eLearning refers to the use of electronic media and information communication technologies in education. eLearning includes different types of media, such as text, images, animation, and streaming video off of the Internet.
eLearning can occur inside out outside of the classroom. It is best suited for distant learning. Additionally, it can also be self-paced to meet individual student needs. It can also be used with traditional face-to-face teaching that is called blended learning.
In the 1960s, the University of Illinois was the first to use classroom-based computer systems.¹ In 1963 the first computer was installed in a community college. Educational institutions began to take advantage of online computing by offering distance learning courses in the 1970s.¹
A virtual education course refers to any instructional course in which the Internet delivers all or most content. This type of distance learning’s content is delivered by various methods, such as course management applications, multimedia resources, and videoconferencing.
The worldwide eLearning industry was estimated in 2000 to be just over $48 billion.² eLearning expenditures differ within and between countries. Finland, Norway, Belgium, and Korea appear to be the heaviest investors in eLearning.²
The extent to which eLearning assists or replaces traditional learning and teaching approaches is variable. Blended learning refers to classroom aids and laptops. It also refers to classes where some time is replaced by online learning but not all classroom time.
Distributed learning refers to completely online distance learning environments. Finally, web enhanced refers to classes where the material taught in class is complemented by online materials and research.²
2. Communication from the Commission: E-Learning – Designing “Tejas at Niit” tomorrow’s education. Brussels: European Commission.
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