Elearning or electronic learning is a distance learning concept using electronic media. Other terms for eLearning are distance learning, online learning, and virtual learning. It is not a new concept. History has recorded its evolution in the following review.

Stenography (1840)

The root of eLearning as a distance learning program was in the 1840s. A professional teacher, Isaac Pitman, taught stenography remotely using the correspondence method. Stenography, the science of fast and concise writing, was widely used by secretaries, journalists, and other professionals related to recording notes. It was popular. Pitman sent the learning materials and assessments by mail. The learners would send their exercises or exams in the same way.

Automatic Teachers (1924)

Testing machines called automatic teachers are part of the history of e-learning evolution. A professor of educational psychology at Ohio University, Sidney Pressey, invented it. The automatic teacher form is like a typewriter with a window to show questions and four answer choices. The learners must choose the best answer. The machine could not proceed to the next question until the learners chose the correct answer. However, the low interest and investment made this machine fail in the education market.

Gliders (1954)

A professor from Harvard University, BF Skinner, invented the teaching machine. He called it Glider. The Glider functioned to manage automated learning by giving programmed instructions to learners. This machine was a box that could display questions to answer. If the answer is true, the students got commanded and proceeded to the next step. If an automatic teacher machine aimed to test learners, in contrast, the purpose of this machine was to teach.

Computer-Based Education (1960)

Glider inspired the invention of the first computer-based training (CBT) program. Daniel Alpert and Don Bitzer invented PLATO (Program Logic for Automated Teaching). At first, PLATO was only for increasing the literacy of students. However, then, it became the backbone of modern multi-user computing. The program can experiment with the earliest form of emails, message boards, and context-based assessments. PLATO use was initially limited to University of Illinois students and later used by other schools.

Then, the Department of Medicine of Alberta University held the first online course in 1968. It was for more than 20,000 students. This program was delivered using the IBM 1500 network. This system helped lecturers send course materials, organize documents, and grade assignments remotely. Arguably, this is the first contemporary online learning idea in the history of e-learning platforms.

In 1969 the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was founded. ARPANET is the technical origin of the Internet. Businesses and individuals can access this network. ARPANET became the climax technology item in the evolution of e-learning because it was considered more effective in overcoming the problem of geographical distances.

Internet-Based Courses (1976)

Internet-based courses were pioneered by an open university in the UK using CICERO. From this program, they invented Cyclops. It could facilitate remote teleconferencing before Skype and Zoom existed.

Then, Coastline Community College, the first remote community college, was founded. The college has several mini-campuses but focuses on independent learning.

Due to supporting internet-based courses in this era, Apple worked with Bell & Howell to establish the Apple Education Foundation to supply computers to students. The foundation also facilitated individuals who could design software for educational purposes.

LMS (1990s)

The emergence of the internet and technological advance produced eLearning in the 1990s. The learning media used at that time were in the form of CD ROMs and PDF files. Online learning, online courses, and digitizing learning content was starting to do.

Several schools and colleges started to provide online education in the early 90s. It enabled more people to access education via the Internet. They could learn without the constraint of schedules and geographical distance. Even the costs are also cheaper.

Then, the learning management system (LMS) became popular in 1995. Schools and universities use LMSs to monitor student progress, attendance, tests, and grades and even provide announcements.

MOOCS (2000)

The increase in sophisticated technology developments makes e-learning more attractive. LMS is used not only by schools and universities but also by various companies to train their employees. It integrates more technology products such as PowerPoint, educational games, SCORM, learning analytics, augmented reality, cloud computing, virtual worlds, online videos, ebooks, mobile learning, etc. 2010 was also an era of learning through social media. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn made learning more accessible.

The development of e-learning is also because of university and professional initiatives. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched the OpenCourseWare project in 2001. The project features more than 50 courses consisting of video lectures and assignments from top MIT professors.

In 2010, three Turkish professionals founded Udemy. It has become one of the largest and most well-known online course platforms. Through its website, Udemy provides various courses to purchase for lifetime access, video lectures, questions for assessment, and certificates. By January 2020, there were online courses from around 50,000 teachers to more than 50 million students in over 65 languages.

In 2012, Andrew NG and Daphne Koller from Stanford University founded Coursera, one of the most popular online learning platforms. Other successful platforms that have emerged so far are Udacity and edX. Therefore, Year of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is the best label for 2012. MOOC is a program that provides access to online courses from leading experts to all societies.

Elearning Today

E-learning is increasingly being used by students, businesses, and trainers, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. E-learning in this modern era is getting simpler because of technological advancements. Learning becomes more attractive and interactive in virtual classrooms with Cloud technology, social platform, learning analytics, and MOOC integration. The LMS is getting more sophisticated and easily accessible from anywhere. It also supports various technologies that make learning more enjoyable.

Technology and eLearning are constantly evolving. The transformation of society’s lifestyles following technological developments will make e-learning still have a bright future. Hence, businesses in this sector are one of the best recommendations. 

However, building your e-learning from scratch is not something easy. Partnership with e-learning service providers will be the best choice. Katalis.App, an experienced LMS provider, will help you to manage e-learning without much initial investment. Katalis.App allows you to have an LMS without any technical complexities hence speeding up the process of going to market. Contact us here for further discussion.

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