Modern Technology and Terminology
At some point during the last 10 to 15 years, most of us have heard phrases like "distance education" and "online learning." Are they the same as web-based learning? Well --- yes and no. The three terms have subtle but important differences.
Distance education is any form of education that can be achieved from a distance. It takes place without brick-and-mortar campus attendance --- but it does not necessarily refer to online education or web-based learning. Whenever students engage in any educational program without physically attending a college, it is a form of distance education.
For instance, in the years before the Internet, students had the option to study at their own pace via mail. Correspondence courses allowed students to study from their homes using college materials that had been mailed to them. Subsequently, they would mail in their exams and await feedback and/or more materials. While the term "distance learning" or "distance education" covers this kind of education, it is a broad term that can also refer to online learning and web-based learning.
Web-based learning, also known as online learning, is any form of learning that takes place online. This could be anything from interactive teaching programs to PowerPoint tutorials, online lectures, or following an online syllabus outlining required reading, written assignments and online exams. Web-based learning falls under the umbrella of distance learning, and is conducted specifically online.