Deep neural models, in recent years, have been successful in almost every field. However, these models are huge, demanding heavy computation power. Besides, the performance boost is highly dependent on redundant labeled data. To achieve faster speeds and to handle the problems caused by the lack of labeled data, knowledge distillation (KD) has been proposed to transfer information learned from one model to another. KD is often characterized by the so-called ‘Student-Teacher’ (S-T) learning framework and has been broadly applied in model compression and knowledge transfer. This paper is about KD and S-T learning, which are being actively studied in recent years. First, we aim to provide explanations of what KD is and how/why it works. Then, we provide a comprehensive survey on the recent progress of KD methods together with S-T frameworks typically used for vision tasks. In general, we investigate some fundamental questions that have been driving this research area and thoroughly generalize the research progress and technical details. Additionally, we systematically analyze the research status of KD in vision applications. Finally, we discuss the potentials and open challenges of existing methods and prospect the future directions of KD and S-T learning.