This report aims to show if Distance electronic learning (e-learning) is a reliable educational method. Distance learning is not a new idea, educational institutions have been offering correspondence degrees for decades (Turban et al, 2002). In 1970, the birth of the British Open University was to be a catalyst in the new information society in education (Jarvis et al, 2001). Distance learning used to involve educational materials sent to the students in the post and require students on some courses to watch educational TV programmes in the early hours of the morning. .
In the past, education has predominantly been conducted face-to-face, but over the past decade, there has been an increase in courses taught at a "distance". The World Wide Web (WWW) has revolutionised the way distance learning can be conducted. Shotsberger (2000) reported that though it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users and TV took 30 years, the World Wide Web hit that usage mark in a mere 4 years. .
Distance learning is now often electronic with educational material accessed on the web, e-mail and other multimedia technology e.g. video conferencing.
Distance learning may be part of the student's course e.g. University course with electronic resources available from lecturers. In some countries like the Australian Outback, Russia etc, some students are dependant on distance learning. Distance learning has its advantages such as the courses can be undertaken from practically anywhere in the world, but also has its disadvantages such as high drop out rates due to student's feelings of isolation (King, 2002).
Mangan (2002) states "the hottest topic in the field of education today is distance learning". Distance learning is not a new idea, educational institutions have been offering correspondence degrees for decades (Turban et al, 2002). For years, distance education has been delivered via the mail, radio, television, video, and recently multimedia CD-ROM.