Distance learning is defined by Wikipedia.com:
Distance education or distance learning, is a field of education that focuses on teaching methods and technology with the aim of delivering teaching, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom. It has been described as 'a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.'
In terms of "distance learning," the obvious disadvantages, to my mind, include—first and foremost—the loss of interaction with teacher and classmates. When information is presented by the instructor in the traditional classroom, students have the opportunity to ask questions for clarification, and to hear other students' ideas and questions. All of this contributes to the learning experience. For the student who is learning on an individual basis, as opposed to a class that "meets" online at a certain time to "blog," the disadvantages seem obvious based on the above-mentioned circumstances..
In terms of solutions to these disadvantages, student who are being educated individually would benefit from a real-time question and answer session with other students who are also being educated by distance learning. This would create something akin to the traditional classroom, and allow students to converse in an open forum where a "class" is taking place—the spontaneity of real-time interactions, even via comments being typed, is much more advantageous. If a "classroom" setting is provided based on students coming together online at the same time, this would enhance the experience for the student.
The advantages of distance learning are far-reaching. If a student is physically unable to attend a class, for example, because of illness or a physical impediment, these kinds of classes open doors that are otherwise closed to those students. It can also be an advantage for those living in outlying areas where colleges do not exist. In these cases, students do not lose the opportunity of learning based on the limitations of geographical location. However great the advantages are, however, it would seem that adding the component of interaction with others is extremely advantageous.