Distance learning is method of studying in which lectures are broadcasted or lessons are conducted by correspondence without the students needing to attend universities offering them. Another definition is distance learning or education is a way of education in which students may not always physically present at traditional classroom. Distance learning also means, students are engaging with learning materials at home or work without regularly attend the classes in school or college. Number of other terms such as e-learning, online learning, and distributed learning use as synonymous with distance learning education.
The distance learning or virtual learning proved very effective and useful in education. The first learning program in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1840. He is pioneer of distance learning and called the father of distance learning.
Sir Isaac Pitman taught a particular system of shorthand (brief and short way of saying something). He mailed texts transcribed (consist of sings, objects or translate into other form of speech) into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return of correction. The first correspondent school in the United States was Society to Encourage Study at homes, established in 1873.
The scope and field of distance learning was revolutionized by the established of Open University in 1965. This first Open University is founded in United Kingdom. Open universities have proved effective alternative of traditional education that get in particular classrooms.
Modern technologies have been improved the quality of distance learning. In fact technologies revolt against the old and traditional methods and procedure of learning. All fields of life have been affected by technologies. Distance learning methods and procedures changed due to modern invention, which make distance education more easy and effective.
Distance learning technologies are divided into two modes of delivery;
- Synchronous Learning
- Asynchronous Learning
Synchronous Virtual Learning
Synchronous means at the same times at the same frequency. In Synchronous learning all students are presents at the same times, for listening the lectures, though they sit in different places of the country. In this respect synchronous learning is resembled with traditional classroom where time is matter a lot. Examples of synchronous modes of learning are videos conferencing, web conferencing, educational television, and instructional television as are direct- broadcast, satellite, internet, radio and live streaming.
Asynchronous Virtual Learning:
Asynchronous means something accruing at different times. In asynchronous learning, students access course materials at any times whenever they want. It means they can learn on their own schedules. Students are not required to be together at the same times. In this learning there is no need of specific time as in synchronous learning. It is more easy and useful for students as compare to synchronous learning. Examples of asynchronous mode of learning are emails, mails correspondents, audio recording, paint materials, voice mail.
Online lectures are another best example of asynchronous learning. Course materials are uploaded in specific university site. Students can assess these materials whenever they want. These lectures can save and repeat.
In briefly, it may b said that distance learning by offering universities has played a very effective role to educate vast number the peoples with minimum cost.