Distance learning is a form of instruction whereby a student or group of students is taught by an instructor using various means of remote communication. All other process-related specifics are determined by the given instructional sub-format (e.g. one-time lecture, three-day seminar, regular lessons, or one-on-one lessons), which is in turn shaped by the medium of communication, be it the telephone, the Internet, or even written letters. Neither student enrollment, payment, nor learning take place in-person.
There are several common variations on this form of instruction. The first is instruction via e-mail. The instructor e-mails methods to employ in-sequence and tasks to accomplish. The student performs them on his own and then writes back with an account of his attempts. The instructor then responds with an analysis of the student’s mistakes and provides the next tasks to accomplish and methods to learn. Another, easier way is for the instructor to send pre-prepared general methods and tasks to a group of several students at once, regardless of their current level of progress.
The second variation on distance learning is one-time, three-day, or regular webinars. Here, the instructor conducts training sessions online using a webcam. Although the instructor cannot see his students (and he might have a thousand of them at once), they can ask him questions by instant-message chat or e-mail.
Third, distance learning can take place via regular telephone or videoconference using free online tools like Skype, which allow for computer-to-computer video calls. Internet-enabled mobile phones running Skype can be used to make free phone-to-phone video calls. In this case, one would be having a one-on-one lesson with all that it entails.