根据越来越多的研究，远程教育在教育的各个领域越来越普及，尤其是作为高等教育的一种方式。远程教育在高等教育背景下扩张的数据通过远程学习的高等教育机构提供的课程范围支持（刘等，2006，Croft）。 在讨论远程学习时，首先要定义我们所说的术语。例如，最古老的术语指远程学习是“远程教育”，一种教育经验，存在了超过100年，因此最初不与ITC技术。Soren Niper（1989）定义的三代远程教育：函授教学、多媒体教学（整合广播媒体，磁带和一些使用电脑），教学互动的新型计算机技术。泰勒（2001）将这一分类扩展到了五代，指出远程教育的发展沿着灵活性、交互性、传递材料和访问的方向发展。远程教育的“第四代”的特点是灵活的学习（例如，CMC，互联网可访问的课程），和“第五代”，提供访问的完整范围内的大学服务，通过网上门户网站的距离。代3，4，和5的移动方式从定向和非交互式课程程度高的特点，学习者控制和双向通信的课程，以及面向群体和更大的灵活性，在学习的过程。对于双向互动，需要注意的是，最初的远程教育被视为一个不支持足够的互动，例如，基冈（1986）指出，在远程教育的学生最常作为个人，不是群体，是从老师和其他同学分开。基冈的远程教育的定义也许是最常被引用的文献中，涉及五个特征区别于其他形式的指令：“（一）教师和学习者的准永久性分离，（b）在规划、准备教育组织的影响，并提供学生支持，（C）技术媒体的使用，（D）双向通信的规定，和（e）学习群体的永久缺席的准。这是已经讨论很多的文学上的特点（驻军和页岩，1987；verduin &克拉克，1991等等，最早的反对这一观点）因为这个定义排除了许多远程教育是基于组的应用。尽管远程教育并不总是与最新的计算机应用程序的使用（dist版在线的…），它是目前信息和通信技术的使用是相关的。
According to a growing body of research, distance learning is becoming increasingly popular in all spheres of education in general and as a way to deliver higher education in particular. The data about distance learning expansion in higher education context are supported by the range of distance learning courses provided in higher education institutions (Liu et al., 2006, Croft).When discussing distance learning it is necessary to first define what we mean by the term. For example, the oldest term referring to learning at a distance is ‘distance education’, a type of education experience which has existed for more than 100 years and therefore was not originally associated with ITC technologies. Soren Niper (1989) defined three generations of distance education: correspondence teaching, multimedia teaching (integrating broadcast media, cassettes and some use of computers), and teaching with new interactive computer technologies. Taylor (2001) extended the classification to five generations and noted that the development of distance education has been progressing along the line of increased flexibility, interactivity, delivery of materials, and access. The ‘fourth generation’ of distance education is characterized by flexible learning (e.g., CMC, Internet-accessible courses), and the ‘fifth generation’ that provides access to the complete range of university services at a distance through online portals. Generations 3, 4, and 5 move way from directed and noninteractive courses to the courses characterized by a high degree of learner control and two-way communication, as well as group-oriented processes and greater flexibility in learning. Regarding two-way interaction, it has to be noted that originally distance education was seen as the one that does not support enough interaction, e.g., Keegan (1986) stated that in ‘distance education’ students are most often taught as individuals, not in groups, and are physically separated from both the teacher and other fellow students. Keegan’s definition of distance education is perhaps the most commonly cited in the literature and involves five qualities that distinguish it from other forms of instruction: ‘(a) the quasi- permanent separation of teacher and learner, (b) the influence of an educational organization in planning, preparation, and provision of student support, (c) the use of technical media, (d) the provision of two-way communication, and (e) the quasi- permanent absence of learning groups’. It is the last characteristics that has been debated a lot in the literature (Garrison & Shale, 1987; Verduin & Clark, 1991 to name a few and the earliest opponents to this view) because this definition excludes a lot of recent applications of distance education that are group based. Even though distance education does not always incorporated the use of newest computer applications (dist ver online….), it is presently mostly associated with the use of ICT.