Educators like to discuss subtle differences: "Distributed Learning is an instructional model that allows instructor, students, and content to be located in different, non-centralized locations so that instruction and learning occur independent of time and place. The Distributed Learning Model can be used in combination with traditional classroom-based courses, with traditional distance learning courses, or can be used to create wholly virtual classrooms." From "Distributed Learning via the WWW" by Steven Saltzberg and Susan Polyson (1995) (no longer available online)
The delivery of standardized training, education or professional development using multiple media and technologies when and where it is needed. It may involve learner-instructor interaction in both real time (synchronous) and non-real time (asynchronous). It may involve self-paced asynchronous learner instruction without benefit of access to an instructor. It does not necessarily involve a physical distance between the learner and instructor or need occur outside the confines of the resident training establishment or campus. The dispatch of instructors from a training establishment to a unit or another location to conduct training, or the hiring of qualified instructors in other locations to conduct the training on behalf of a training establishment fall within the realm of Distributed Learning.
(n.) A student-centered approach to learning that incorporates the use of technology in the learning process and, according to Chris Dede, emphasizes four educational characteristics: 1. supports different learning styles by using mixed media; 2. builds on the learner's perspective through interactive educational experiences; 3. builds learning skills and social skills through collaboration among learners and with the community; 4. integrates the learning into daily life by doing authentic tasks.