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Last updated: 07.08.12

Distance learning online 'widens provision of education'

Online learning courses provide an "accessible and exciting" pathway to education for people who want to improve their academic progress or acquire knowledge.

This is according to the Telegraph's education expert Jessica Moore, who wrote in the publication that open e-learning courses are an "innovative addition to the education landscape".

She pointed out that millions of people across the world could enter academia and receive quality instruction through distance learning online.

Some of the most prestigious universities in the world are beginning to experiment with virtual learning environments, such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

These academic centres are also using their e-learning platforms to research how people learn and how this can be progressed or transformed through technologies and communications.

People of all ages, budgets and nations can access these courses and take part in web-based interactive study.

A campus-based education in these universities could cost upwards of $60,000 (£38,400) every year, while the cost of attending a university in the UK has been capped at £9,000, Ms Moore noted.

Therefore, e-learning is also more affordable and accessible to students than using other sources of knowledge, enabling people from anywhere on earth to cut the cost of education, she continued.

Participants can study at their own paces and evaluate the work of other students, enabling anyone with access to the internet and the required educational materials to improve their education.

This could have a significant impact on on-campus learning, affecting people throughout the globe and widening participation in education, the specialist continued.

Ms Moore suggested that revenue streams could be set up for online learning course providers by the organisations giving employers details about their students, who can then hire the individual.

Furthermore, additional charges could be incurred through private tuition, while advertising could make an appearance on online learning courses, the expert added.

While this could all support the e-learning business model, she admitted this is "speculation".