19 Facts about Distance Education that will Knock Your Socks Off



12 November, 2022

19 Facts about Distance Education that will Knock Your Socks Off

Distance learning is a form of learning in which students and teachers are not present in the same place or time but use different means of communication to facilitate the teaching-learning process. Distance education began through the use of postcards by Isaac Pitman in 1840. However, today the sector has evolved a lot and employs a variety of media such as video chat, computer internet, print, film, television, and other modes of communication. By now, it must be clear that distance education is designed to focus on pedagogy and andragogy in education to students without any physical presence. Let us explore more about it. Here are some amazing distance learning facts that most people don’t know about.

1. The University of London was the first to launch a distance learning course in the year 1858. This is said to be the formal initiation of distance learning.

2. Distance learning in the true sense was first started by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s wherein he used to send postcards to students. He taught a system of stenography by mailing stenographically transcribed texts on postcards and receiving transcripts from students in exchange for proofreading.

3. The first correspondence school in the United States was founded in 1873. It was named the “Society to Encourage Studies at Home.” The institute was directed towards promoting education among women. It encouraged women to devote some part of every day to study.

4. Studies at home was founded and encouraged by Anna Eliot Ticknor with the aim to empower women of America who are already busy with their household chores and cannot devote their time and are not able to attend classes in regular mode. 

5. Wolsey Hall, Oxford is the first distance learning college in the UK which was founded in  1894. 

6. Wolsey Hall, Oxford is the largest homeschooling college in the world which offers various courses in Primary, Secondary, IGCSE, and many other A-level subjects. It offers distance education to more than 120 different countries.

7. Distance learning is a relatively new concept in India. It has been around in the UK since 1858. However, in India, it only dates back to the early 1960s.

8. In the year 1961, in India, the Central Advisory Board for Education established a committee chaired by Dr. D. S. Kothari to make important suggestions regarding the nature, scope, and structure of distance learning courses.

9. In India, the first Distance Education Center was established in 1962 by the University of Delhi. It was later renamed as the School of Correspondence Course and Continuing Education. 

10. The University Grants Commission took over the Distance Education Council in 2013 and established the Distance Education Authority to oversee future distance education in India. 

11. According to AISHE reports (2017-18), distance enrollment accounts for 11% of total higher education enrollment. Most students and working professionals opt for distance education.  

12. By 2027, e-learning is expected to reach well over $1 trillion. It is a 21% increase from the $250 billion surpassed in 2020. 

13. E-learning is more engaging than traditional instructor-led training sessions and can improve knowledge retention by up to 60%. With the comfort of home, students can stay focused without getting distracted. 

14. If we look at employee skill development programmes, it has been found that e-learning takes 40-60% less time per employee as compared to traditional instructor-led training. 

15. 40% of companies say that e-learning has helped them attain a higher revenue, and companies that offer e-learning have seen a 25% or more increase in revenue per employee. This is because e-learning is more affordable than other means of learning and there is no need to set up heavy infrastructural facilities which helps companies to cut extra expenses. 

16. The enterprise e-learning market is expected to grow to USD 38.09 billion between 2020 and 2024.

17. 25% of Indian students are enrolled in at least one distance learning course.

18. In the year 2020, the mobile e-learning industry grew by $38 billion. This upward trend is expected to continue and reach to $6 billion by 2022. To streamline the process of distance learning, more and more universities and institutes are moving toward mobile apps so as to offer students more accessibility. 

19. Developed by MIT and Harvard, EdX is an example of a massive open-source online course. The platform has over 20 million users and over 70 million signups.

Bonus Point: 


The sector of open and distance learning is booming. Especially after the covid-19 pandemic, the sector has seen tremendous growth. Today, it is seen as an affordable option for working professionals and students who can not attend classes physically. The ODL mode comes with the flexibility wherein the students become more skillful with the help of online learning methods without having to leave their homes. Many companies now opt for e-learning to upskill their employees. Here, we have discussed facts about students, distance learning facts, online learning platforms and much more to evaluate the growth of the industry. It will be interesting to see what new transformations are awaiting the ODL industry as technology continues to advance.

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