At a distance learning takes place, in contrast to the presence study, most of the studies off -campus instead. In contrast to classroom lectures the student acquires knowledge through specially prepared scripts, classroom seminars, multimedia teaching materials and the performance assessment based on the correction of written assignments or exams.

The term is distance learning, which ( eg Diploma, Bachelor or Master) leads to the attainment of an academic degree, and takes place at a state or state-recognized university, to be distinguished from the distance learning, even though colloquially the two terms are used interchangeably. A web-based presentation form of distance learning represents the online study


Founded before the First World War Rustinsche training institute for self-instruction in Potsdam (later Dusseldorf ) in Germany was the first and until the 1960s the only provider of a systematic distance learning ( " method Rustin "). The Institute was also the first journal specifically devoted to the topic of distance learning, out.

The first distance learning programs were originally referred to as correspondence courses because the student and the supervising facility by mail contact with each other. The traditional distance education has for its anonymity and lack of time most of the employed students often have high drop-out rates. In the times of communication via a virtual campus, forums, blended learning and the introduction of the transplanted Bachelor-/Masterstudiengänge the demand for academic distance learning has been on the increase again.


An electronic form of distance learning represents the online study, are provided in the course content in audio, video or written form via the Internet. The support provided by teachers takes place usually through chat, video conferencing, emails or phones. Shorter attendance and examination phases supplement usually offered at a university. A digital " learning space " enables us to offer digital and interactive learning materials through the network, and the communication between teachers and students and the students themselves. Compared to the classical distance learning, online degree programs are characterized by lower dropout rates. All these methods equal to the flexible scheduling of students - which presupposes a high degree of self-motivation.

A representative study by Forsa and the European Fernhochschule Hamburg with 300 German companies with at least 150 employees in January 2007 showed that the graduates of distance learning are very much in demand among HR managers: 80 percent thought it would at least be equivalent, because a distance education high motivation, determination, the ability to time management, organizational skills, personal responsibility and flexibility attestiere, only about one in five hiring manager reviewed compulsory attendance higher. According to the respondents, distance learning courses should have an accreditation as FIBAA and be practical above all.

Provider in the German-speaking

In the Federal Republic of Germany is the distance learning university founded in 1974 in Hagen with over 85,000 (as of June 2013), students not only the largest provider of distance education, but also the largest university in Germany. By a treaty between the countries she received the general government order to offer distance learning via the state of North Rhine -Westphalia addition. In Western and later in Germany as a whole it was a long time the only significant institution that offered an academically oriented distance learning. In Switzerland, the Foundation " Distance Learning University Switzerland " is working with the University of Hagen, but also offers its own courses of study. In Austria there is a cooperation agreement with the Johannes Kepler University Linz. Furthermore offers the Fernfachhochschule Switzerland ( FFHS ) since 1998 federally recognized university degree programs in combined distance learning.

Private - government approved - providers that offer only distance learning courses, include the AKAD private universities (which was the first private German remote - Fachhochschule ), the SRH Fernhochschule Riedlingen, the APOLLO University of the Health Economy in Bremen, Wilhelm Büchner Hochschule, the private Fachhochschule Göttingen, the private Fernfachhochschule Saxony, the European Fernhochschule Hamburg ( euro -FH ), the private University of Applied Sciences North Hesse with nationwide study centers, the International University Bad Honnef - Bonn ( IUBH ) as well as the largest German private Fernhochschule HFH Hamburger Fern-Hochschule with over 10,000 students.

Increasingly also offer classroom colleges and universities to distance learning courses or continuing education distance learning. This is implemented differently. Establishing itself have models within the university, with its own privately organized company or institution and through collaborations with other providers. An example of the cooperation model are the distance learning programs offered by the technical colleges and the European University network. The German University for Professional Studies ( Professional Studies ) in Berlin with their distance learning offer is " public private partnerships " as a so-called shared by the Freie Universität Berlin and Stuttgart Klett Group. The Hochschule Wismar offers with their own private law Fernstudienzentrum to WINGS part-time distance learning courses with a state university degree Bachelor, Diploma and Master. A university technical Engineering distance learning offers eg TU Dresden in the study programs of Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Specializing in postgraduate ( continuing education ) distance learning courses, the Centre for Distance Learning and Continuing Education of the University of Kaiserslautern ( DISC). In cooperation with colleges The Centre for Distance Education at Fachhochschulen ( EHA ) in Koblenz offers a scientific institution of the states of Rhineland -Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland in part-time distance learning courses in economic and social sciences and technical disciplines. The Center for Distance Learning and Continuing Education ( ZFUW ) at the University of Koblenz- Landau, in cooperation with the departments of scientific developments in the following areas: Energy, Management / Business Administration and the environment. The program of the University of Koblenz -Landau ZFUW includes distance learning courses with diploma and master's degrees, one-semester distance learning courses with specific job-related content, university certificate courses as well as day and weekend seminars.

Catholic theology and religious education can not be proven at a university or college distance learning but only at the cathedral school of Würzburg. However, the study is ecclesiastically recognized and qualified for the church service.

An English University, Middlesex University, provides - in cooperation with the Austrian Academy SMEs - a distance learning course with eight different priorities for the German-speaking countries. The University of Liverpool is represented by the Higher Education Services GmbH in Austria with a distance learning offer. With the change in legislation for so-called university studies nature, the private Austrian WWEDU since the beginning of 2013 new distance learning courses in cooperation with the FH Burgenland.

National interest groups in Germany for distance learning or distance learning are a forum DistanceE -learning and the working group for distance learning in higher education ( AGF).