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Distance Education


Distance education; Open learning


With the emergence of the Internet, we have witnessed a massive growth in (online) distance education since the 1990s. Distance education – often perceived as an isolated form of individual learning – has now clearly moved into the mainstream. Today, almost all educational institutions offer programs that integrate digital media in an online environment to provide flexible learning opportunities, independent of time and place. However, distance education is not a new phenomenon. Educational technologies have been used to bridge the distance between learners and teachers or teaching institutions for over 150 years. Hence, it is important to build upon theories, practice, and empirical research into distance education when new forms and modes of delivery are developed with new and emerging media.

Therefore, after a definition of distance education and related terms, this chapter sets out to provide an overview of the historical...


  • Educational Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Distance Education
  • Mobile Learning
  • Open Educational Resource

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Correspondence to Olaf Zawacki-Richter .

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© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore

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Zawacki-Richter, O. (2015). Distance Education. In: Peters, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer, Singapore.

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