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common eLearning man

Isn’t it amazing to think how far eLearning has come since the early 1990’s? It is truly remarkable how things have evolved so rapidly. When writing this post, I’ve been amazed how quickly technology is progressing and how it is starting to impact the methodology of content delivery. Without a doubt, eLearning is evolving for everyone. Hopefully, anyone reading this will see eLearning has made a lot of progress but still has a lot to improve upon (read my post about the eLearning Manifesto).

Having said that, let’s dive into the evolution of “common eLearning man” and how it has shaped the industry.

Beginning Stage of the eLearning Man

Between 1990-1999 is where the trend of virtual training started to emerge. With the development of personal home computers on the rise, it made it easier to learn about subjects and develop skills online. Information and eLearning opportunities began to grow as online environments become accepted. Almost immediately developers, organizations, and the “Common eLearning Man” began to adapt by creating eLearning content. Some content was converted/repurposed from textbooks to PDFs or interactive CD-Roms. Education began to adopt online courses because it helped to reduce the cost of face-to-face classes. But the “common eLearning man” became aware of the complications around development and costs for building eLearning programs with the digital landscape still in early development.

Notable advancements: 

– Personal home computers
– Online environments
– Repurposing content into digital formats
– Educational courses online

The Turn of the Millennium

The “common eLearning man” did not give up or become discouraged because of the advances in technology from 2000-2005. The turn of the millennium brought upgraded technologies, software, and methodologies. More people began using PowerPoint and Learning Management Systems (LMS). Ideas like the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), educational games, and hybrid courses were being adapted.  There was an increase of wireless access and search technologies like Yahoo and Google. Social networks and open source content were introduced and wildly accepted. During this time, PowerPoint became easier for the “common eLearning man” to repurpose slide presentations into online courses. The eLearning development process improved, but rapid development tools were in high demand.

Notable advancements: 

– Increase access to wireless
– Improved PowerPoint capabilities
– Scalable vector graphics
– Learning objects
– Educational games
– Social media networks
– eLearning Repositories

The Rapid eLearning Tools Era

From 2006-2010, rapid eLearning tools became the standard in the market. Rapid eLearning tools became accepted by many because of their “anyone can build” functionality. Organizations produced even more eLearning courses, giving the “common eLearning man” more work opportunities. Organizations for the first time were able to build eLearning without all of the overhead. Mobile technology and devices changed the way learning occurs. Mobile learning gained traction in the eLearning industry. More tools and technology were introduced to aid in the eLearning process.

Notable advancements:

– Podcasting/Personal Broadcasting
– iPhone, mobile phones, and mobile technology
– Educational Gaming
– Learning analytics
– Augmented reality
– User created content
– Virtual worlds
– Library digitization
– Online video
– Cloud computing
– eBooks
– Gesture-based computing
– Mobile learning

The Modern eLearning Man

From 2011 to the present day, more and more tools became available to us than ever before. Elearning authoring tools are more sophisticated and easy to use. New updates to the software occur almost yearly and with these changes comes more creative content opportunities. Meanwhile, the “common eLearning man” continually adapts to using these new technologies. Today, more content is being produced with faster turnover for eLearning courses. There is more to think about in the process than a decade ago. The future of the industry appears to be healthy and fit to grow with new ideas made possible by eLearning infrastructures.

Notable advancements:

– The Cloud
– Mobile apps
– Tablet computing
– Social online learning
– Better learning analytics
– Game based eLearning and gamification
– Adaptive learning
– Flipped classroom
– Wearable technology

The Future of eLearning

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see what new tools and ideas are introduced into the market. It appears more technology and methodologies will become a standard for the “common eLearning man”. What do you think the future of eLearning will look like? I encourage you to share your thoughts below.



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