Distance learning is a field of education that focuses on teaching methods and technology with the aim of delivering teaching, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom.

It has been described as "a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both”. Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason (including taking examinations) have been referred to as hybrid or blended courses of study.
The University of London claims to be the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858. In the United States the University of Chicago developed the concept of extended education, whereby the research university had satellite colleges of education in the wider community. In Australia, the University of Queensland established its Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911.


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