Distance learning may be defined as a process for learning where the teacher, the student and possibly even teaching resources are separated by time and space. Teaching methods for the new era use cds, dvds, computers, internet, web-cams, podcasts, cell phones, video-conferencing and many more types of technology to transmit educational information from one person to another. The transfer of information can happen in "real time" or it may happen weeks after the presentation was actually created by the instructor. For example, an instructor can create a presentation on Monday, and on Friday, the instructor may schedule delivery of the presentation using streaming video over the internet to an audience around the world. Distance learning courses may be offered as self study courses or may be monitored and delivered in real time by the instructor.

People who wish to participate in distance learning may be challenged by the level of technological understanding and experience distance learning requires. Lack of technology skills can detract from student time and focus on course content and cause students to become discouraged. Knowledge of how to use distance learning technology hardware and software can increase student success. 

There is great interest and need for distance learning within California Indian communities.  To promote success in distance learning for Indian people, the National Indian Justice Center and an expert Advisory Committee, with support from the California Consumer Protection Foundation, have collaborated to develop an online distance learning technology program for tribal communities entitled, "How to become a Distance Learner". Together we can create culturally relevant educational programs that will benefit all generations.