Defining ‘e-learning’ (and other terms)

Every now and then, a question comes up around the meaning of e-learning (and some other terms, such as flexible delivery, etc.). The resulting discussions can be interesting, as most people come at it from their point of view. Some equate it with ‘online learning’, others have quite a broad view. So how do we define such an ambiguous term?

One way is to look up a glossary. However, there are few of those, and as the rate of change around learning and technology increases, older meanings (as in a couple of years old or more) may not be as relevant. Have a look at the following glossaries:

Framework key terms (pdf) glossary

ASTD Learning Circuits Glossary

I think its OK for the term(s) to have varying meanings, as it’s not the term that counts, but how it affects the learner. Does it really matter if they are doing e-learning, blended learning or flexible delivery, if there needs are being met?

I know it does matter for some people. What definitions do you use? Do you have a source you view as authoritative? Let us know.


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