Skip to main content

The History of Distance Education

During these uncertain times social distancing has become the new normal. We’ve had to adapt in every aspect of our lives from wearing masks in the grocery to taking classes online. Online classes can be utilized for beauty school, massage school, cosmetology school, esthetics school and almost any other type of training or program. Remote learning or distance education has actually been around for over 100 years! Now more than ever this form of education is needed in most parts of the world.

The true origins of distance learning have been disputed for quite some time as the beginning was not well documented. Some sources claim that distance education started as far back as the 1700s. This form of education was practiced through correspondence education and this form grew extensively to countries across the world. In this process students would receive instructions via mail and then respond with questions or assignments. Although the process was incredibly slow, it grew as students were so eager to learn back then that the delay did not matter.

Some sources argue that distance education began in 1840 when English educator Isaac Pitman began teaching shorthand by mail. He would mail cards to students and they would mail assignments back. Correspondence learning truly began to catch on and in 1858 the University of London became the first college to offer degrees through distance education. Just 30 years later a large private school based in Pennsylvania was founded in order to provide training for immigrant coal miners hoping to become state mine inspectors. Over the course of 18 years enrollment increased from 2,500 to 900,000. This shows just how powerful distance education can be when it comes to training, courses and programs.

As time went on and technology began to advance significantly the landscape of education learning began to change significantly. The radio allowed universities to broadcast information and courses to students in a timely manner. Universities even started offering television courses and training programs to students starting in the 1930s. These teaching methods extended into the mid-century. Many universities started offering TV courses for credit, while it may be hard to believe that credible degrees from universities like NYU were attained through televised courses, many Americans benefited from these programs without leaving home.

During the 90s the invention of the personal computer and the internet revolutionized the way remote learning was conducted. Online university started to become the normal and people could earn bachelors and master’s degrees online. Online learning was essential in the 90s as universities could not meet the high demand for face to face meetings. A combination of virtual classrooms, mobile phones, videoconferencing and the internet was the key to distance education.

Today, online learning is everywhere. Most major colleges and universities offer programs online for a wide variety of courses. Aside from universities, many trade schools also offer remote courses. You can learn almost anything online today – biology, cosmetology, chemistry, massage, technology, esthetic and so much more. The possibilities are endless in this virtual age. While we’re all stuck at home, now is the perfect time to start learning a new trade, taking online courses and/or training programs. With such a low barrier to entry and high return – distance education is the perfect option for most people.

Kickstart Your Future at Avenue Five Institute

A job in the cosmetology industry is exciting and offers a whirlwind of unique opportunities. It all begins when you enroll in Cosmetology School.

Avenue Five Institute offers two vibrant locations, one in North Austin and one in South Austin. Our hands-on cosmetology program has so much to offer, learn more or book a tour at one or both campuses – we look forward to meeting you!

×