ICT in Distance Education


Applications of ICT in Distance Education (Advantages & Disadvantages)

  • Tele-education that uses ICT is oriented towards the development of alternative methodologies for the learning of students from distant populations or that are limited by geographical location, the quality of teaching or the time available, while providing knowledge, training and education to the educational system, the business community and society as a whole.
  • Despite the fact that for many years tele-education or distance education was dictated exclusively by correspondence through traditional mail, the advancement of ICTs together with the popularization of the Internet has revolutionized the world of information in recent years, and the field education has not remained on the sidelines of the explosion of the “information society”.

ICT in Distance Education

  • The impact of the Internet in today’s society is changing all areas of our life, affecting the way we work, have fun, interact, learn, and much more. For this reason, teaching also moves towards a model that moves away from the “master class” as the basis of teaching, in which the figure of the teacher was the center of the system, and is directed towards a model that encourages student participation as a fundamental means of learning, in which the teacher acts as a knowledge guide.

ICT in Distance Education

  • Tele-education is an excellent formula to put this training model into practice in the not too distant future, since the education of the 21st century may have nothing to do with that of the 20th century, at least in terms of the way it is taught using the new technologies.
  • Tele-education applicationsTele-education can be applied through the use of various technological tools that ICTs provide, which allow the development of virtual campuses, virtual classrooms, self-learning, electronic libraries or video-conference with the teacher. One of the key aspects of tele-education is the choice of tools used, both for access to information and for the design and development of courses.
  • The enormous proliferation of instruments, due to the possibilities offered by new technologies, makes this problem even more difficult. In general, the applications used in tele-education can be defined based on:
  • The Internet has experienced exponential growth in these years, becoming a great store of information. There are thousands of databases available, newspapers, tutorials, technical and business information, catalogs, and so on. All this information available in most cases free of charge turns the Internet into a gigantic library in continuous growth.
  • All of the above makes it necessary to have navigation and ordering mechanism that allows avoiding, as far as possible, the disorientation of the user, who is usually saturated with information. The web or www (World Wide Web) is the most used navigation system.
  • The html language (Hyper-Text Markup Language) is used to create web pages. Its greatest quality is its ability to define links to other documents, facilitating the navigation task. The ease of creating web pages, the proliferation of development tools and the popularization of browsers make the web the fundamental tool for transmitting knowledge in tele-education courses.
  • In the field of tele-education, the website is used both to publish the course material in electronic format, as well as to carry out online self-assessment exercises, publication of information related to the course, etc.
  1. Email: Email has become a tremendously useful tool when communicating with other users. In the field of tele-education, email is used basically as a means of communication between students and between student-teacher. The possibility of attaching files gives e-mail a very useful document transfer capacity.
  2. Mailing lists: Mailing lists are one of the possibilities offered by email, so they could be included in the previous section. The distribution lists favor the resolution of doubts of the students, since the questions posed in particular by some of them can be known by all, as well as the solution given by the teacher, so they are very useful in the field of tele-education.
  3. The chat 🙁 chat) allows the communication of text in real time between several users. In the field of tele-education, chat is used primarily for conducting online tutorials in real time, conducting debates and group exercises, and so on.
  4. Discussion forums: On the Internet, a forum is a set of messages related to a certain topic. Users can view messages and send their own, which in turn are visible to other forum users.
  5. It is an asynchronous tool because users do not have to coincide in time to send and read messages; the forum software saves messages so that they can be read at any time by users. Like mailing lists, they can be used in tele-education as a means of resolving doubts.
  6. In addition, topics of interest introduced by the teaching staff or suggested by the students can be dealt with and discussed.
  • There are many other applications and tools used by tele-education students, some of which are specific to the subject of the course. One of the most used tools is videoconferencing, a tool that can be very useful in certain circumstances as it allows interaction and exchange through video cameras and encourages discussion between the parties.
  • Starting from the fact that “everyone has the right to education” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 26, 1948), the use of ICT in education and, even more, in the educational system, is fundamental to make this purpose a reality and promote distance education and make the educational system more efficient, allowing the incorporation of ICT in schools within the process of training students, so necessary in today’s society.
  • Distance education supported by information technologies can have important advantages for students, mainly as a complement to traditional education systems. In addition, for teachers it facilitates access to educational materials and the exchange of knowledge with other teachers.
  • In particular, it makes it possible to bring education closer to excluded groups, since both in more developed and developing societies there are some groups that, due to economic or other limitations, cannot access the services that society offers to the rest.
  • Under these conditions, an adequate use of ICT in the field of education would improve education in rural areas and would bring knowledge to thousands of people in a more efficient, fast and effective way, since access to training and education can help them. To their development and is a determining factor for them to come out of their marginality.
  • In the Private Sector: In the private sectorCompanies are beginning to incorporate distance education or electronic learning (e-learning) into their employee training resources. This allows that with any of the tools provided by technology, training sessions for human resources of the business sector can be held on topics and competencies that are fundamental to their operations, doing it on a massive scale, in record time and with the possibility of having of information in digital format on a computer, which can be sent to other employees, thus promoting the flow of knowledge.
  • Tele-education is a business tool that allows the development of training programs adapted to business needs and developed according to the characteristics of the organization.


  • It is important to highlight the advantages of tele-education over other options; for example, compared to face-to-face teaching and “classic” distance learning, since in addition to those derived from being a system that can be carried out at a distance (advantages of traditional distance learning), the main advantages of tele-education have their roots in the power, facilities and pedagogical possibilities that new technologies put at our disposal:
  • A smarter and more efficient way to access information, A personalization of learning, attending to the different capacities, knowledge and interests of each student for Access to information for geographically isolated people or people with physical difficulties, taking advantage of the Internet and computer networks.
  • This provides the creation of a global market in which traditional institutions will compete with new public and private initiatives. The use of new technologies not only allows teaching not to be anchored in a specific geographical location, but also offers the possibility of ending the temporary location.
  • Tele-education courses can be carried out in any period of time. Web technology allows access to information scattered on the network. Hypertext mechanisms facilitate different forms of navigation and the development of new languages ​​(XML, SMIL, MATHML) will extend the possibilities of web applications (such as tutorial support, digital libraries, discussion forums, navigation mechanisms, etc.).
  • The content and teaching materials can be constantly updated, taking into account the changes in the subject taught, the needs of the students, and so on. Multimedia technology offers different ways of presenting knowledge: text, images, voice, video, simulations, and so on. Virtual reality allows the creation of attractive interfaces for the student and the possibility of simulating experiences that would otherwise be expensive, dangerous or not very accessible for the student.


  • Tele-education also has certain drawbacks, some of them derived from the few years of existence of this technological option and from the incorrect conception of tele-education. That is why there are some drawbacks or elements that must be taken into account when implementing a tele-education system, for its success and effectiveness:
  • The use of the Internet as a fundamental means of transmitting information has the technical problems that the network currently presents: lack of bandwidth, high connection costs, and so on. Tele-education presents the apparent lack of human contact between the different actors in the system (students and teachers). However, contact, using new technologies, can be more productive and humane than face-to-face. Neither a distance course leaves all the responsibility in the hands of the student, nor is a face-to-face course based solely on the teacher-student encounter.
  • Tele-education currently has the problem that there is a certain lack of confidence on the part of the group of teachers in using new technologies to teach their classes. There is an incorrect tendency to think that tele-education is limited to imitating face-to-face classes using the available means. The different actors involved (students and teachers) must face tele-education not as a way to imitate traditional teaching, but as a new way of learning, taking advantage of the new capacities offered by information networks and changing the current way of teaching, with the student taking a more active part in their training process, not only acting as a mere receiver of information, but also as a researcher. In other words, tele-education requires a new methodology in the teaching process that takes time to develop.
  • Undoubtedly, tele-education will be the new way in which the teaching-learning process will develop, and thanks to ICT it will be possible to bring knowledge to all levels and geographical areas, keeping in mind that to take advantage of all the advantages Of this system, teachers, the educational system as a whole and society must be aware of new technologies and must be trained to take advantage of their new capacities.


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