What Is a Distance Learning Degree Program?

Distance learning incorporates different types of media, including the internet, telephone and television, to convey instructional material to students. Read on to learn more about what a distance learning education entails.

Overview of Distance Learning

Distance learning uses video, the internet, CDs and other media to reach students who wouldn't otherwise be able to pursue the education they want. Students interact with and receive feedback from the instructor, even though they may not meet face-to-face. Distance learning lets students take courses from any school or university in the world that offers distance programs, no matter where they live.

Important Facts about Distance Learning Degree Programs

Common Courses Art appreciation, human cultural diversity, fundamentals of imaging technology, principles of persuasion, personal finance
Degree Level Certificates, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral
Online Availability Continually growing number of choices
Concentrations English, biology, music, health and nutrition, history, sociology, management, philosophy, finance, information technology

Distance Learning vs. Online Learning

While distance learning can often be completed online, it's different that online learning. Distance learning typically includes a number of forms of media, as well as interaction with professors and other classmates. Some distance learning degree programs have students visit the campus in order to fully benefit from different laboratory experiences and speakers. Degree programs are available at the undergraduate or graduate level. According to Purdue University, distance learning has several defining characteristics:

  • Uses video interaction between campuses
  • Lets you take courses when you have time
  • Is mostly web-based
  • Lets students review information as necessary
  • Allows students to learn through a medium best for them
  • Includes tests, assignments, exams and reports similar to on-campus programs

Advantages of Distance Learning

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are several advantages to distance learning. As technology increases, so will the advantages. In addition to letting people complete assignments around their busy schedules, it also accomplishes the following:

  • Creates more educational opportunities for adult learners
  • Provides digital technology to people who wouldn't normally have access to it
  • Motivates students to find, share and evaluate information

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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