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What Is E-Learning?

What Is E-Learning

Date First Published: 1st February 2024

Topic: Computer Networking

Subtopic: Network Services

Computer Terms & Definitions

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty Level: 3/10

Learn about what e-learning is in this article.

Short for electronic learning, e-learning is a type of learning that takes place electronically over the internet. Digital resources, such as presentations and educational videos are used in e-learning. For example, colleges and universities may allow students to submit assignments and complete tests online, providing a paperless environment for students to learn and ensuring that teachers can keep track of who has submitted assignments and tests.

Online classes are usually administered by an accredited teacher who may give live or recorded lectures that students can watch online. The teacher also grades students' assignments and is available to answer individual questions.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of E-learning

The advantages of e-learning are:
  • Reduced costs. With e-learning, there is no cost of the space, infrastructure, and maintenance of physical facilities with learners online.
  • It is more flexible. Learners can study where and when they want to and can learn at their own pace. This allows them to fit learning around other commitments and their personal life.
  • It eliminates the need for learners to travel long distances to classrooms, reducing student's and teacher's carbon footprints. This makes e-learning useful when teaching students in different locations.
  • Learners can access a wide range of courses, giving them the ability to learn all kinds of skills that may not be available in their area.
The disadvantages of e-learning are:
  • Learners must be very self-motivated as the responsibility for completing their work is on them. There isn't a teacher there that can directly monitor other students.
  • Learners often rely on their own devices and internet connection to attend online classes and complete assignments. Staying connected requires the right devices and internet access which not all students might have.
  • Lack of transparency. The quality and credibility of the content or teacher is not always clear. This is especially true on free and easily accessible e-learning platforms.
  • Online course qualifications may not be accredited. An online degree from an unaccredited college or university would be essentially worthless.

Examples Of E-learning Platforms

Examples of e-learning platforms include:

  • Social media - Social media brings communities of learners together and allows them to share e-learning content. For example, Facebook users can create groups to share information and ideas and members can communicate with each other. YouTube also allows users to access educational content for free and comment on the videos.
  • MOOCs - These are made available through online learning platforms, such as Coursera and edX to large groups of people over the internet. Users can log into the website and sign up for a given course. Other platforms, such as Udemy and Skillshare, are similar to MOOCs in that they are available online and are available to large groups of learners. However, they charge users and focus more on practical engagement with material, such as lectures.


The most common spelling is "e-learning" with the hyphen, but "elearning" without the hyphen is also used. This term is also not a proper noun, so it does not need to be capitalised unless it appears at the beginning of a sentence.


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