What is e-Learning? A Complete Guide for your Business

Young girl taking an e-learning course at home.
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

What does e-learning mean and what it is all about?

E-learning is using the internet to learn. With online learning, you take classes or do schoolwork on your computer or phone instead of going to a school or classroom in person. Learning is the process of getting new information or skills through studying, practicing, or being taught. E-learning combines remote learning and the experience of learning, so you can gain knowledge or skills through digital classes, coursework, and other educational materials.

An important part of electronic learning is Instructional design. It is the process of creating educational or training materials and experiences in a systematic and efficient way. It is the science of creating instructional materials and experiences to enhance learning. It is a process that involves analyzing learning needs and developing teaching materials, and evaluating the effectiveness of the instruction. The goal is to create experiences that are effective, efficient, and appealing to the learners.

The History of Electronic Learning and how it all begun.

E-learning, which stands for "electronic learning," is when technology is used to deliver educational content and help teachers teach. E-learning has been around since the early days of computers, when schools and other groups started looking for ways to use technology to improve teaching and learning experience.

When computer-assisted instruction (CAI) was first made in the 1960s and 1970s, this was the first time e-learning was used. Most CAI systems were made up of a computer program that showed the student educational content and quizzes and then gave them feedback based on how they did. These early systems were mostly used in educational settings like schools and colleges, but they were limited and didn't catch on with many people.

Interior of a classroom, students bent at study, Yallourn, 1947.
E-learning was science fiction back in the days. Photo by Museums Victoria / Unsplash

In the 1980s and 1990s, when new technologies like the personal computer and the internet came out, e-learning started to change. This made it possible to make e-learning content that was more interactive and interesting, and it also made it possible for e-learning to reach a larger audience.

E-learning became more popular in the early 2000s, when more people had access to the internet and the cost of technology went down. With the rise of web universities and Learning Management Systems (LMSs), e-learning became more accessible and was used by a wider range of institutions and organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for people to start using e-learning, which has become a popular alternative to traditional classroom-based learning. Many schools and universities have closed or are operating at less than full capacity. E-learning has given students a way to keep learning while keeping their social distance. E-learning also makes it possible to have a more flexible schedule and more options for learning.

Overall, e-learning has come a long way since it first started, and it will continue to change as new technologies come out. E-learning is an important and widely used way to teach and learn today.

Why e-learning is important today and will remain in the future?

Electronic learning, is important because it allows people to learn and gain knowledge or skills through the use of technology. E-learning courses are classes or educational programs that are delivered over internet, through a computer or phone.

One of the main advantages of e-learning is that it provides flexibility, which allows students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. This can be especially beneficial for people who have busy lives, such as working students or parents. Virtual remote courses also provide access to educational materials that may not be available in a traditional classroom setting.

E-learning also allows for a wider range of educational opportunities, as students can take classes from different institutions or even different countries. This can provide access to specialized classes or programs that might not be available locally.

two kids standing side by side wearing masks
During COVID pandemic e-learning became extremely popular. Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash 

Another advantage of e-learning is that it can be cost-effective, as students can take remote virtual courses without incurring costs associated with travel or accommodation.

Finally, courses delivered via internet can be more interactive and engaging , with multimedia and interactive elements that can help to enhance the learning results.

Overall, e-learning is important because it provides flexibility, access to a wider range of educational opportunities, cost-effectiveness and interactive and engaging participation, making education accessible for a broad range of people.

Types of electronic learning

There are several different types of e-learning, each with their own unique characteristics and advantages.


One common type is self-paced e-learning, which allows students to work through educational materials and complete coursework at their own pace. This can be beneficial for people who have busy schedules or prefer to learn at their own speed.


Another type is synchronous e-learning, which involves live, real-time instruction. This type of e-learning is typically delivered through video conferencing or webinars and allows for real-time interaction between the instructor and students.


A third type is blended e-learning, which combines virtual and in-person instruction. This approach can be effective for providing students with the best of both worlds, allowing them to access resources over the internet and complete coursework on their own schedule, while also providing the benefits of face-to-face instruction.


A fourth type is gamified e-learning, where the educational content is presented in a game-like format, making it more interactive and engaging for students.


Lastly, there is mobile e-learning, which is e-learning that is accessed through mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. This type of e-learning can be beneficial for people who are always on the go and need to access educational materials while they are away from a computer.

Overall, e-learning can take many different forms, and the right approach will depend on the specific needs and goals of the learner and the educational organization.

Advantages and disadvantages


Flexibility, students can learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Access to educational materials that may not be available in a traditional classroom setting.

A wider range of educational opportunities, as students can take classes from different institutions or even different countries.

Cost-effective, students can take internet courses without incurring costs associated with travel or accommodation.

Interactive and engaging, using multimedia and interactive elements that can help to enhance the overall experience.

Cost effective

Less environmental impact


Limited interaction with instructors and classmates.

Lack of structure and self-discipline may be required.

Limited access to hands-on training or equipment.

Limited access to in-person resources such as labs, library and office hours.

Technical difficulties such as internet connection issues or computer problems can disrupt learning.

Types of electronic learning

Coaching and Webinars

E-learning can be used for coaching and teaching in a variety of ways, such as internet courses, webinars, and virtual classrooms. One of the main advantages of e-learning for coaching and teaching is the flexibility it offers. E-learning can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, making it convenient for students and coaches. Additionally, e-learning can be more cost-effective than traditional in-person coaching and teaching, as it eliminates the need for travel expenses. E-learning also allows for a wide range of multimedia resources, such as videos, audio recordings, and interactive activities, to be integrated into the curriculum, which can enhance the learning experience.

Zoom call with coffee
Photo by Chris Montgomery / Unsplash

Synchronous Learning

Synchronous electronic learning refers to classes that are conducted in real-time, where students and teachers interact in a virtual classroom at a pre-scheduled time. This approach is similar to traditional in-person classes, where students and teachers are in the same place at the same time. Asynchronous e-learning, on the other hand, refers to classes where students and teachers interact at different times. The student can access the class material and complete it at their own pace and schedule. This approach is more flexible and can be more beneficial for students who have busy schedules or are in different time zones.

A salesperson working in an office on a virtual call
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

Employee Training

In the context of employee training, e-learning can be used to provide employees with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job duties more effectively. E-learning can be accessed on-demand, making it convenient for employees to complete training at their own pace and schedule. Additionally, e-learning can be cost-effective for companies, as it eliminates the need for travel expenses and lost productivity due to employees being away from the office for training. E-learning also allows to track progress and test the employee's understanding. Some other types are :

  • Compliance Training
  • Customer Training
  • Partner Training
Photo by Jason Goodman / Unsplash

How to Deliver eLearning

E-learning platforms

There are many popular e-learning platforms available today, here are some examples:

  1. Cake: A free tool for synchronous and asynchronous electronic learning, sales and collaboration, that includes video & audio, interactive white boards and presentations.
  1. Coursera: Offers courses from top universities and organizations, with a wide range of subjects available.
  1. Udemy: A learning platform with a wide variety of courses taught by industry experts.
  1. Khan Academy: Provides a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
  2. LinkedIn Learning: Offers a wide range of business and technology courses, as well as professional development resources.
  3. FutureLearn: A learning platform with a wide range of courses offered by top universities and organizations.
  4. Codecademy: Focuses on teaching coding and web development.
  5. Skillshare: A community-based e-learning platform where students can take courses in a variety of subjects, including education, business, and technology.
  6. Duolingo: A language learning app that uses gamification to make learning fun and engaging.
  7. Treehouse: Focused on teaching web design, web development, and mobile development.

All of these platforms offer a wide range of courses on various subjects, some are free and some are paid, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.