What Is E-Learning?

What exactly does “e-learning” mean? E-learning is the act of engaging in an educational course in an online setting. E-learning courses can exist in a variety of forms, using a range of technologies. Commonly used in organizations like schools and corporations, e-learning can help learners complete education and training objectives with greater ease and flexibility than they can with traditional classroom-based learning. E-learning courses can use a variety of techniques, including audio and video recordings, presentations, quizzes, surveys, games, discussion groups, and more.
E-learning courses can be published online through a learning management system (LMS). An LMS allows for course creators to streamline e-learning content into one easy-to-access location. An LMS that is SCORM-compliant (shareable content object reference model) allows for easy integration of content and tools, and extends the availability of courseware to include courses authored by third parties.
The History of E-Learning
E-learning stems from the ongoing incorporation of technology—specifically computer systems and mobile devices—into learning and education environments. While the first e-learning systems were more focused on the delivery of content and information from teachers to students, as technology evolved, e-learning began to incorporate more interactive, multidirectional tools. Correspondence and collaboration became more efficient, and systems started to feel more natural and easier to navigate.
E-learning methods continue to expand. Learners now have access to an abundance of information and e-learning opportunities. While schools were the first to adopt e-learning technology en masse, businesses have also recognized its advantages and rapidly adopted e-learning in order to train their employees. Workers of all experience levels are now able to capitalize on online training and resources to increase their professional knowledge and skills, resulting in more efficient business practices and higher employee engagement.
The Benefits of E-Learning
E-learning has the power to make learning more accessible for users around the world. In education, it brings learning opportunities to previously disadvantaged groups. In business, it helps unite and train an increasingly global workforce. When learning materials are online, users are able to access content from anywhere and at any time.
A high-quality LMS allows users to participate in e-learning courses from desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets. This flexibility means that users can learn any time of day, whenever it’s most convenient for them—something classroom and in-office learning can’t compete with. Learners can also start a session on one device (say a smartphone during a commute) and resume it on another (say a tablet at home in the evening), making it easier to fit learning into busy lives.
Learners aren’t the only ones who benefit from e-learning and learning management systems. For course instructors, an effective LMS offers easy course authoring tools for quickly creating and updating content. For administrators and managers, e-learning is a more affordable and efficient way to conduct learning and training. E-learning saves time, money, materials, and resources by keeping everything online. And because it’s easy to access, a larger number of students and employees can participate in learning or training initiatives. As technology continues to push e-learning forward, education, training, and professional development will reach wider audiences and impact more learners.