Distance Learning History & Synonyms
Tech Tools Used in Online Learning
Online Education – A Recent Form of United States Distance Learning
In 1840, the first formal distance course was offered by Sir Isaac Pitman in England. He used the Bible to teach shorthand. By 1850, the first distance degree was awarded by the University of London.
For most of the 1900s, distance learning was synonymous with the term “correspondence learning,” because learning used to be delivered primarily via mailed correspondence lessons. Students would receive their books and assignments in the mail, then mail completed assignments back to instructors to be graded.
Today, the Internet has become the primary source for delivery of college-level distance learning. The term “correspondence education” is rarely used; “online education” is the more popular and accurate way to describe much of today’s distance education.
By 2020, perhaps some new technology will prove more reliable and popular than the web; if so, that new technology will undoubtedly be harnessed by colleges to transmit knowledge.