Open and distance education is often characterised as a learner-centric system that provides learning opportunity to students with diverse needs. For this reason, the geographical location of the providing institution plays a role in making education accessible to learners from the place where they live and work.
Multi-site teaching refers to the existence of multiple teaching-learning centres spread across a country. From here, students attend face-to-face tutorials, and gain access to the online interactive system as well as to learning resources such as the library or digitised content. Often the administrative nerve for instructors and students from the region is also situated at this learning centre. Thus, instead of one central providing institution, there are a number of branch campuses of learning centres to cater to learners' needs. The choice of registering with a learning centre is often made by the learner him/herself.
Policies on establishing multiple teaching-learning centres for an ODL institution usually rest on the following factors:
- The geographical distribution of students.
- The number of students at a particular locality.
- Budgetary and fiduciary matters.
- The administrative role of the main campus versus that of the branch campuses.
- The availability of teaching staff at a centre.