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What is Elearning?
Elearning is a term that refers to learning that is done with the help of computer technology. The "E" before the "learning" stands for "electronic" just like it does in the word "email". You may see the word elearning written as "E-Learning" or "eLearning" or other variations.

There are two basic types of elearning. The first is computer based training and the second is web based training. Computer based training usually refers to learning from a program or material that runs on a standalone computer or over a closed computer network. Classes for many topics are commercially available on CD and DVD and these are good examples of computer based training. Web based training uses the internet and does not usually require any special locally installed software.

When we talk about web based training, we are really talking about an exchange of information that occurs on and over the internet. Information exchange can take on many forms. For instance simple text on a website or an email sent back and forth involves information exchange. This broad definition is why many companies can say that they offer elearning by doing little more than allowing a student to access an online textbook or listen to an audio recording of a teacher's classroom session posted online. Just as information exchange can be relatively simple, it can also involve more advanced components like using virtual classrooms and video conferencing.

Generally speaking, there are two types of learning: asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous learning is when the exchange of information does not involve live interaction between teacher and student. Online text or even an email exchange are examples of asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning is when a teacher and student have a real-time connection and can interact with each other spontaneously as they might in a classroom. Chatrooms and video conferencing are examples of synchronous learning environments that are possible via the internet.

The main issue for elearning is that a live classroom is a very dynamic and spontaneous synchronous learning environment. Creating a suitable online substitute is a challenging endeavor, but with the right team and the right tools it can be done. Students should choose carefully when deciding if an elearning solution can provide all of the necessary tools required for them to successfully learn the desired subject.