A Brief History of E-learning and Distance Education

E-learning is a very broad term. It is used to describe any type of learning environment that is computer-based. There are several technologies that can be used in e-learning. It’s become one of those types of words that are so generic that they’ve lost some of their meaning. Distance learning is something that evolved from e-learning. It is used to describe a learning environment that takes place away from the actual traditional classroom and campus.

E-learning began around the same time as a computer was being developed that was convenient for personal use. In fact, the concept and practice of distance learning predates the computing field by almost 100 years. In England in 1840 shorthand courses were offered through correspondence courses by mail. Improvements in the postal service made this method of distance learning popular early in the last century. This led to a large number of “by the mail” type educational programs. Computers have only made distance learning easier and better. Television, VCR, and even radio have all made contributions to distance learning.

E-learning and distance learning are not quite the same. The fundamental thing that distinguishes distance learning is the physical separation of the student from the teacher and the classroom. However, e-learning became part of the classroom environment from the start. The early use of computers was designed to support the classroom teacher. As personal computers gradually became available, the idea of ​​online education was explored by some pioneering colleges and universities. Early attempts at distance learning were hampered by opposition from traditionalists in education.

Some invoked what they called the philosophy of education to demonstrate that the teacher was essential to the educational process. This resistance led to the early online degrees being viewed as inferior to the traditionally earned degrees. This prejudice extended to the human resources departments of large employers. When choosing between two otherwise equally qualified applicants, preference was given to the one with the classic degree. This has changed drastically in recent years. The improvements in e-learning technology and the ability to create virtual classrooms and a virtual learning environment (VLE) has gradually broken the resistance. This process was aided by the emergence of a new generation that was weaned from computers. It wouldn’t be surprising if, within another generation, the pendulum swung completely and the online degree was the one respected and coveted.

#History #Elearning #Distance #Education

Thanks to Natalie Aranda

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