Distance Education – the Competition of Traditional Schools

It is barely 8am and your mobile phone is buzzing feverishly with an email from your lecturer staring back at you reading, “Dear students, I will be available today between 10am to 11am on this link … discussing the previous weeks slides”. I am starting to wonder whether it has always been this easy to reach aspiring graduates. Who wanted to change the way educational material is conveyed? Where did it all begin?


Distance education comes in different variants, these being; e-learning, virtual learning, correspondence education (email as a medium of individual instruction) and finally, open learning (which admits any adult).

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Image from insidehighered.com               

According to Simonson and Berg (2016), distance education holds the following characteristics;


Institutional delivery. It gets accreditation in a similar way to traditional methods and isn’t an isolated form of study.


Geographic separation. Students from different backgrounds and time zones are able to communicate without having to travel out of their homes, thereby reducing the social, intellectual and cultural gaps that may exist between them.


Interactive telecommunications. Postal systems reduced the need for physical interaction. Thereafter, the internet, mobile phones and email sparked rapid growth in distant learning.


Learning communities – which consist of students, a teacher, and instructional resources. Various individuals also network with each other, according to their relatable similarities.


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NASSEH, B. (1997). A brief history of Distance Education. Retrieved from <https://www.seniornet.org/edu/art/history.html>. Accessed: 03 April 2020

SIMONSON, M., & BERG, G. A. (2016). Distance learning | education. Retrieved from <https://www.britannica.com/topic/distance-learning>. Accessed: 27 March 2020


Mokgaetji Margueritte

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Meet the team: A picture of Margueritte M Pitjeng.

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