A system and method for distance learning that can be used to teach a typical IT training course. In one aspect, a student that desires to perform remotely an exercise from an IT training course uses his/her Java-capable browser to connect to a distance learning web server. The web server downloads to the browser a list of exercises that the student can choose from. After the student selects an exercise, the web server launches the virtual machines that are needed for the student to perform the selected exercise. The virtual machines are launched on a computer system that is remote from the student, but the computer system includes a remote display server. After the virtual machines are launched on the remote system, a remote display viewer is loaded in the student's browser and the remote display viewer connects to the remote display server. After the viewer connects to the remote display server, the viewer displays one or more of the virtual machines in a window on the student's computer. Thus, after the viewer connects to the remote display server, the student can remotely interact with the virtual machines that are required for the student to perform the exercise.
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