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How Do Elearning and Remote Learning Differ?

girl doing elearning

How Do Elearning and Remote Learning Differ?

April 24, 2020 • ByBrittany Terrell, MSW

As schools have officially announced no classes for the remainder of the school year, parents are frantically trying to figure out the new normal for their child and distance learning within their home environments. 

Two of the most common buzzwords surrounding these conversations are elearning (online learning) and distance learning (remote learning). These two terms are often used interchangeably but mean different things. It’s important for families to understand the true meaning so that they can provide the best support for their child. 

While both of these strategies involve students working on computers or devices, there are some differences between them

Overall, there are two major differences: 

  • A. Location: With elearning, students can be together in the classroom with an instructor while working on digital assignments and tests.
  • B. Interaction: With distance learning, there is no interaction between teachers and students. Forms of communication include messaging apps, discussion boards, and assignments given to students with deadlines for submission. 
Teen Doing Homework

How do I know which system my child’s school is practicing?

The best way to learn is to browse the school district’s website to get an understanding of which system all schools in your area practice. If you have concerns on whether your child’s school is following the recommendation of the district, please contact your child’s homeroom teacher to discuss further.

Can schools have elearning and distance learning happening at the same time?

Yes! Schools can utilize both systems to optimize the learning experience for students. This is considered blended learning and is defined as a combination of these two systems to make learning even more accessible and convenient. It broadens the learner’s experience by supporting anytime, anywhere learning and reshapes the role of the instructor. 

Blended learning usually involves:

  • – A portion of the learning occurs online (i.e. teachers requiring students signing in for Google classroom meets and discussions and the teacher is actively giving instruction to the audience)
  • – Another portion is student-led and the teacher gives the students assignments or packets that are due by a particular date and the student is responsible for submitting in a timely manner. 
girl doing elearning

Overall, it is best to know that elearning and distance (remote) learning are not competing with each other. Both can be featured in a blended learning program where distance learning would supplement elearning courses.  Being familiar with these concepts is key to ensure the best educational experience for your child and advocate for allowances and preferences based on your child’s learning style. 

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