What is Online Learning?

What is Online Learning?

Online learning, sometimes referred to as e-learning, describes courses delivered over the Internet via a Learning Management System (LMS) or other computer-based interfaces. An online course is a course in which all content delivery and interactions take place online. Other types of courses such as blended and flipped courses will include a combination of online engagement and face-to-face meetings.

In a traditional classroom, content is delivered to students occurs during face-to-face meetings, usually during a visual and verbal presentation or discussion. The online learning environment can be multimodal, leveraging technology applications and strategic interactions to deliver content and encourage student engagement.

Fully online courses date as far back as 1981 when the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute offered the first online college program (Ferrer, 2019). Many misconceptions about their efficacy and success still exist today. Fortunately, the research on learning online has kept pace with the improvements in technology so that online courses can be immersive, interactive and engaging learning spaces that provide the flexibility that some students want and need.