eLearning Meaning, Definition and Future – Essential FAQs

eLearning Meaning, Definition and Future

eLearning Meaning, Definition and Future

Digital learning continues to play an increasingly important role in the global education sector.  Over the past decade, the percentage of UK adults who have taken part in at least one eLearning course has grown from 4% to 17%.

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a major spike in the number of individuals and businesses seeking affordable eLearning opportunities.  Technological advancements have made it possible for anyone wishing to do so to further their education from home, in a way that fits with their current commitments.

But aside from convenience, what is it about eLearning that makes it so popular?  What are the benefits of eLearning that go beyond those of conventional on-campus education for adults?

What is eLearning?

The term ‘eLearning’ is used in reference to any educational or career development activity that takes place digitally or electronically.  Online courses represent most common approach to distance learning today, many of which can be taken free of charge.

Just a few of the most popular subjects and disciplines among eLearning students in the UK are as follows:

  • Health and safety training
  • People management and leadership
  • Business ownership and entrepreneurship
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Public relations management
  • Wedding planning and event management
  • Construction management
  • Interior design
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Beauty therapy

Most eLearning courses are available at a variety of levels – everything from introductory modules to advanced diplomas.

What is the Importance of eLearning in Modern Education?

The importance of the eLearning lies in the fact that it is uniquely flexible and accessible.  With most institutions, eLearning programmes are self-paced and self-managed.  Learners have the freedom to study at a time and pace to suit their schedules, with no in-person meetings involved.

Oftentimes, ambitious learners simply do not have the time to commit to the traditional on-campus courses.  For those who are already balancing fulltime jobs with busy personal lives, full-time (or even part-time) courses could be completely out of reach.

eLearning’s role in contemporary education is to provide enthusiastic and ambitious learners with the opportunity to further their education on their own terms.

What Are the Benefits of eLearning?

Taking an eLearning course can be beneficial in ways that go beyond basic accessibility. 

For example, eLearning programmes are always more affordable than conventional courses.  There are thousands of eLearning courses that can be taken free of charge, inclusive of all essential study aids and learning resources.

Studying from home can also be more efficient, negating the need to spend time travelling to and from a school or college.  Savings can also be made on the costs of commuting, making eLearning even more cost-effective.

In addition, employers often show preference to candidates who demonstrate commitment to their continuous professional development. Self-managed, self-paced training programs call for discipline and dedication – always valued by employers and decision-makers.

Again, all from a distance learning program that may be offered 100% free of charge.

Why is eLearning so Effective?

eLearning is effective for the simple reason that it enables learners to build new skills and knowledge on their own terms.  Compared with conventional education, there is little to no pressure or urgency involved with eLearning.

Remarkably, studies have shown that eLearning can increase information retention rates by as much as 60%. With traditional face-to-face training, the average information retention rate is around 10%.

This means that those who take part in eLearning programmes stand to take more away from their studies than those who attend conventional classes.  Learners are given more control of the learning process, the opportunity to revisit important topics, and time to focus on their own strengths and weaknesses.

All of which results in a dynamic approach to education, which can be even more effective than conventional classroom studies.

How Do eLearning Courses Work?

Upon enrolling on an eLearning course, the learner is granted access to the provider’s online platform. Using their own unique login credentials, all learning materials and study aids can be accessed remotely, from any connected device.

This includes the course modules and units themselves, along with any assignments or assessments that need to be completed. There are no fixed study schedules or deadlines, enabling candidates to progress through their course as quickly or gradually as they like.

Tutor support may or may not be provided by the course issuer, depending on the type of course taken and the level of the programme.  Upon completion, candidates have the opportunity to request an endorsed certificate or diploma, as proof of their new knowledge and skills.

Who Can Benefit from eLearning?

Flexible online education is aimed primarily at career-focused learners who cannot commit to conventional classroom courses.

This includes jobseekers looking to gain an edge in today’s competitive job market, workers at all levels looking to climb the leadership ladder, and established professionals looking to expand their knowledge.

eLearning is also popular among business owners and entrepreneurs – anyone looking to run their own business more efficiently. Freelancers and contractual workers can also take eLearning courses to build a competitive edge over competing service providers in their field.

What Kind of Technology Do I Need to Take an eLearning Course?

Most eLearning study aids and learning resources take the form of digital documents, in PDF format. These documents can be viewed online, or downloaded to almost any connected device – a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.  

Some prefer to print their course files and study from hard copies, while others use their mobile devices to complete their courses on the go.

As the course assignments and assessments you will complete take place online, it is important to ensure you have access to a strong and reliable internet connection.

What is the Future of eLearning?

Over time, educators believe that eLearning will play an increasingly important role in the global education landscape.  Such is the sophistication of online learning that it is no longer necessary for candidates to attend on-campus lessons, in order to access the highest-quality education.

In fact, there is evidence to suggest that distance learning can be even more beneficial and effective than conventional studies.

Whether considering a career change or pursuing promotion with your current employer, there has never been a better time to explore the dynamic eLearning landscape.

For more information on any of our programmes or to discuss the enrolment process, contact a member of the team at eLearning College today.