Explanation of Various Terms.


“Distance learning is one of two components needed to transform how we educate, measure and continuously stimulate students about learning"




Introduction and Concepts in Distance learning

What is distance learning

Explanation of Various Terms.

Glossary of Web Based learning


Practical self experience with Distance Learning?

Difference between Distance Education and Correspondence Courses

 Can skill oriented courses be covered by DE?

Technologies used in distant education

Instructional Qualities for Web Based Learning

Challenges of Web-based Learning

DE in providing medical education to non traditional students

Teacher and student qualities for distance education

Assignment - Preparation of Distance Learning Module

Evaluation of Distance Learning

Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning

Famous quotes

Discussion end- Compliments from Sir & Friends

Summary - Distance Learning


Explanation of  Various Terms

  Dr.Tejinder Singh
You have introduced a number of terms, which we should clarify so that there is no confusion regarding what we mean in our discussions. These include-

Correspondence education
Open learning
Distance learning
Flexible learning
web based learning

A two line definition of each may in order to clarify the meaning.
  Sajjad Sheikh 
Here I enclose explanations to your queries sir.
OPEN LEARNING: An approach to learning which provides the students a choice of what, where, when and how do they want to learn.
DISTANCE LEARNING: A learning situation where the learner and the instructor are in physically separate locations.
FLEXIBLE LEARNING: Providing a range of learning methods to the students and allowing to chose the most suitable one.
WEB-BASED LEARNING: Anywhere, anytime learning by use of internet or intranet.


  Ciraj a.m
Let me try defining/explaining the following terms.

First generation in the evolution of distance education; with the advent of postal delivery in the mid 1880s, interaction between learners and teachers at a distance was possible for the first time. In the United States, correspondence became known later as “independent study” and “home study” before becoming recognized as part of the expanding field of “distance education.” Course materials, which may include textbooks, study guides, assignments, and tests, are sent to the learner. Instructors communicate with students through mail, email, telephone, and FAX, which is a course in which you study at home, receiving your work by post and sending it back by post. Interaction by surface mail is still widely used, especially in less developed countries.

A term used to emphasize systems of education which allow entry into the system without consideration of prior educational experiences. Also, describes a model of distance education developed by Kember which considers the influences of social and academic factors on learning outcomes. Open education offers relative freedom of access and choice of routes to course completion, education that is not place-bound; occurring in student’s environment.

Distance Learning as is defined as “The acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance”. It is the learning that takes place away from a physical school campus. Students are permitted to study wherever they want and do not attend traditional classes. Distance learning includes online classes and correspondence classes (classes taken by mail). Term is often used as synonymous with distance education, not strictly correct since distance education includes teaching as well as learning. Distance education is the formal process of distance learning. 
FLEXIBLE LEARNING include a set of educational philosophies that provides learners with choices about where, when, and how learning occurs. It is about the learner deciding what, where, when and how they learn. The best example would be e-learning.
Web based learning is often called online learning or e-learning because it includes online course content. It is delivered over a network (LAN, WAN or Internet). It can be either Instructor-led or Computer Based. Discussion forums via email, videoconferencing, and live lectures (videostreaming) are all possible through the web.


It is a field of education that focuses on the pedagogy and andragogy, technology, and instructional systems design that aim to deliver education to students who are not physically “on site”.
Rather than attending courses in person, teachers and students may communicate at times of their own choosing by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time and through other chatting ways.

It  is a set of educational philosophies and systems, concerned with providing learners with increased choice, convenience, and personalization to suit the learner.
In particular, flexible learning provides learners with choices about where, when, and how learning occurs.
Flexible learning approaches are often designed using a full range of teaching and learning theories, philosophies and methods to provide students with opportunities to access information and expertise, contribute ideas and opinions, and correspond with other learners and mentors.
Flexible learning is a term often used in New Zealand and Australia.
It  is a teaching method that is, supposed to allow pupils self-determined, independent and interest-guided learning.
Web based learning/Electronic learning (or e-Learning or eLearning):
It  is a term where the student and the teacher use online technology to interact and participate.
No in-person interaction takes place. E-learning is used interchangeably in a wide variety of contexts.
It is a planned teaching/learning experience that uses a wide spectrum of technologies mainly Internet to reach learners at a distance. It  is used to define a specific mode to attend a course or programmes of study where the students rarely, if ever, attend face-to-face or for on-campus access to educational facilities, because they study on-line.
It is learning by means of communication by letters, printed matters or packages. It is one of the oldest methods of distance education. It is a course of study in which non-resident student and teachers communicate by mail.

As regards the definition of different terms put forward by praveen, barathi, ciraj and others, many terms seem to convey the same message. For instance I can not appreciate much difference between flexible learning and open learning.
To me it appears that terms 'open learning' and 'flexible learning' convey the essence of distance learning whereas terms 'correspondence' and 'web based / e-learning'  define the two distinct technologies of distance education.
Or is it that terms 'open learning' and 'flexible learning' are more appropriate for certain types of courses

 Dr.Tejinder Singh 

Navneet, Very rightly said. Any system of education can be open-  being away from traditional classroom settings, DE are open and since they are open, they are amenable to be imparted through distance. Correspondence conveys the mode of transmission i.e. by post. Correspondence education, however uses the conventional courses and conventional material within a rigid system. DE uses correspondence as ONE of the means but supplements instruction by a multimedia approach. In addition, DE also uses face to face component as and when required.



I am still confused about the term open system. it is also used for universities .It will nice if you could elaborate on the term. It actually sounds very interesting

Dr.Tejinder Singh

Open in this context means free from the traditional constraints of entry requirements, course combination, time required to take the course, time to complete the course, methodology to study, time of examinations and context free evaluation. So in an open system, you can select a combination of anatomy, physical education and psychology for example. Of course, the degree of openness varies and not all Universities may be equally open.


I agree with your views of the interpretation of the terms used in
defining distance education.
 TS sir, your explanation on open system clarifies every aspect except the first component “entry requirements “since I find every course has some eligibility criteria. May be some arts course have only minimum age limit as criteria and no educational prerequisite. Could you please throw some light on this?