In most basic form, e-learning is accessing knowledge using computer technology or other electronic devices, so the person can learn outside the typical school classroom. Well, I could say that most people that used or still using computer, had some type of e-learning. In beginnings, this type of learning was not well received as people believed if children had computers inside classroom it will somehow remove that necessary human interaction. But as technology advanced through time, more schools are now accepting technological devices in classrooms for learning. There are few popular methods for e-learning. You can either learn through listening to audio recordings, interactive video conferences, videos with instructions, or any other part of video technology, or through technology delivered from computers online. Sometimes learning online can be also interactive and done in real time, so students can ask questions or raise hands. Through years e-learning is on a way to becoming trusted method for learning, training and education.
History of e-learning goes all the way back to 1968, can you believe that? It was the time when first technologies of e-learning were used in interactive computer environment. The biggest growth of internet in 90’s played a massive role for online learning too. Now fast forward to near past, in 2010, global market for products bought and used for e-learning was around $30 billion dollars. And 4 years later it grew to around $50 billion. E- learning is very effective and saves lots of costs. You don’t need to travel, and learn from printed materials, it helps you to increase learning with more productivity. Many educational course that are face to face offer practice only in their normal working hours. But with online learning you can learn from anywhere whenever you wish. Not all people even like to learn in groups. They feel more comfortable learning individually at their own speed, taking as much time they as they need to tackle one subject. So as you can see, e-learning today has a big value.
By placing tutorials online, e-learning has a global reach. Any subject can be accessed easily by people in different countries, and there are no expensive travels between many time zones. You can even create your own content or course in just few hours, and then share it or publish online. Softwares are easy to work with, so almost anybody could do it. Courses online can work on almost any smartphones and tablets which means it’s in hands of people who could need them at any given time. In not so long past, when e-learning was still new, only coders and programmers had required programming skills for creating courses online. Then later, applications came which still needed some programming to be done. Office PowerPoint was very popular tool for designing e-learning material based on slides.
Today there are 2 main categories in which people are developing courses for online learning. There are form based authoring tools, which means person is using application where some of aspects are already pre-built and you only have to add proper images, colors and text. If you mix this and try few combinations you can create different look of courses from same forms. These forms are handy for users who are used to creating their content quickly, and for people that are not really advanced in technical field.
Other version is free-form authoring tool. This software does the opposite of other. You usually start with only blank slides and later you can choose how to build and design functional course. This software is better for people who have some knowledge with technology. These applications are used for complex online learning. When course is completed, companies are measuring success of entire project by how much person’s skills are improved and knowledge he learned. E-learning is a field that is already evolving. The future of e-learning is very interesting because it’s heading to few directions and not just focusing on one. Tablet learning, mobile learning and collaboration based learning are all being methods of new trend of delivering information for people. E-learning doesn’t mean change is happening only in our technology. It defines how we as human beings are sharing skills, knowledge and values to all the future younger generations.