E-Learning is electronic learning, which makes use of interactive technology to deliver educational content and service via the Internet. Electronic learning traditionally has been a campus-based institution. Many students still live on campus during their academic studies; others live just down the street and commute in for campus-based help services. The eLearning concept changed with the growth of distance education and now includes online education, distance correspondence courses, and online testing.
The first step toward E-Learning is defining the learning objective. What type of course material do you want to provide? These are just some of the questions you need to answer when formulating your E-Learning objectives.
E-Learning can be broken down into two broad categories: web-based and computer-based. In computer-based e-Learning, instructors guide students through instructional content in a virtual classroom. Students use a specialized learning management system to access this virtual classroom. A variety of media such as video, voice-over IP, text, and animation are used.
Web-based e-learning involves taking advantage of computers as the main platform for delivering educational material. E-Learning solutions are usually based on the idea of distributed learning. E-Learning solutions include courseware, web-based applications, online training solutions, and online testing resources.
As compared to online learning where the learners interact only with their computer and the Internet, in web-based learning they interact with a real tutor. Web-based tutoring and discussion forums make it possible for learners to seek help from experienced E-Learning professionals who have years of experience in the field. It also helps E-Learning institutions save money since tutors do not travel from one location to another to offer their services.
Some people believe that there is no difference between online learning and e-learning. However, there are differences between both. Online learning refers to the set of activities and content that require students to log on to the Internet and visit a distant educational institution for obtaining academic or career guidance. On the other hand, E-Learning refers to a set of activities that can be conducted over the Internet with the help of a computer network and Internet connection.
One major difference between the two is the level of interaction that E-Learning provides. In one way E-Learning reduces the barriers of non-verbal communication such as gaze, hand movements, and body language. On the other hand, the structure of online E-Learning lends greater importance to textual communication. The most important goal of E-Learning is the creation of an instructional design that allows for a structured learning environment that enables learners to absorb information in a manner that enhances learning.
It is evident from the above that E-Learning differs from its traditional counterpart in several ways. E-Learning provides learners with the best opportunity to achieve self-rewarding learning while building on the strengths of formal E-Learning.