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Distance Learning can be defined as a system and a process that connects learners with distributed learning resources.Its characteristics include Geographical and temporal separation of the instructor from the student and of students among themselves. A quickened rate of knowledge transfer between expert instructors and their students Interaction between the student and the instructor is conducted through one or more of the electronic media such as video networking.

The benefits of distance learning include on-demand learning that is independent of rigid schedules. Increased motivation from the use of new technologies. Easier access to feedback mechanisms that allow for corrective feedback. Greater flexibility in that fluctuations arising from class numbers or even socioeconomic background are eliminated.

Improved accountability is achieved because the automatic collection of data on learner performance can easily be operationalised. Reduced costs for delivery due to the elimination of plant and labour intensive classroom instruction. Learner controlled because each learner is able to review topics or to skip the material they already know. The traditional commitment to small tutorial classes has given way to a dynamic and student - propelled distance learning programme.

In summary, distance learning is characterised by a more flexible approach to curriculum - the very hallmark of the Dorchester tradition for close to a century.
What previously could only be achieved through small classes now finds it`s expression in programmes that place an analogous emphasis on personal learning and individualised feedback mechanisms.

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