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/Kerry Pascall What is eLearning?

'What does the word eLearning mean to you?’ this is one of my favourite questions to ask and indeed one I get asked to define a lot as well. Over the years, the definition, profile and understanding of eLearning has changed so many times, for a number of reasons: 

  • Changing and emerging technology (such as easy to use authoring tools for non-skilled developers)
  • The focus of encouraging self-development
  • Organisations embracing online learning especially for large audiences
  • The need to deliver consistent messages across the business in a cost effective manner.

Just a few examples of eLearning I've heard over the years are:

A PDF you can download
An e-book
A DVD/video
An audio file
A PowerPoint presentation
An animation
A quiz
An assessment
A web page
An online course
A platform
A game
A virtual classroom

eLearning developers, who have been through years of the eLearning evolution, probably suffer with a little technical snobbery and would fall about laughing if you said a downloadable PDF was eLearning. They would define traditional eLearning as an engaging, subject specific module or course with clear objectives and containing a mix of media - text, imagery, video, audio, animation, interactivity, games, tests and quizzes.

So who is right? I actually think it doesn't really matter; the key here is to understand what the business needs the user to learn and then determine how they want to receive that information. So when we, Bray Leino Learning, get asked to develop a product update for sales reps that are permanently on the road, we send a podcast to their phone. When’s it a request for developing something around new legislation which is complicated and must be delivered to the entire organisation, then we develop an interactive module with scenarios and assessments which can be tracked. And when we were asked to develop something for external global distributors, which was educational, fun and tested their knowledge on adopting a new sales process, we built an interactive game.

It’s all about learning electronically, so does it really matter if a downloadable PDF is referred to as 'eLearning'?

Let’s not get too hung up on the words.

To learn more about how Bray Leino Learning can help you implement relevant eLearning solutions for your organisation, click here.


Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning

In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pro’s and con’s, and general advice on everything eLearning!

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