Distributed learning

This article is about the instructional model known as 'distributed learning'. For learning that is spaced only over time, see spacing effect.

Distributed learning is an instructional model that allows instructor, students, and content to be located in different, noncentralized locations so that instruction and learning can occur independent of time and place. The distributed learning model can be used in combination with traditional classroom-based courses and traditional distance education courses (in which it is also deferred to as blended learning, or it can be used to create entirely virtual classrooms.[1][2])

There is much confusion globally over distinctions between and definitions of distributed learning, distance education, open learning, e-learning, blended learning and other related terms. Many terms are used more commonly in particular geographies. Distinctions can arise when the chosen model focuses on either or both time and geographic distances. Distributed learning may be dependent on time if it includes synchronous sessions and further time dependent if the course is paced. The oldest and most commonly used of these terms, distance education, can be used to describe distributed learning as defined above. 'Distributed education' lacks a correspondence school tone and history and thus is perceived as making more use of communications and especially synchronous communications technologies. Further research using both terms 'distance' and 'distributed education' returns better results with consider overlap.

Distributed learning is viable option for many individuals of all ages who desire to get an education. It holds a number of advantages and a traditional learning environment.


  1. Opportunities to study
  2. Networking
  3. Pace
  4. Schedules
  5. Money
  6. Travelling
  7. Selection of Professors
  8. Numerous choices for schools
  9. No classroom setting
  10. Effective
  11. Learning while working
  12. Flexibility
  13. Cost effectiveness
  14. Advanced technology
  15. In-person connections
  16. International Networking


  1. Lack of social interaction
  2. Format is not ideal for all learners
  3. Some employers do not accept online degrees
  4. Requires adaptability to new technologies
  5. Not all courses required to complete the degree may be offered online
  6. Absence of a teacher or an instructor
  7. Lack of motivation
  8. Can not generate as an alternate learning method
  9. Distributed learning can not give you access to your instructor
  10. Distributed learning is isolated
  11. Distributed learning does not offer immediate feedback
  12. Distributed learning does not always offer all the necessary courses online
  13. Distributed learning may not be acknowledged by a aspecific employer
  14. Distributed learning does not give opportunity to work on oral communication skills
  15. No interaction with teachers and professors
  16. Lack of seriousness, competition and learning environment
  17. Job markets do not accept online degrees
  18. Format of courses not suitable for everyone
  19. Internet availability and affordability.


Distributed learning relies on collaboration to share knowledge.


Distributed learning relies on technology to share, store, retrieve, and extend knowledge.

Distributed cognition

Distributed cognition is an outcome of distributed learning (Mindmaps, 2015).[3]


  1. "Distributed Learning". Distributed Learning. Government of Alberta. February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  2. "Distributed Learning". Distributed Learning. Province of British Columbia. February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  3. MindMaps (2015). Distributed Cognition and Learning. From https://mindmaps.wikispaces.com/Distributed+Cognition+and+Learning#distlvc. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
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