Advances in technology have since the Industrial Revolution brought about a new form of education, known today as distance education'. The revolution in electronic communications of recent decades has given distance education new status. Today more than 10 million of the world's 600 million students study at a distance. Distance education is now a formal form of learning for those in employment, for homemakers and for those who choose not to go to schools or universities. In the corporate sector distance education is fast becoming the preferred type of training. Theoretical Principles of Distance Education highlights for the first time the implications of these developments for both conventional and distance education. The book explores the problems that distance education poses the theorist. In a closely planned and balanced study, fifteen of the world's leading scholars examine the didactic, underpinnings of distance education, making use of contemporary philosophy, educational philosophy and communications theory. The book sets new levels for the analysis and study of distance education.
It demonstrates for the first time that contemporary educational philosophy, didactic strategies and administrative theory can no longer focus solely on the classroom and lecture theatre but must embrace teaching at a distance too. Desmond Keegan is manager of the European Virtual Classroom for Vocational Training project at the Audio Visual Centre, University College Dublin.