Traditional educational methods have been with us for at least two thousand years. For centuries schools have been organized around the idea that the most effective way for people to learn things - at least academic things - is to have "teachers" imparting knowledge and insight to "students". In the last 100 years, at least in the western world, this has usually happened in a classroom setting with one teacher instructing several or many students.
Prior to the late 1800s when education was gradually taken over by the state in western societies, formal teaching was just as likely to happen in a one-on-one setting with one instructor or "tutor" teaching one student. Tutors were often hired by well-to-do families to educate their children while poorer children were left to fend for themselves.
Regardless of whether it took place in a one-on-one setting or in a classroom, the central idea was that the educational process required the physical presence of an instructor. The idea of self-directed learning has rarely been an option prior to the last 30 years or so.
Of course there have always been alternatives to this fairly rigid view of formal education. In fact teaching and learning theorists from as early as Plato have suggested other ways to approach the educational project.
One obvious way looks at how we learn things like walking and talking. Generally we learn these things through a process of experimentation, trial and error, and "doing", usually while being loosely guided by an instructor (usually a parent). This model suggests that education should be more active, more hands on, and that the instructor should be less of a lecturer and more of a facilitator: helping to set up "experiments" and real life situations where students can learn from trial and error.
Another educational technique that has existed forever is self-directed learning. This happens whenever a person teaches herself by taking the initiative to study a specific field on her own. For example, many successful musicians learn their craft without formal training, and even intellectual giants like Albert Einstein were, to some extent at least, self-taught.
Things have changed dramatically in the last 40 years. Since personal computers became part of our lives in the late 1970s and 80s, education gradually broke out of the traditional student-teacher mold and began adopting some of these alternative approaches in a serious way. As the power and sophistication of computers has grown and developed, the old landscape has changed in a major way. In many settings, new technologies have made it possible to replace the traditional instructor-student approach with pre-programmed courses based on self-directed learning and "learning by doing".
Early in its development, eLearning, or computer based learning (CBL), was viewed by most people as a way of cutting costs. At the same time many education experts, perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, claimed that elearning was a poor substitute for face to face learning situations.
The poor quality of early computerized courses didn't help, and the loss of teacher student interaction was considered by many experts as a significant problem with eLearning.
For a variety of very good reasons both the perception and the reality of eLearning and computer based training has changed significantly over the last thirty years or so. For one thing, course creation skills have greatly improved. Today's teachers and course designers have grown up with personal computers, and have mastered the use of presentation software and other powerful tools such as audio and video.
Of course the widespread use of the internet has helped make computer based training a reality too. Today there is no longer a need to set up classroom sessions for many training courses. It doesn't matter whether they are being offered by your employer, a trade association, or a university thousands of miles away. ELearning makes it possible to save time, money, and precious resources while freeing the people taking the courses to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
The custom eLearning solutions from ResourceBridge.net are always engaging, motivating and appropriate for your specific audience and culture. They are designed to ensure the highest quality of computer- or web-based training across your entire community of learners.