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Distance education, also known as distance learning, is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a
school A school is an designed to provide s and s for the teaching of s under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal , which is sometimes . In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for ...

school
. Traditionally, this usually involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via
mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcard A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin Card stock, cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Non-rectangular s ...

mail
. Today, it usually involves online education. A distance learning programme can be completely distance learning, or a combination of distance learning and traditional classroom instruction (called hybrid or
blended
blended
).
Massive open online course A massive open online course (MOOC ) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the World Wide Web, Web. In addition to traditional course materials, such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs pr ...
s (MOOCs), offering large-scale interactive participation and open access through the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational w ...
or other network technologies, are recent educational modes in distance education. A number of other terms (distributed learning,
e-learning Educational technology (commonly abbreviated as EduTech, or EdTech) is the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theoryEducation sciences or education theory (traditionally often called pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly ...
,
m-learning M-learning or mobile learning is "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices". A form of distance education Distance education, also called distance learning, is the education of ...
, online learning, virtual classroom etc.) are used roughly synonymously with distance education.


History

One of the earliest attempts was advertised in 1728. This was in the ''
Boston Gazette The ''Boston Gazette'' (1719–1798) was a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. ...
'' for "Caleb Philipps, Teacher of the new method of
Short Hand Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed and brevity of writing as compared to Cursive , longhand, a more common method of writing a language. The process of writing in shorthand is called stenography, from the Gr ...
", who sought students who wanted to learn through weekly mailed lessons. The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir
Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman (4 January 1813 – 22 January 1897) was a teacher of the :English language who developed the most widely used system of shorthand, known now as Pitman shorthand. He first proposed this in ''Stenographic Soundhand'' in 1837. ...

Isaac Pitman
in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on
postcard A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin Card stock, cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Non-rectangular shapes may also be used but are rare. There are novelty exceptions, suc ...

postcard
s and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction. The element of student feedback was a crucial innovation in Pitman's system. This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
in 1840. This early beginning proved extremely successful, and the Phonographic Correspondence Society was founded three years later to establish these courses on a more formal basis. The Society paved the way for the later formation of Sir Isaac Pitman Colleges across the country. The first correspondence school in the United States was the
Society to Encourage Studies at Home 200px, Anna Eliot Ticknor, founder of the Society to Encourage Studies at Home The Society to Encourage Studies at Home (1873 - ca. 1897) (often abbreviated as SH) was the first correspondence school Distance education, also called distance lea ...
, which was founded in 1873. Founded in 1894,
Wolsey Hall, Oxford Founded in 1894, Wolsey Hall Oxford is one of the longest established homeschooling colleges in the world offering courses in Primary, Secondary, IGCSE and A level subjects to homeschoolers in more than 100 countries. Based in Oxford, England, W ...
was the first distance learning college in the UK.


University correspondence courses

The
University of London The University of London (UoL; abbreviated as Lond or more rarely Londin in post-nominals Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate ...
was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858. The background to this innovation lay in the fact that the institution (later known as
University College London University College London, which UCL, is a major located in , United Kingdom. UCL is a of the , and is the second-largest and the largest by postgraduate enrolment. Established in 1826, as London University, by founders inspired by the r ...
) was
non-denominational A non-denominational person or organization that does not follow or is not restricted to any particular or specific religious denomination. Overview The term has been used in the context of various faiths including Jainism, Baháʼí Faith, Zoroast ...
, and given the intense religious rivalries at the time, there was an outcry against the "godless" university. The issue soon boiled down to which institutions had
degree Degree may refer to: As a unit of measurement * Degree symbol (°), a notation used in science, engineering, and mathematics * Degree (angle), a unit of angle measurement * Degree (temperature), any of various units of temperature measurement ...
-granting powers and which institutions did not. The compromise solution that emerged in 1836 was that the sole authority to conduct the examinations leading to degrees would be given to a new officially recognized entity called the "University of London", which would act as examining body for the University of London colleges, originally University College London and
King's College London King's College London (informally King's or KCL) is a public university, public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a founding college and Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the f ...
, and award their students University of London degrees. As
Sheldon RothblattSheldon may refer to: * Sheldon (name)Sheldon is a masculine given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name * Sheldon Adelson (1933–2021), American billionaire businessman * Sheldon Bach (1925-2021), American psycholog ...
states: "Thus arose in nearly archetypal form the famous English distinction between
teaching Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...

teaching
and
exam A test or examination (exam or evaluation) is an educational assessment intended to measure a test-taker's knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics (e.g., beliefs). A test may be administered verbal ...
ining, here embodied in separate institutions." With the state giving examining powers to a separate entity, the groundwork was laid for the creation of a programme within the new university which would both administer examinations and award qualifications to students taking instruction at another institution or pursuing a course of self-directed study. Referred to as "People's University" by
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian er ...

Charles Dickens
because it provided access to
higher education Higher education is tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge ...
to students from less affluent backgrounds, the External Programme was chartered by
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
in 1858, making the University of London the first university to offer distance learning degrees to students. Enrollment increased steadily during the late 19th century, and its example was widely copied elsewhere. This programme is now known as the University of London International Programme and includes Postgraduate, Undergraduate and Diploma degrees created by colleges such as the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths. In the United States,
William Rainey Harper William Rainey Harper (July 24, 1856 – January 10, 1906) was an American academic leader, an accomplished semiticist, and Baptist clergyman. Harper helped to establish both the University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago, U ...
, founder and first president of the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a in . Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,452 students, including 7,559 undergraduates and 10,893 graduate students. The university is ...
, celebrated the concept of extended education, where a research university had satellite colleges elsewhere in the region. In 1892, Harper encouraged correspondence courses to further promote education, an idea that was put into practice by Chicago, Wisconsin, Columbia, and several dozen other universities by the 1920s. Enrollment in the largest private for-profit school based in
Scranton, Pennsylvania Scranton is the sixth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in ...

Scranton, Pennsylvania
, the
International Correspondence Schools ICS Learn, also known as International Correspondence Schools Ltd, is a provider of online learning courses in the UK. It was founded in 1889 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The UK branch was set up in 1904, and it now serves around 20,000 current stude ...
grew explosively in the 1890s. Founded in 1888 to provide training for immigrant coal miners aiming to become state mine inspectors or foremen, it enrolled 2500 new students in 1894 and matriculated 72,000 new students in 1895. By 1906 total enrollments reached 900,000. The growth was due to sending out complete textbooks instead of single lessons, and the use of 1200 aggressive in-person salesmen. There was a stark contrast in pedagogy: Education was a high priority in the
Progressive Era The Progressive Era (1896–1916) was a period of widespread social activism Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in Social change, social, Political campaign, political, Economics, economic, or Natural ...
, as American high schools and colleges expanded greatly. For men who were older or were too busy with family responsibilities, night schools were opened, such as the
YMCA YMCA, sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide youth organization based in Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge Carouge () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History ...

YMCA
school in Boston that became
Northeastern University Northeastern University (NU or NEU) is a private university, private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1898, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs on its main campus in Boston as well as regional ca ...

Northeastern University
. Outside the big cities, private correspondence schools offered a flexible, narrowly focused solution. Large corporations systematized their training programmes for new employees. The National Association of Corporation Schools grew from 37 in 1913 to 146 in 1920. Starting in the 1880s, private schools opened across the country which offered specialized technical training to anyone who enrolled, not just the employees of one company. Starting in Milwaukee in 1907, public schools began opening free vocational programmes. Only a third of the American population lived in cities of 100,000 or more population in 1920; to reach the rest, correspondence techniques had to be adopted. Australia, with its vast distances, was especially active; the
University of Queensland , mottoeng = By means of knowledge and hard work , established = , endowment = A$224.3 million , budget = A$2.1 billion , type = Public university, Public research university , chancellor = Peter Varghese , vice_chancellor = Deborah Te ...

University of Queensland
established its Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911. In South Africa, the
University of South Africa The University of South Africa (UNISA), known colloquially as Unisa, is the largest university system in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics ...
, formerly an examining and certification body, started to present distance education tuition in 1946. The International Conference for Correspondence Education held its first meeting in 1938. The goal was to provide individualised education for students, at low cost, by using a pedagogy of testing, recording, classification, and differentiation. The organization has since been renamed as the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), with headquarters in
Oslo Oslo ( , , or ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and small ...

Oslo
, Norway.


Open universities

The
Open University The Open University (OU) is a public research university and the largest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus File:Uni ...
in the United Kingdom was founded by the-then
Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
government led by Prime Minister,
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He was th ...

Harold Wilson
, based on the vision of Michael Young. Planning commenced in 1965 under the Minister of State for Education, Jennie Lee, who established a model for the Open University (OU) as one of widening access to the highest standards of scholarship in higher education and set up a planning committee consisting of university vice-chancellors, educationalists, and television broadcasters, chaired by Sir Peter Venables. The British Broadcasting Corporation (
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of ...

BBC
) Assistant Director of Engineering at the time, James Redmond, had obtained most of his qualifications at
night school A night school is an Adult education, adult learning school that holds classes in the evening or at night to accommodate people who work during the day to prepare for the GED exam. A community college or university may hold night school classes that ...
, and his natural enthusiasm for the project did much to overcome the technical difficulties of using television to broadcast teaching programmes. The Open University revolutionised the scope of the correspondence programme and helped to create a respectable learning alternative to the traditional form of education. It has been at the forefront of developing new technologies to improve the distance learning service as well as undertaking research in other disciplines.
Walter Perry Walter Laing MacDonald Perry, Baron Perry of Walton, OBE, FRS, FRCP, FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science ...
was appointed the OU's first vice-chancellor in January 1969, and its foundation secretary was
Anastasios Christodoulou Anastasios Christodoulou (1 May 1932 – 20 May 2002), often known as Chris Christodoulou, was a British-based Greek Cypriots, Greek Cypriot Academic administration, university administrator. He was the Secretary General of the Association of Co ...
. The election of the new
Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...

Conservative
government under the leadership of
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005) was a British politician who served as from 1970 to 1974 and from 1965 to 1975. Heath also served for 51 years as a from 1950 to 2001. Outside of politics, Heath was a , a musician, ...
, in 1970; led to budget cuts under
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that ha ...
Iain Macleod Iain Norman Macleod (11 November 1913 – 20 July 1970) was a British Conservative Party politician and government minister. A playboy and professional bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span ...

Iain Macleod
(who had earlier called the idea of an Open University "blithering nonsense"). However, the OU accepted its first 25,000 students in 1971, adopting a radical open admissions policy. At the time, the total student population of conventional universities in the United Kingdom was around 130,000.
Athabasca University Athabasca University (AU) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connect ...
, Canada's Open University, was created in 1970 and followed a similar, though independently developed, pattern. The Open University inspired the creation of Spain's
National University of Distance Education The National Distance Education University, known in Spanish language, Spanish as ''Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia'' (UNED), is a Public university, public research university of national scope, it was founded in 1972 and is depen ...
(1972) and Germany's FernUniversität in Hagen (1974). There are now many similar institutions around the world, often with the name "Open University" (in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
or in the local language). The University of the Philippines Open University was established in 1995 as the fifth constituent university of the
University of the Philippines System The University of the Philippines (UP; fil, Pamantasan ng Pilipinas Unibersidad ng Pilipinas) is a in the , and is the country's national university. Originally founded by the on June 18, 1908, it was established through the ratification o ...
and was the first distance education and online University in the Philippines. Its mandate is to provide education opportunities to individuals aspiring for higher education and improved qualifications but were unable to take advantage of traditional modes of education because of personal and professional obligations. Most
open universities The Open University (OU) is a public research university and the largest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus File:Uni ...
use distance education technologies as delivery methods, though some require attendance at local study centres or at regional "summer schools". Some open universities have grown to become ''mega-universities'', a term coined to denote institutions with more than 100,000 students.


COVID-19 pandemic

The
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a c ...

COVID-19 pandemic
resulted in the closure of the vast majority of schools worldwide. Many schools moved to online remote learning through platforms including—but not limited to—
Zoom Zoom may refer to: Technology Computing * Zoom (software), videoconferencing application * Page zooming, the ability to magnify or shrink a portion of a page on a computer display * Zooming user interface, a graphical interface allowing for ima ...
,
Cisco Webex Cisco Webex is an American company that develops and sells web conferencing and videoconferencing Videotelephony comprises the technologies for the reception and transmission of audio- video signals by users in different locations, for commu ...
,
Google Classroom Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google Google LLC is an American Multinational corporation, multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertisin ...

Google Classroom
,
Google Meet Google Meet (formerly known as Hangouts Meet) is a Videotelephony, video-communication service developed by Google. It is one of two Application software, apps that constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Chat. Hist ...
,
Microsoft Teams Microsoft Teams is a proprietary business communication platform developed by Microsoft, as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. Teams primarily competes with the similar service Slack (software), Slack, offering workspace chat and vid ...

Microsoft Teams
, D2L, and Edgenuity. Concerns arose over the impact of this transition on students without access to an internet-enabled device or a stable internet connection. Distanced education during the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted synchronous learning for many students and teachers; where educators were no longer able to teach in real time and could only switch to asynchronous instruction, this significantly and negatively affected their coping with the transition, and posed various legal issues, especially in terms of copyright. A recent study about the benefits and drawbacks of online learning found that students have had a harder time producing their own work. The study suggests teachers should cut back on the amount of information taught and incorporate more activities during the lesson, in order for students to create their own work.


Technologies

Internet technology has enabled many forms of distance learning through
open educational resources Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. The term OER describes publicly accessible mate ...
and facilities such as
e-learning Educational technology (commonly abbreviated as EduTech, or EdTech) is the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theoryEducation sciences or education theory (traditionally often called pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly ...
and
MOOCs A massive open online course (MOOC ) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the Web Web most often refers to: * Spider web A spider web, spiderweb, spider's web, or cobweb (from the archaic word '' coppe' ...
. Although the expansion of the Internet blurs the boundaries, distance education technologies are divided into two modes of delivery:
synchronous learning Synchronous learning refers to a learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to concepts, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to make sense of them. ...
and
asynchronous learning Asynchronous learning is a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that do not occur in the same place or at the same time. It uses resources that facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and ...
. In synchronous learning, all participants are "present" at the same time in a virtual classroom, as in traditional classroom teaching. It requires a timetable.
Web conferencing#REDIRECT web conferencing Web conferencing is used as an umbrella term for various types of online conferencing and collaborative services including webinars (web seminars), webcasts, and web meetings. Sometimes it may be used also in the more ...
,
videoconferencing Videotelephony, sometimes also referred to as video teleconference or videoconferencing, comprises the technologies for the reception and transmission of audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυ ...
,
educational television Educational television or learning television is the use of television programs in the field of distance education. It may be in the form of individual television programs or dedicated specialty channels that is often associated with cable televisio ...
,
instructional televisionInstructional television (ITV) is the use of television program upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT televisi ...
are examples of synchronous technology, as are
direct-broadcast satellite Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals via a ...
(DBS),
internet radio Internet radio (also web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio, IP radio, online radio) is a digital audio service transmitted via the Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of inte ...
,
live streaming Livestreaming is online streaming media simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real-time. It is often referred to simply as streaming, but this abbreviated term is ambiguous because "streaming" may refer to any media delivered and played back s ...
,
telephone A telephone is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anyt ...

telephone
, and web-based VoIP. Web conferencing software helps to facilitate class meetings, and usually contains additional interaction tools such as text chat, polls, hand raising, emoticons etc. These tools also support asynchronous participation by students who can listen to recordings of synchronous sessions. Immersive environments (notably ) have also been used to enhance participant presence in distance education courses. Another form of synchronous learning using the classroom is the use of robot proxies including those that allow sick students to attend classes. Some universities have been starting to use robot proxies to enable more engaging synchronous hybrid classes where both remote and in-person students can be present and interact using
telerobotics Telerobotics is the area of robotics Robotics is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws k ...
devices such as the Kubi Telepresence robot stand that looks around and the Double Robot that roams around. With these telepresence robots, the remote students have a seat at the table or desk instead of being on a screen on the wall. In asynchronous learning, participants access course materials flexibly on their own schedules. Students are not required to be together at the same time. Mail correspondence, which is the oldest form of distance education, is an asynchronous delivery technology, as are
message board An Internet forum, or message board, is an online In computer technology and telecommunications, online indicates a state of connectivity, and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology this usually refers to an Internet ...
forums,
e-mail upThe email_address.html"_;"title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

e-mail
,
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active de ...

video
and
audio recording Audio most commonly refers to sound, as it is transmitted in signal form. It may also refer to: Sound *Audio signal, an electrical representation of sound *Audio frequency, a frequency in the audio spectrum *Digital audio, representation of sound ...
s, print materials,
voicemail A voicemail system (also known as voice message or voice bank) is a computer-based system that allows users and subscribers to exchange personal voice messages; to select and deliver voice information; and to process transactions relating to indiv ...
, and
fax , which was modern for fax machines at that time. which required special, relatively expensive thermal paper Thermal paper (sometimes referred to as an audit roll) is a special fine paper that is coated with a material formulated to change col ...

fax
. The two methods can be combined. Many courses offered by both open universities and an increasing number of campus-based institutions use periodic sessions of residential or day teaching to supplement the sessions delivered at a distance. This type of mixed distance and campus-based education has recently come to be called "
blended learning Blended learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some ...

blended learning
" or less often "hybrid learning". Many open universities use a blend of technologies and a blend of learning modalities (face-to-face, distance, and hybrid) all under the rubric of "distance learning". Distance learning can also use interactive radio instruction (IRI), interactive audio instruction (IAI), online
virtual world A virtual world (also called a virtual space) is a computer-simulated environment which may be populated by many users who can create a personal avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent ...
s, digital games, webinars, and webcasts, all of which are referred to as e-Learning.


Radio and television

The rapid spread of film in the 1920s and radio in the 1930s led to proposals to use it for distance education. By 1938, at least 200 city school systems, 25 state boards of education, and many colleges and universities broadcast educational programmes for the public schools. One line of thought was to use radio as a master teacher. The first large-scale implementation of radio for distance education took place in 1937 in Chicago. During a three-week school closure implemented in response to a
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology) ...

polio
outbreak that the city was experiencing, superintendent of Chicago Public Schools
William JohnsonWilliam Johnson may refer to: Entertainment * Bunk Johnson (William Gary Johnson, 1879–1949), American jazz musician * William Johnson (artist) (1901–1970), African–American painter of the Harlem Renaissance * William Johnson (actor) (1916 ...
and assistant superintendent Minnie Fallon implemented a programme of distance learning that provided the city's
elementary school A primary school (in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and South Africa), junior school (in Australia), elementary school or grade school (in North America and the Philippines) is a school A school is a ...

elementary school
students with instruction through radio broadcasts. A typical setup came in Kentucky in 1948 when John Wilkinson Taylor, president of the
University of Louisville The University of Louisville (UofL) is a public university, public research university in Louisville, Kentucky. It is part of the Kentucky state university system. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the Unite ...
, teamed up with
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
to use radio as a medium for distance education, The chairman of the
Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdictions. In ...
endorsed the project and predicted that the "college-by-radio" would put "American education 25 years ahead". The university was owned by the city, and local residents would pay the low tuition rates, receive their study materials in the mail, and listen by radio to live classroom discussions that were held on campus. Physicist Daniel Q. Posin also was a pioneer in the field of distance education when he hosted a televised course through DePaul University. Charles Wedemeyer of the University of Wisconsin–Madison also promoted new methods. From 1964 to 1968, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Foundation funded Wedemeyer's ''Articulated Instructional Media Project'' (AIM) which brought in a variety of communications technologies aimed at providing learning to an off-campus population. The radio courses faded away in the 1950s. Many efforts to use television along the same lines proved unsuccessful, despite heavy funding by the Ford Foundation. From 1970 to 1972 the Coordinating Commission for Higher Education in California funded Project Outreach to study the potential of telecourses. The study included the University of California, California State University, and the community colleges. This study led to coordinated instructional systems legislation allowing the use of public funds for non-classroom instruction and paved the way for the emergence of telecourses as the precursor to the online courses and programmes of today. The Coastline Community Colleges, The Dallas County Community College District, and Miami Dade Community College led the way. The ''Adult Learning Service'' of the US Public Broadcasting Service came into being and the "wrapped" series, and individually produced telecourse for credit became a significant part of the history of distance education and online learning.


Internet

The widespread use of computers and the internet have made distance learning easier and faster, and today virtual schools and Virtual university, virtual universities deliver full curricula online. The capacity of Internet to support voice, video, text and immersion teaching methods made earlier distinct forms of telephone, videoconferencing, radio, television, and text based education somewhat redundant. However, many of the techniques developed and lessons learned with earlier media are used in Internet delivery. The first totally online courses for graduate and undergraduate credit were offered starting in the Fall of 1985 by Connected Education through The New School in New York City, with students earning the MA in Media Studies completely online via computer conferencing, with no in-person requirements. This was followed in 1986 by the University of Toronto through the Graduate School of Education (then called OISE: the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), offering a course in "Women and Computers in Education", dealing with gender issues and educational computing. The first new and fully online university was founded in 1994 as the Open University of Catalonia, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. In 1999 Jones International University was launched as the first fully online university Educational accreditation, accredited by a regional accrediting association in the US. Between 2000 and 2008, enrollment in distance education courses increased rapidly in almost every country in both developed and developing countries. Many private, public, non-profit and for-profit institutions worldwide now offer distance education courses from the most basic instruction through to the highest levels of degree and doctoral programmes. New York University
International University Canada
for example, offers online degrees in engineering and management-related fields through NYU Tandon Online. Levels of accreditation vary: widely respected universities such as Stanford University and Harvard now deliver online courses—but other online schools receive little outside oversight, and some are actually fraudulent, i.e., diploma mills. In the US, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) specializes in the accreditation of distance education institutions. In the United States in 2011, it was found that a third of all the students enrolled in postsecondary education had taken an accredited online course in a postsecondary institution. Growth continued. In 2013 the majority of public and private colleges offered full academic programmes online. Programmes included training in the mental health,Blackmore, C., van Deurzen, E., & Tantam, D. (2007). Therapy training online: Using the internet to widen access to training in mental health issues. In T. Stickley & T. Basset (Eds.) Teaching Mental Health (pgs. 337-352). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. occupational therapy,Jedlicka, J. S., Brown, S. W., Bunch, A. E., & Jaffe, L. E. (2002). A comparison of distance education instructional methods in occupational therapy. Journal of Allied Health, 31(4), 247-251.Stanton, S. (2001). Going the distance; Developing shared web-based learning programmes. Occupational Therapy International, 8(2), 96-106. family therapy,Maggio, L. M., Chenail, R., & Todd, T. (2001). Teaching family therapy in an electronic age. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 20(1), 13-23. art therapy,Orr, P. (2010). Distance supervision: Research, findings, and considerations for art therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 37, 106-111. physical therapy, and rehabilitation counselingStebnicki, M. A. & Glover, N. M. (2001). E-supervision as a complementary approach to traditional face-to-face clinical supervision in rehabilitation counseling: Problems and solutions. Rehabilitation Education, 15(3), 283-293. fields. By 2008, online learning programmes were available in the United States in 44 states at the K-12 level. Internet forums, online discussion group and online learning community can contribute to a distance education experience. Research shows that socialization plays an important role in some forms of distance education. ECourses are available from websites such as Khan Academy and MasterClass on many topics.


Paced and self-paced models

Most distance education uses a paced format similar to traditional campus-based models in which learners commence and complete a course at the same time. Some institutions offer self-paced programmes that allow for continuous enrollment, and the length of time to complete the course is set by the learner's time, skill, and commitment levels. Self-paced courses are almost always offered asynchronously. Each delivery method offers advantages and disadvantages for students, teachers, and institutions. Andreas Kaplan, Kaplan and Haenlein classify distance education into four groups according to "Time dependency" and "Number of participants": # MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): Open-access online course (i.e., without specific participation restrictions) that allows for unlimited (massive) participation; # Small private online course, SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses): Online course that only offers a limited number of places and therefore requires some form of formal enrollment; # SMOCs (Synchronous Massive Online Courses): Open-access online course that allows for unlimited participation but requires students to be "present" at the same time (synchronously); # SSOCs (Synchronous Private Online Courses): Online course that only offers a limited number of places and requires students to be "present" at the same time (synchronously). Paced models are a familiar mode since they are used almost exclusively in campus-based schools. Institutes that offer both distance and campus programmes usually use paced models so that teacher workload, student semester planning, tuition deadlines, exam schedules, and other administrative details can be synchronized with campus delivery. Student familiarity and the pressure of deadlines encourages students to readily adapt to and usually succeed in paced models. However, student freedom is sacrificed as a common pace is often too fast for some students and too slow for others. In additional life events, professional or family responsibilities can interfere with a student's capability to complete tasks to an external schedule. Finally, paced models allow students to readily form communities of inquiry and to engage in collaborative work. Self-paced courses maximize student freedom, as not only can students commence studies on any date, but they can complete a course in as little time as a few weeks or up to a year or longer. Students often enroll in self-paced study when they are under pressure to complete programmes, have not been able to complete a scheduled course, need additional courses, or have pressure which precludes regular study for any length of time. The self-paced nature of the programming, though, is an unfamiliar model for many students and can lead to excessive procrastination, resulting in course incompletion. Assessment of learning can also be challenging as exams can be written on any day, making it possible for students to share examination questions with resulting loss of academic integrity. Finally, it is extremely challenging to organize collaborative work activities, though some schools are developing cooperative models based upon networked and connectivist pedagogies for use in self-paced programmes.


Benefits

Distance learning can expand access to education and training for both general populace and businesses since its flexible scheduling structure lessens the effects of the many time-constraints imposed by personal responsibilities and commitments. Devolving some activities off-site alleviates institutional capacity constraints arising from the traditional demand on institutional buildings and infrastructure. Furthermore, there is the potential for increased access to more experts in the field and to other students from diverse geographical, social, cultural, economic, and experiential backgrounds. As the population at large becomes more involved in lifelong learning beyond the normal schooling age, institutions can benefit financially, and adult learning business courses may be particularly lucrative. Distance education programmes can act as a catalyst for institutional innovation and are at least as effective as face-to-face learning programmes, especially if the instructor is knowledgeable and skilled. Distance education can also provide a broader method of communication within the realm of education. With the many tools and programmes that technological advancements have to offer, communication appears to increase in distance education amongst students and their professors, as well as students and their classmates. The distance educational increase in communication, particularly communication amongst students and their classmates, is an improvement that has been made to provide distance education students with as many of the opportunities as possible as they would receive in in-person education. The improvement being made in distance education is growing in tandem with the constant technological advancements. Present-day online communication allows students to associate with accredited schools and programmes throughout the world that are out of reach for in-person learning. By having the opportunity to be involved in global institutions via distance education, a diverse array of thought is presented to students through communication with their classmates. This is beneficial because students have the opportunity to "combine new opinions with their own, and develop a solid foundation for learning". It has been shown through research that "as learners become aware of the variations in interpretation and construction of meaning among a range of people [they] construct an individual meaning", which can help students become knowledgeable of a wide array of viewpoints in education. To increase the likelihood that students will build effective ties with one another during the course, instructors should use similar assignments for students across different locations to overcome the influence of co-location on relationship building. The high cost of education affects students in higher education, to which distance education may be an alternative in order to provide some relief. Distance education has been a more cost-effective form of learning, and can sometimes save students a significant amount of money as opposed to traditional education. Distance education may be able to help to save students a considerable amount financially by removing the cost of transportation. In addition, distance education may be able to save students from the economic burden of high-priced course textbooks. Many textbooks are now available as electronic textbooks, known as e-textbooks, which can offer digital textbooks for a reduced price in comparison to traditional textbooks. Also, the increasing improvements in technology have resulted in many school libraries having a partnership with digital publishers that offer course materials for free, which can help students significantly with educational costs. Within the class, students are able to learn in ways that traditional classrooms would not be able to provide. It is able to promote good learning experiences and therefore, allow students to obtain higher satisfaction with their online learning. For example, students can review their lessons more than once according to their needs. Students can then manipulate the coursework to fit their learning by focusing more on their weaker topics while breezing through concepts that they already have or can easily grasp. When course design and the learning environment are at their optimal conditions, distance education can lead students to higher satisfaction with their learning experiences. Studies have shown that high satisfaction correlates to increased learning. For those in a healthcare or mental health distance learning programme, online-based interactions have the potential to foster deeper reflections and discussions of client issues as well as a quicker response to client issues, since supervision happens on a regular basis and is not limited to a weekly supervision meeting. This also may contribute to the students feeling a greater sense of support, since they have ongoing and regular access to their instructors and other students. Distance learning may enable students who are unable to attend a traditional school setting, due to disability or illness such as decreased mobility and immune system suppression, to get a good education. Children who are sick or are unable to attend classes are able to attend them in "person" through the use of robot proxies. This helps the students have experiences of the classroom and social interaction that they are unable to receive at home or the hospital, while still keeping them in a safe learning environment. Over the last few years more students are entering safely back into the classroom thanks to the help of robots. An article from the ''New York Times'', "A Swiveling Proxy Will Even Wear a Tutu", explains the positive impact of virtual learning in the classroom, and another that explains how even a simple, stationary telepresence robot can help. Distance education may provide equal access regardless of socioeconomic status or income, area of residence, gender, race, age, or cost per student. Applying universal design strategies to distance learning courses as they are being developed (rather than instituting accommodations for specific students on an as-needed basis) can increase the accessibility of such courses to students with a range of abilities, disabilities, learning styles, and native languages. Distance education graduates, who would never have been associated with the school under a traditional system, may donate money to the school. Distance learning may also offer a final opportunity for adolescents that are no longer permitted in the general education population due to behavior disorders. Instead of these students having no other academic opportunities, they may continue their education from their homes and earn their diplomas, offering them another chance to be an integral part of society. Distance learning offers individuals a unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise and resources of the best universities currently available. Moreover, the online environment facilitates pedagogical innovation such as new programme structures and formats. Students have the ability to collaborate, share, question, infer, and suggest new methods and techniques for continuous improvement of the content. The ability to complete a course at a pace that is appropriate for each individual is the most effective manner to learn given the personal demands on time and schedule. Self-paced distance learning on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, provides maximum flexibility and capability. Distance learning can also reduce the phenomenon of rural exodus by enabling students from remote regions to remain in their hometowns while pursuing higher education. Eliminating the distance barrier to higher education can also increase the number of alternatives open to students, and foster greater competition between institutions of higher learning regardless of geography.


Criticism

Barriers to effective distance education include obstacles such as domestic distractions and unreliable technology, as well as students' programme costs, adequate contact with teachers and support services, and a need for more experience. Some students attempt to participate in distance education without proper training with the tools needed to be successful in the programme. Students must be provided with training opportunities (if needed) on each tool that is used throughout the programme. The lack of advanced technology skills can lead to an unsuccessful experience. Schools have a responsibility to adopt a proactive policy for managing technology barriers. Time management skills and self-discipline in distance education is just as important as complete knowledge of the software and tools being used for learning. The results of a study of Washington state community college students showed that distance learning students tended to drop out more often than their traditional counterparts due to difficulties in language, time management, and study skills. According to Dr. Pankaj Singhm, director of NIMS University, Nims University, "distance learning benefits may outweigh the disadvantages for students in such a technology-driven society, however before indulging into the use of educational technology a few more disadvantages should be considered." He describes that over multiple years, "all of the obstacles have been overcome and the world environment for distance education continues to improve." Dr. Pankaj Singhm also claims there is a debate to distance education stating, "due to a lack of direct face-to-face social interaction. However, as more people become used to personal and social interaction online (for example dating, chat rooms, shopping, or blogging), it is becoming easier for learners to both project themselves and socializes with others. This is an obstacle that has dissipated." Not all courses required to complete a degree may be offered online. Health care profession programmes in particular require some sort of patient interaction through fieldwork before a student may graduate. Studies have also shown that students pursuing a medical professional graduate degree who are participating in distance education courses, favor a face to face communication over professor-mediated chat rooms and/or independent studies. However, this is little correlation between student performance when comparing the previous different distance learning strategies. There is a theoretical problem about the application of traditional teaching methods to online courses because online courses may have no upper size limit. Daniel Barwick noted that there is no evidence that large class size is always worse or that small class size is always better, although a negative link has been established between certain types of instruction in large classes and learning outcomes; he argued that higher education has not made a sufficient effort to experiment with a variety of instructional methods to determine whether large class size is always negatively correlated with a reduction in learning outcomes. Early proponents of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) saw them as just the type of experiment that Barwick had pointed out was lacking in higher education, although Barwick himself has never advocated for MOOCs. There may also be institutional challenges. Distance learning is new enough that it may be a challenge to gain support for these programmes in a traditional brick-and-mortar academic learning environment. Furthermore, it may be more difficult for the instructor to organize and plan a distance learning programme, especially since many are new programmes and their organizational needs are different from a traditional learning programme. Additionally, though distance education offers industrial countries the opportunity to become globally informed, there are still negative sides to it. Hellman states that "These include its cost and capital intensiveness, time constraints and other pressures on instructors, the isolation of students from instructors and their peers, instructors' enormous difficulty in adequately evaluating students they never meet face-to-face, and drop-out rates far higher than in classroom-based courses."Hellman, Judith Adler. "The Riddle of Distance Education." Geneva. 1 June 2003. A more complex challenge of distance education relates to cultural differences between students and teachers and among students. Distance programmes tend to be more diverse as they could go beyond the geographical borders of regions, countries, and continents, and cross the cultural borders that may exist with respect to race, gender, and religion. That requires a proper understanding and awareness of the norms, differences, preconceptions, and potential conflicting issues.


Educational technology

The modern use of electronic educational technology (also called e-learning) facilitates distance learning and independent learning by the extensive use of information and communications technology (ICT), replacing traditional content delivery by postal correspondence. Instruction can be synchronous and asynchronous online communication in an interactive learning environment or virtual communities, in lieu of a physical classroom. "The focus is shifted to the education transaction in the form of a virtual community of learners sustainable across time." One of the most significant issues encountered in the mainstream correspondence model of distance education is the transactional distance, which results from the lack of appropriate communication between learner and teacher. This gap has been observed to become wider if there is no communication between the learner and teacher and has direct implications over the learning process and future endeavors in distance education. Distance education providers began to introduce various strategies, techniques, and procedures to increase the amount of interaction between learners and teachers. These measures e.g. more frequent face-to-face tutorials, increased use of information and communication technologies including teleconferencing and the Internet, were designed to close the gap in transactional distance.Soekartawi, Haryono, A. & Librero, F. 2002. Greater Learning Opportunities Through Distance Education: Experiences in Indonesia and the Philippines. ''Journal of Southeast Asian Education'', Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 283–320. Retrieved from http://www.seameo-journal.com/journal/index.php/education/article/viewFile/39/38


Credentials

Online credentials for learning are digital credentials that are offered in place of traditional paper credentials for a skill or educational achievement. Directly linked to the accelerated development of internet communication technologies, the development of digital badges, electronic passports and massive open online courses (MOOCs) have a very direct bearing on our understanding of learning, recognition and levels as they pose a direct challenge to the status quo. It is useful to distinguish between three forms of online credentials: Test-based credentials, online badges, and online certificates.


See also

* Degree completion program * Digital divide * Distance and on-line learning advocates ** Herbert Gross ** Linda Harasim * Educational technology * Homeschooling * Learning environment * Low-residency program * Media psychology * New media * Open supported learning * Open-door academic policy * Qualifications framework#Qualifications frameworks for online learning, Qualifications frameworks for online learning * School of the Air, distance education in Australia * ''Sunrise Semester'' * Videotelephony * Virtual education


Sources


References


Further reading

*Anderson, T. (2008). ''Theory and Practice of Online Education'' (2nd ed) * Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2010). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. ''The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning'', 12(3), 80–97. * Bates, T. (2005). ''Technology, e-learning and distance education'': RoutledgeFalmer. * * *Holmberg, Börje. (1995). ''Theory and Practice of Distance Education'' (2nd ed
online
* Jacob, J.U., Ensign M. (2020)
Transactional Radio Instruction: Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Conflict Zones
Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32369-1. * Kett, Joseph F. (1994). ''Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America'' *
online edition
*Major, C. H. (2015). Teaching online: A guide to theory, research, and practice. (Johns Hopkins University Press). * Moore, M. G. (1990). ''Contemporary issues in American distance education'' (Ed.) * Peters, O. (1994). Distance education and industrial production: A comparative interpretation in outline(1973). ''Otto Peters on distance education: The industrialization of teaching and learning'', 107–127. * Saba, F. (2011). Distance Education in the United States: Past, Present, Future. ''Educational Technology'', 51(6), 11. *Stubblefield, Harold W., and Patrick Keane. (1994). ''Adult Education in the American Experience: From the Colonial Period to the Present'' * Taylor, J. C. (2001). Fifth-generation distance education. ''e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology'' (e-JIST), 4(1), 1-14. * Terry Evans, M. H., David Murphy (Ed.). (2008). ''International Handbook of Distance Education''. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. * Walsh, T. (2011). ''Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses'' (Princeton University Press, 2011
online


External links

*
"Radio in education"
full-text books and articles online; from 1930s and 1940s
"Issues in Distance Education book series from Athabasca University Press"
. A series of over 10 books related to distance education research. Available in print for sale or online as open access.

DO-IT Center, University of Washington {{Authority control Distance education, Educational television Learning methods Types of university or college Television terminology, Education