• Directory of Internet terms
  • E-learning — E-learning (electronic learning) has become a buzzword in recent years, but it is widely misunderstood and often associated with a limited view of e-learning. Ask a dozen people what they understand by e-learning and most will probably say that it involves using a computer to access materials on the Web or to follow a distance-learning course using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here is the definition given in the UK government's consultation document Towards a unified e-learning strategy, July 2003: If someone is learning in a way that uses Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), they are using e-learning. They could be a pre-school child playing an interactive game; they could be a group of pupils collaborating on a history project with pupils in another country via the Internet; they could be geography students watching an animated diagram of a volcanic eruption their lecturer has just downloaded; they could be a nurse taking her driving theory test online with a reading aid to help her dyslexia - it all counts as e-learning. In other words, this is a catch-all definition relating to the use of ICT in teaching and learning: if you are using a computer to learn something then you are using e-learning. The whole of the ICT4LT website is, therefore, in this sense all about e-learning in the context of teaching and learning foreign languages, and this is one reason why you will not find a section headed specifically E-learning in the ICT4LT modules. Because of a lack of agreement on what e-learning is all about, it probably makes sense to use the term Online Learning when talking generally about distance learning on the Internet and to use CALL as a catch-all term for the use of ICT in language teaching and learning. See also Blended Learning, Distance Learning, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). See the entry under E-learning in Section 1, Module 1.1, headed Definitions of terms.