Telecommunications in both terrestrial and satellite‐mediated forms is becoming an integral part of the instrumentation of distance education. Although considerable experience has already been accumulated with respect to the use of telecommunications in distance education, the rapidly advancing possibilities in this technology are challenging those involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of electronically distributed learning. In particular, the issue of how to predict and evaluate the educational impact and added value of new possibilities in telecommunications while these are still in evolution is a major challenge. In this paper, various issues in the evaluation of telecommunications as educational instrumentation are discussed and a general approach for evaluating this instrumentation is described. Application of the approach is illustrated with an example.