Distance learning is an institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources and instructors (Simonson, 2009,2010). As I reflect on my educational background and experiences, I have seen my self-being a distance learner or even participate in such learning environment. Being educated in the country of Jamaica, where traditional classrooms were most prevalent and widely accepted, distance learning was never an option and the resources to facilitate such a learning environment were limited.
I once thought that I could not learn unless I have a teacher in front of me doing the chalk and talk method but I prove myself wrong when I relocated to the US and wanted to further my education. While juggling a full-time job and taking care of my family, there was no other educational option that would facilitate my current option than distance learning. My first impression/definition of distance learning was doing courses online.
Distance learning has truly evolved, never would I have thought that this extremely unconventional means of learning was initiated by means of the newspaper and mail. The content was presented through television and telephone communication, which evolved into what we currently use today, the internet. With the introduction of new technologies, distances learning has taken to new heights and include more channels that learners does not feel isolated or a distinct separation from other learners.
I define Distance learning as the transfer of knowledge and or information by the utilization of various communication channels, largely the internet with other learners and facilitators/instructors around the globe synchronously and asynchronously.
While technology continues to evolve and transform, so will distance learning as the changes and improvements in technology will affect distance learning. This learning platform will broaden and also improve on more sophisticated means by which content are delivered and interacted with by learners and instructors.
The Evolution of Distance Learning – Florida National University. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education