Defining Distance Learning

Distance Education  Summer 2015

Defining Distance Education

Distance, learning, evolution, comunication methods, technology is all interelated, magically change with time!

The definition of distance learning has changed over the years.  The key factor of distance learning evolution is communication methods.  As we look back in communication methods, we can imagine the “Pony Express”, our brave mail men who used to travel long distances to bring the mail correspondence north, south, west and east and keep the communication flowing from one of the United States to the other end.  Distance learning began by mail correspondence.  In many places of the world, is still the method of learning.  As communication technology advances distance learning way of instruction changes. Walden University Distance Learning EDU 6135 graduate class has truly changed my view of Distance Education.   At times, we can think that distance learning is based on a person’s profession or by how much technical experience the person has.  However, if we look at distance education globally, we must understand that resources are the key factors influencing distance education for that region, country, community or person.

Distance learning has developed over the years with a big influence, in what we know today to be Distance Education.  Indeed, distance education is institutionalized education.  When the learner, the resources of the learner and the instructor are separated, can be defined as distance learning. Distance learning can happened synchronously or asynchronously. 


As I began to write this post, a memory of my first higher education, distance learning experience came to mind. Of collaborative model, the last class before graduating from my second Bachelors in Hospitability Management and my first distance learning class was in 1997,  Timeshare Management at Florida International University.  The class was instructed by the Vice President of Interval International. Hospitality students were looking forward to learn from the best timeshare instructor.  High tech classrooms in three campuses, with hundreds of students took the same timeshare distance learning class, synchronously.  The experience of being able to engage, instructor and students in three different campuses, was an amazing one.  Today, I truly enjoy being a virtual learner and look forward to the future.  I envision distance education technology enhancements over the years will make learning more and more accessible and learner-centered.  Face to face learning will still exists for many years to come.  However, I envision distance learning to become more and more sophisticated and exciting.  Technology-centered side by side with learner centered will indeed, position distance education as the preferred method by many. 

Jacqueline A. Solano



Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75. Simonson, M.,

Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education


Distance Learning Evaluation Mindmap


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