I ran across this post and I think it is an important conversation. In the 90’s I worked at a start-up called FreeEigo.com a site that taught English to a Japanese audience. We created a community where students and instructors could interact with each other. It was a personal connection and created a bridge between student and teacher. This is an important aspect of distance learning. It also benefits corporate learning, it creates a place to connect with top performers with new employees. It is also a place for front line employees to connect with leadership. This builds a sense of community so people feel more connected to the organization. All of this is extremely important you have a distributed work force.