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distance learning (e-learning)

Distance learning, sometimes called e-learning, is a formalized teaching and learning system specifically designed to be carried out remotely by using electronic communication. Because distance learning is less expensive to support and is not constrained by geographic considerations, it offers opportunities in situations where traditional education has difficulty operating. Students with scheduling or distance problems can benefit, as can employees, because distance education can be more flexible in terms of time and can be delivered virtually anywhere.

Popular distance learning technologies include:

  • Voice-centered technology, such as CD or MP3 recordings or Webcasts
  • Video technology, such as instructional videos, DVDs, and interactive videoconferencing
  • Computer-centered technology delivered over the Internet or corporate intranet

Studies indicate that distance learning can be as effective as the traditional format when the methods are appropriate to the teaching tasks, there is student-teacher interaction, and the teachers provide students with appropriate and timely feedback.

This was last updated in September 2005

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