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‘Distance education’ and ‘e-learning’: Not the same thing

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Abstract

This article examines the distinct differences between ‘distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ in higher education settings. Since the emergence of the new information and communication technologies (ICT), many have related to them as the new generation of distance education, and some have referred to their implementation in academia as challenging the very existence of campus-based universities. Many policy makers, scholars and practitioners in higher education use these two terms interchangeably as synonyms. But the fact is that distance education in most higher education systems is not delivered through the new electronic media, and vice versa – e-learning in most universities and colleges all over the world is not used for distance education purposes. ‘Distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ do overlap in some cases, but are by no means identical. The lack of distinction between ‘e-learning’ and ‘distance education’ accounts for much of the misunderstanding of the ICT roles in higher education, and for the wide gap between the rhetoric in the literature describing the future sweeping effects of the ICT on educational environments and their actual implementation. The article examines the erroneous assumptions on which many exaggerated predictions as to the future impact of the ICT were based upon, and it concludes with highlighting the future trends of ‘distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ in academia.
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... In our research we include research findings from both distance education and elearning even though distance education and e-learning constitute two distinct phenomena (Guri-Rosenblit, 2005). In fact, "distance learning can exist without online learning, and online learning is not necessarily distance learning" (Bates, 2005: 14-15). ...
... Distance education refers to online education that takes place only on distance while e-learning, on the other hand, relates to the use of electronic media for a variety of learning purposes that range from add-on functions in conventional classrooms to full substitution for face-to-face meetings by online encounters. E-learning is used by all types of students on all educational levels, from kindergarten to doctoral studies, while 'Distance education' is aimed at students who are located in dispersed places and are physically distant from their teachers and the teaching institution, whereas 'elearning' can be easily utilized by both distant and on-campus students, and even more effectively by the latter (Guri-Rosenblit, 2005). ...
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... E-öğrenme öğrencilere elektronik ortamda farklı öğrenme deneyimleri sunmaktadır (Yılmaz, Sezer ve Yurdugül, 2019). Bir diğer tanımda e-öğrenme, geleneksel sınıflardaki ek işlevlerden yüz yüze toplantıların yerini almaya kadar çeşitli öğrenme amaçları için elektronik medyanın kullanılmasıdır (Guri-Rosenblit, 2005). Koohang ve Harman (2005) ve Li, Lau ve Dharmendran (2009) ise e-öğrenme kavramını farklı elektronik ortamlar aracılığıyla eğitim hizmetlerinin sunulması olarak nitelendirmektedirler. ...
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