Definition of distance learning education
Distance Learning refers to learning remotely without having a face-to-face interaction with a teacher in a classroom. Distance learning can be termed as a way of getting information/education without direct interaction with the provider of such information. This can be achieved by different methods, including through study centers located in places where the main provider is not based. However, the qualification gained by studying in such distance learning centres is considered as being provided by the main provider only.
Description: Distance learning is the preferred choice of individuals who are either working or cannot be physically present to attend classes. Education is offered here on virtual basis, where time and distance does not matter and the learner can access information at his/her own convenience. There are various modes which are covered under distance education such as evening classes provided by the universities or correspondence education where attending classes is not compulsory. Online classes via the Internet, educational DVDs and study material, including books and other reference material, also form a part of the educational content. This flexible system of education is considered to be less expensive, yet effective, and without any geographical constraints. Students still have access to their mentors/ teachers in some or the other way. For example, they have different forums for their questions, feedback or suggestions. They might also have teacher-student interaction periodically in certain correspondence classes.
At times, the interaction can also be had on emails. Distance learning was first introduced in London in 1858 and the University of London was the first provider of external education. The degrees given were based on the same model. Today, distance learning is considered to be as good as regular education and it has spread globally with a large number of institutions in various countries. Many institutes in India and abroad are imparting education to students via distance mode and a large number of industry professionals are enhancing their qualifications through correspondence. Distance education has many benefits. The primary benefit is that students can work and study at the same time and at their own pace and convenience. Students who opt for this mode of learning are assessed by means of online or offline examinations. Distance learning is not just about studying part time at one's own convenience. It also has an evaluation system which ensures that students are assessed regularly with the help of examinations and compulsory assignments.