Distance learning is where the teachers and the students cannot physically be together because they are at different locations. Prior to the advent of Internet, such courses were done via mail correspondence, which is very time-consuming and very limited in terms of interaction with the teaching staff (and almost none among students). Today, Internet allows for more interaction, but it is still lacking in many ways. On the other hand, Internet-based distance learning allows people to learn at their own pace and when and where they want. If you are a self-motivated person or a busy working adult, then distance learning may be a very good option for you.
Many community colleges offer online courses now, and with the budget cuts coming to many schools, reliance on online courses will only increase. So you might as well get used to it.