The term ‘e-learning’ has only been in existence since 1999. When the word was first utilized, other terms – such as ‘online learning’ and ‘virtual learning’ – also began to spring up in search of an accurate description of exactly was e-learning was. However, the principles behind e-learning have been well documented throughout history, and there is even evidence that suggests that early forms of e-learning existed as far back as the 19th century.
With the introduction of the computer and internet in the late 20th century, e-learning tools and delivery methods expanded. The first MAC in the 1980s enabled individuals to have computers in their homes, making it easier for them to learn about particular subjects and develop certain skillsets. Then, in the following decade, virtual learning environments began to truly thrive, with people gaining access to a wealth of online information and e-learning opportunities.
The early 1990s
By the early 90s several schools had been set up to deliver courses online, making the most of the internet and bringing education to people unable to attend a college due to geographical or time constraints. Technological advancements also helped educational establishments reduce the costs of distance learning – a saving that could then be passed on to the students, helping bring education to a wider audience.
The late 1990s
At the end of the 90s the learning management systems (LMS) spread widely. Some universities preferred to design and develop their own systems, but most of the educational institutions started with systems from the market.
The dawn of the LMS allowed students and teachers to:
Exchange learning materials
Communicate with each other in many ways
Track and trace their progress
The environment was able to facilitate learning in quite an easy way: the product was simple to use, and for teachers it didn’t represent a steep learning curve.
In the 2000s, businesses began using e-learning to train their employees. New and experienced workers alike now had the opportunity to improve upon their industry knowledge base and expand their skillsets. At home, individuals were granted access to programs that offered them the ability to earn online degrees and enrich their lives through expanded knowledge. Pretty advanced stuff, hey?
2010 and the future
The future holds a new wave of e-learning inspired by social media, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Selective Open Online Courses (SOOCs) and even websites like YouTube. Individuals and companies alike are taking the opportunity to use these different outlets to share information and learn from each other. Filtered sits on this wave, and has the cutting-edge technology to help any individual grow their knowledge base.
As for the distant future of e-learning, let us all hope that Artificial Intelligence systems are nothing like what we saw in the Terminator Films.
Here is an e-learning timeline:
This infographic was created by Roberta Gogos.