What Is eLearning: Definition and Types

In our last articles, we talked a lot about LMSs, course builders, and distance learning technologies. All of them are e-learning or eLearning tools. In this article, we will talk about the concept of eLearning itself, consider what it consists of and highlight the types.

eLearning refers to the acquisition of knowledge electronically, that is, through PCs, smartphones, and tablets. It can include listening to audio recordings, watching videos on YouTube, or taking eLearning courses. The latter are especially popular because they allow experts to impart knowledge to everyone in a convenient and accessible form.

So who organizes e-learning and to what end? Let’s find out.

Who uses e-learning?

  1. Personal trainers. People love talking about what they do. That’s why there are so many entertaining and educational blogs on YouTube, Telegram, and other platforms. And they are popular because the user chooses their own mentor and learns in a comfortable way. For example, the CrashCourse channel talks in simple language about computers, sociology problems and historical events. Watching their videos won’t make you a historian, but it will broaden your horizons.
  2. Companies. Companies are implementing comprehensive e-learning systems (LMS) to reduce in-person training. Due to the rapid increase of software development companies, every business owner can order custom LMS. Such a system helps to organize training in remote offices, which saves money and time.
  3. Educational institutions. Universities and academies are also actively using e-learning. For example, almost every university has its own educational portal, where you can find articles on economics, philosophy, and other disciplines from university professors.

E-learning tools

Any e-learning consists of three components: the learning tool, the learning object, and the learning platform.

The tool is a computer and not necessarily a bulky desktop version. You can also study from smartphones and tablets. Mobile learning is incredibly convenient because it allows you to take courses anytime and in any place.

The object of learning is an electronic course, and it can be presented in different ways. We discuss the types of content in more detail below.

A learning platform is a place where the user takes courses. Usually, it is a site on the Internet, but it can also be a specialized system. We have published a review of the most popular commercial and free systems earlier.

We will now elaborate on two realities that are often found in our articles: course creation tools and distance learning systems.

Types of e-learning

We mentioned above that there are many types of e-courses. In this unit, we’ll focus on the types of content and look at each in more detail.

Tests

The test is the easiest way to check your knowledge. However, paper forms are long and inconvenient to check, and there is a chance of error when scanned. This is where electronic tests excel: a text file will not be scanned with an error.

There are also specialized systems that allow you to create unique forms and collect test statistics. These systems are mainly used by educational and government institutions.

Screencasts

A screencast is a screen recording video recorded to teach the user something that can be demonstrated. This format is suitable for teaching a complex program, such as Adobe Photoshop. Read our screencast software review if this format interests you.

Webinars

Webinars are broadcast screen recordings with a video camera. Unlike an already recorded screencast, a webinar is broadcast in real-time, so it is more like a traditional classroom lesson. The advantage of this format is that viewers can ask the expert and immediately get an answer during the broadcast. Webinars do not require the installation of additional software since they are held at certain websites.

Video courses

Like a screencast, a video course is recorded to show something that can be demonstrated. But unlike a screencast, such a course can include video and graphic inserts and additional effects: zoom, filters, transitions between video and slides, etc.

Dialogue simulators

Dialogue simulators are interactive lessons with virtual characters that ask the user questions and show different reactions depending on the chosen answer. This allows real-life situations, such as a salesperson communicating with a customer in a car showroom, to be played out in a safe environment. In this way, the user learns to resolve conflicts, manage subordinates, and interact with customers.

Slide courses

Slide courses are full-fledged lessons that not only teach but also test the examinee. Such a course can include both texts with graphs and tests or dialog simulators. For example, there are electronic exams that certify specialists before using complex equipment.

VR simulators

This is a virtual course using VR technology. Today, the development of such a program is too long and expensive, so it is rarely used.

Prospects for e-learning

The future possibilities of eLearning depend directly on the development of new technologies. According to research gate, for eLearning to enter a new phase, the focus must be on the student, their individual learning, and comprehension. Games can help engage students in learning because they focus attention and introduce a competitive element, which improves the perception of information.

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