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Summer 2001 Vol. 45, Number 2

Distance learning in postsecondary education: Learning whenever, wherever

This popular mode of education frees learning from the constraints of time and space. Welcome to Earth University.


There’s a time and a place for everything. And so it was with postsecondary education. But things change. The information age has sparked a new trend in education: learning anytime, anyplace.

Students traditionally have gone to a specific classroom, on a specific campus, at specific times in order to take academic courses. Most still do so, but a growing number of students—many of them adult learners—choose distance learning. In this mode of education, the students and the instructor are separated by space or by both space and time.

This article explores the what, why, and how of distance learning: 

  • What it is 

  •  Why someone might choose it

  • How students evaluate course providers. 

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 19, 2001