Open learning and distance education represents approaches that focus on opening access to education and training provision, freeing learners from the constraints of time and place, and offering flexible learning opportunities to individuals and groups of learners. Open and distance learning is one of the most rapidly growing fields of education, and its potential impact on all education delivery systems has been greatly accentuated through the development of Internet-based information technologies, and in particular the World Wide Web  (www).

For the student/learner open and distance learning means increased access and flexibility as well as the combination of work and education. It allows upgrading of skills, increased productivity and development of a new learning.

Open and distance learning has the potential to generate new patterns of teaching and learning. Strongly linked with developments in information and communication technologies, it is close to the development of new learning needs and new patterns of information access and application and learning.

There is evidence that it can lead to innovation in mainstream education, and may even have effects beyond the realm of education itself. Open and distance learning therefore plays an especially decisive role in the creation of the global knowledge-based society. The emergence of new forms of distance learning based on new information and communication technologies; in particular those supported by the Internet and using the World Wide Web, have significant pedagogical, economic and organizational implications.

In the high population countries of the developing world, open and distance learning has been seen to offer very significant opportunities for education and training. The Web offers an enormous range of resources available, free from limitations of time and space. These resources are reconfiguring the ways in which students learn, and new approaches to networked learning are evolving. World Wide Web in open and distance learning is predominantly represented within higher education; it is also beginning to be used in schools.