, tutor, or educational agency and learner.
- Control of the learning pace by the student rather than the distance instructor.
Benefits of Distance Learning:
Expanding access: As it offers the possibility of a flexibility to accommodate the many time-constraints imposed by personal responsibilities and commitments so distance education can assist in meeting the demand for education and training demand from the general populace and businesses.
Making money from emerging markets: It claims an increasing acceptance from the population of the value of lifelong learning and that institutions can benefit financially from this by adopting distance education.
Less expense constraints: The system reduces the demand on institutional infrastructure such as huge buildings.
Source for institutional transformation: The competitive marketplace demands rapid change and innovation, for which it’s believed that distance education programs can act as a catalyst.
Disabilities, Handicaps, or sicknesses: Millions of students from all around the world are not able to attend traditional schools due to different reasons or problems. For example some are sick, some are physically disable etc. Distance education can help in these cases because the students will not have to leave their home or be around other people. It makes it possible for these students to still learn and to be able to get a good education.
Equal Opportunity to Education Regardless of Status: Students have the opportunity to receive equal education regardless of income status, area of residence, gender, race, age, or cost per student.
Types of Distance Learning: There are two major types for distance learning.1) synchronous instructions, 2) asynchronous instructions.
- Synchronous instruction: It needs the constant participation of all students and instructors. The advantage of synchronous instruction is that interaction is done in "real time" and has immediacy. Examples include interactive telecourses, teleconferencing and web conferencing, and Internet chats.
- Asynchronous instruction: It does not require the simultaneous and continuous participation of all students and instructors. Students are not supposed to get together in the same location at the same time. It depends on students that they may choose their own instructional time frame and interact with the learning materials and instructor according to their suitable timing. This type of instruction is more flexible than synchronous Examples of asynchronous delivery include e-mail, listservs, audiocassette courses, videotaped courses, correspondence courses, and WWW-based courses.