A brief history of elearning

A brief history of elearning

From courses via email to virtual platforms, elearning solutions have rapidly evolved. Let’s see how the revolution has taken place.

The recent explosion in elearning is the result of a series of innovations over the last two decades. Thanks to technical inventions in the 1990s, elearning has been popularised in recent years through the development of a new business model.

Digital innovation in the 1990s

The spread of the Internet triggered the development of elearning. From the invention of the first emails, pioneers used the medium to exchange knowledge.

The first higher education institute to offer an online curriculum was CALCampus, created in 1994. Shortly after, the University of Virginia Beach issued its first Ph.D through courses delivered entirely via email.

Webcam, another technical innovation of the decade, profoundly changed the nature of the relationship between teachers and students. Enabling courses to be followed in real time, its gradual democratisation facilitated dialogue and interactivity.

The 2000s: from free models to conquest by business

In the 2000s, thanks to the lower cost of hardware and the free software revolution, elearning became more democratic. Open-source elearning solutions were developed. Collaborative learning has gradually since become commonplace in universities and within large businesses. In addition to MOOCs, which have attracted widespread interest and are regularly in the news, elearning is now entering the world of business with solutions such as those offered by Dokeos. The market for professional elearning is undergoing rapid expansion, currently doubling every two years, especially in Asia. More than 40% of the 500 largest companies now use elearning to train their employees. In the future elearning will be an essential component of training.

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