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Distance education (DE), also known as distance learning, has gone through a multitude of [Page 338]iterations, and theorists disagree on its defining features. The most cited and generally most agreed-on definition of the term distance education comes from Desmond Keegan, and it is not reliant on mode of delivery. It contains six defining elements: (1) separation of the teacher and learner, (2) organization and support services from an educational institution, (3) the use of technical media to provide educational content, (4) the provision of two-way communication so students can benefit from and optimally initiate dialogue, (5) the potential for student-to-student interaction, and (6) the “industrialization” of education, which provides economies of scale. Elements 5 and 6 are concerned with interactivity.
Some early DE theorists defined DE ...