Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

2017 Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Open Distance Learning

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-588-4_215



The term open distance learning, or open and distance learning (ODL), is contested and combines two different concepts which are often related both in theory and in practice. This entry will review the potential differences between “open” and “distance” learning and how the terms have been used. It will then examine the changing applications of ODL, the ways in which it is intended to increase inclusion and social justice, and the issues relating to its application. The advent of e-learning and its incorporation within the term “open, distance, and e-learning” (ODeL) in the twenty-first century leads to a brief review of ODL in relation to the most recent developments in open educational resources (OER) and massive open online courses (MOOCs).


Open distance learning (ODL) combines aspects of two separate concepts, “open learning” and “distance learning,” and these are also sometimes...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Edmund’s CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK