Today two terms that are being used almost inter-changeably are ‘Open Learning’ and ‘Distance Education’
and they are often combined to be known as Open and Distance Learning (ODL). Open learning is a philosophy a nd Distance Education is the mode used for translating it into reality as the two are complementary to each other.
Distance Education(DE) is an umbrella term which describes all the teaching learning arrangements in which the
learner and the teacher are separated by space and time. In fact it is a mode of delivering education and instruction to learners who are not physically present in a traditional setting of a classroom. Transaction of the curriculum is effected by means of specially prepared materials (self-study (learning) materials) which are delivered to the learners at their doorstep through various media such as print, television, radio, satellite, audio/video tapes, CD-ROMs, Internet and World Wide Web etc. Also a technological medium replaces the inter-personal communication of conventional classroom based education that takes place between the teacher and the learners Communication between the institution, teacher and learners is mainly through electronic media (telephone, interactive radio counselling,teleconferencing, videoconferencing, chat sessions, email, website etc) and also through
postal correspondence and limited face to face contact sessions held at Study Centres that are set up by the DE
institutions as close to the learners’ homes as possible. Open Learning Open learning, which covers a wide range of innovations and reforms in the educational sector that advocates flexibility to the learner with regard to entry and exit; pace and place of study; method of studyand also the choice and combination of courses; assessment and course completion. The lesser the restrictions, the higher the degree of openness. The Open learning system aims to redress social or educational inequality and to offer opportunities not provided by conventional colleges or universities.
Educational opportunities are planned deliberately so that access to education is available to larger sections
of the society. Thus, ODL is a term which accepts the philosophy of “openness” and uses the “distance mode” of learning.