Current e-learning practice

I was asked, what areas would you recommend I focus on …  to illustrate  current e-learning practice?

If it were me, I would do a three-stage presentation:

- first, I’d show some COTS language-training and/or skills development software, typically what you can but from the computer store or download from an app store. The particular software doesn’t really matter – most people have heard of Rosetta Stone, that might be a start. I’d point out the strengths – self-management, self-pacing – but also the limitations of working from a CD or app on your computer.

- then I’d show an online course offered in an LMS such as Desire2Learn, Moodle or Blackboard from a college or university. Maybe something from the U of M. The idea here is to highlight the differences – point to the interactivity and discussion, the cohort-based timeline, etc. I'd talk about synchronous learning environments that are used, and maybe some offshoots, like gaming and simulations, or mobile computing.

- finally I’d show a MOOC or open online course. Being me, I’d probably show change11 but any MOOC would be OK. The idea here would be to show how MOOCs retain the interactivity and cohorts, but return some of the control over subject matter and format back to the student. Also the way MOOCs (or some MOOCs at least) incorporate social media such as Twitter, GGroups, blogs, etc. into the course materials. Also, I’d talk about price - $100 vs $1000 vs free

This would pretty much capture the domain.


  1. Thanks Stephen - a good overview of what is available out there. I wonder, however, where a blended learning approach falls in?

    While it may not fall within a traditional "e-learning" sphere I think that that the utilization of some of these tools within a classroom environment (or a once-in-a-while classroom environment) should also be considered e-learning.

    You may have already meant this type of learning when you referred to the synchronous learning environments of D2L or Blackboard, but I did want to ask about where we are defining the blended approach.


    Graeme Campbell
    VIU OLTD501


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