The Differences Between eLearning Αnd Distance Learning

The Differences Between eLearning Αnd Distance Learning
Summary: There's a difference between eLearning and distance learning. eLearning is a style of learning, while distance learning is a method of attending class even if you can't be there physically.

What Are The Differences Between eLearning Αnd Distance Learning?

The phrases 'eLearning' and 'Distance Learning' are often used interchangeably, but they're actually two separate entities. We've teamed up with experts, to help you see the differences between the two, and how they affect you as a learner. Here's everything you need to know.

What Αre eLearning And Distance Learning?

Before we look at the differences between the two, we need to understand what these two concepts actually are.


This form of learning is designed to create an online communication between the teacher and the student. Many schools are now using eLearning in order to complement the learning that's done in the classroom. For example, homework may be set online, or quizzes can be taken with the rest of the class. It's a new way of learning that suits a lot of learners, both school-aged and adult. Tutor James Anderson at State of Writing says, "We use eLearning in order to connect with our students. They can connect with us online, and we can work with them to improve their writing skills".

Distance Learning

This concept is more about the distance between the student and the teacher, and how technology bridges that gap. Many universities are now offering distance learning degrees, where the student attends school through their internet. That means a student in Europe could attend an American university, without ever having to move. It also makes attending higher education much easier if you live in rural or remote areas.

How Learning Works Online

Both methods of learning are able to help learners get more out of learning, wherever they are. The methods are slightly different, but they can overlap.

eLearning is used in local settings, so distance isn't as much of a factor. For example, a teacher may use a quiz app to test children in their classroom. They can all get involved, and it makes learning fun for them. As well as this, it gives teachers more options in how to create engaging lesson plans.

It's helpful for adult learners too. eLearning can be accessed anytime and anywhere, so it fits into most people's busy schedules. The ease of access means more adults are taking online courses and classes, to learn skills to get ahead.

Distance learning, on the other hand, is designed in order to be accessible no matter where you are in the world. It covers issues such as accessibility problems, so students can attend basic classes. This can be through webcams or chat programs.

The Benefits Οf Both Systems

There are benefits to both eLearning and distance learning. If you've never considered either of them before, then here's why you may want to look into it further:


  • Makes learning more interactive.
    Many learners are turned off learning as they feel they're just being talked at in the classroom. eLearning makes the process much more interesting and interactive. Their input is needed, and it helps them retain information better.
  • Is convenient for adult learners.
    As mentioned earlier, adults find learning much easier when they're doing so through eLearning systems. For example, Via Writing has found adults coming to them to improve their grammar skills, during their free time.
  • Is at the learner's pace.
    The learner can take part in learning at their own pace. There are eLearning materials that can be accessed whenever they need to be, meaning that the learner doesn't have to worry about falling behind, or being ahead of the rest of the class, as there's no class to hold them back.

Distance Learning

  • Offers cheaper education.
    Distance learning can be a great option if you're looking to save money on your education. As you don't have to move away to a different city or country, you're saving a lot of cash. As well as this, you're also saving money on the courses themselves, as they're often cheaper.
  • Offers you the chance to take classes wherever you are.
    No matter where you are, you can take classes. This option is popular with people who need to stay put at home, such as parents or people caring for family members. It takes the pressure off you to get to a place of learning, so you can concentrate on what you're learning instead.
  • Gives you the opportunity not to take part in the classroom setting.
    Some people find that the classroom setting isn't for them. This could be due to a disability, or simply because they've never enjoyed conventional learning. Websites like Grammarix have seen an upswing of visitors who are looking to learn at their own pace.

As you can see, there's actually a real difference between eLearning and distance learning. eLearning is a style of learning, while distance learning is a method of attending class even if you can't be there physically. Perhaps one of these methods could make education easier for you?