eLearning: Concepts and Definitions

Authoring Tool

  • Creates and organizes online courses and materials (text, graphics, audio) for eLearning
  • Rich, interactive content without requiring special programming skills

Blended Learning

  • Combines face-to-face learning and on-line learning
  • Theoretically blends the best of online and physical worlds
  • Learners given in-person assistance by facilitators and mentors
  • Considered the most efficient learning approach

Instructional Design

  • Learning materials design and delivery in traditional classrooms and/or online
  • Designed to make material both interesting and relevant to the target audience

Learning Management System (LMS)

  • System for planning, scheduling, delivering and tracking a user’s progress
  • Focused on administration, reporting, classroom management and enrollment
  • Flexible, customizable to target audiences
  • Enables all data to be stored in one central system
  • Security

Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

  • Authoring software that uses existing content and creates new content

 Media Types

  • Online instructors have a variety of media to engage learners (audio, video, etc.)
  • Content should always add value to the course and offer experiences unavailable elsewhere.
  • Visual message is important: layout, typography, colour, texture, symbology, animations, video and sequencing must be taken into account
  • Illustrations and animations can improve learning
  • Narration can enhance learning, but music can be distracting
  • Avoid being purely aesthetic when choosing graphics as they can be distracting
  • Be economical; use only as many elements necessary to avoid distraction
  • Ensure message is clear


  • To transfer traditional classroom material to the internet, the content agenda must be adapted for graphics, flow and interactions
  • Opportunities to consider re-designing/updating courses and cirriculums


classroom management cartoon

Social Dynamics

  • Communication with other students and the instructor rely on emails, online bulletin boards, and online chat/discussion boards.
  • Instructors need to: provide clear instructions on communication protocols and be ready to intervene if necessary

The Learning Context

  • Learning takes place in different context than traditional classroom learning
  • eLearning is an individual activity
  • Consider feedback, motivation  factors
  • personalizing learning is an important way to connect to learners online
  • Deadlines must be used


  • eLearning courses may take from between 25-60% of equivalent classroom time
  • Consider breaking course material into smaller parts to focus on needs of the modern learner

Written Content (for the Web)

  • ease of use ie designed to be scanned (bold headlines, lists, short paragraphs)
  • emphasis on tone, clarity and brevity
  • avoid tangents that waste learner’s time

Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)

  • An eLearning standard for LMS use

Tin Can API

  • “The Experience API” and “Next Generation SCORM.”
  • SCORM with extended functionalities (eg. real time tracking, mobile platforms, real time tracking)