SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

All Posts

10 Great Moments in eLearning History

describe the imageeLearning didn't happen overnight. It's a product of years of human ingenuity and innovation. There are moments in history that contribute to the inevitable birth of eLearning. So in an effort to weave a story of how eLearning came to be, here are some bits of history worth recalling.

1. Early 1980s: The Introduction of Personal Computers

The early prototypes were, of course, crude versions of our current personal computers. Those were all read-only technologies, Web 1.0 as people call it. A major breakthrough took place in 1984 when Apple's Macintosh computer was introduced. It was first to offer better graphical and text support. Its unique mouse input also revolutioned how users interact with the machine.

The Macintosh, with its free HyperCard program, also helped a generation of tech-savvy teachers make their own software and tutorials for students. Commercial software companies were quick to develop computer-based educational materials and learning games as well. 

2. 1990: The Development of Multimedia PC

The Multimedia PC (MPC) came with a CD-ROM drive, meaning that the device can display video synced with audio. Alongside CD-ROMs came Microsoft Powerpoint, a modern presentation software quickly embraced by lecturers, executives, teachers and students.

It's important to note how the MPC relaxed the learning barrier for students. Using a multimedia computer, they were able to utilize video, audio, graphics and animation programs so that they can better interact with the computer's interface. 

It was also during the early 90s that many schools that deliver online-only courses were established. The future of the Internet as an education medium became certain.

3. 1999: The Word eLearning was Born

In November 1999, Elliott Masie coined the word "eLearning" at his TechLearn Conference at Disneyworld. It was the first time that the term was used in a professional context. Others in the industry have already used the term "online learning," which basically points to the same concept.

The term has always been used to refer to learning using the web or any other electronic medium. Professionals consider it as a type of distance learning since students are able to access materials and complete learning tasks even outside the classroom.

4.  Early 2000s: The Dot Com Boom 

The World Wide Web became mainstream, thanks to investors throwing money at anything web-related between1995 and 2000. CD-ROMs quickly became a thing of the past.

During this time, a number of sophisticated technologies significantly boost the progress of eLearning.  Here are some of them:

  • Increased bandwidth for faster and much improved multimedia content.
  • High-speed Internet technologies including broadband and wireless LANs  for faster connections.
  • Bluetooth for short-range connectivity to devices such as phones and printers improved browser technologies for better user experience.

All of these made it possible for organizations to train employees using eLearning. Individuals eager to expand their skill sets and widen their knowledge base also turned to the Internet online degrees and free educational programs.

5. 2004: The Ascendancy of Web 2.0

Yes, the Web 2.0 as we all know it was introduced only a decade ago. The term was first coined by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 in her article "Fragmented Future." But it wasn't until 2004 that the term took wing when pen-source advocate Tim O'Reilly promoted the idea at the O'Reilly Media Conference.

From the read-only environment of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 promises a two-way conversation where users can contribute, collaborate and create through several platforms like social media, blogs, wikis and forums. Web 2.0 emphasizes on how we learn—how we interact with content online. 

6. 2005: The Rise of Flash Video

In 2005, Adobe bought Macromedia and transformed it into Adobe Flash. It took of way too quickly, like a rocket. Developers who worked with it discovered just how flexible Flash is. 

Flash didn't require a lot of bandwidth as older methods would have used. So it enabled users to embed and play back video easier and faster than before. Flash became an animation and authoring tool overnight, a tool so crucial at creating multimedia content.

The same year brought us YouTube, arguably the world's most visited site for uploading or watching videos online.

7. 2008: The Beginning of the Mobile Web

The mobile web started just a few years ago. Smartphones were introduced, Internet-enabled tablets came next, and you probably have witnessed the rest of the story. People in the office or at school has to have a mobile device. We modern-day, tech-savvy users expect that from everyone. 

It's worth noting how Apple's iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad lines helped transform the way developers create educational software, the way teachers teach and the way students learn. 

The era of the mobile web has not ended yet. It's only just begun. Experts suggest that mobile-enabled Internet access will eventually overtake desktop access by 2015. 

9. 2010: The Reign of HTML5

No other emerging technology has changed the way we interact with content online than HTML5. This latest evolution of HTML, supplemented by CSS3 and JavaScipt, opened up a host of game-changing features:

  • Compatibility with modern devices and browsers means wider user reach and device-agnostic eLearning content.
  • Ability to detect device means content tailored to fit a learner's preferred device.
  • Ability to embed a rich media experience makes it a viable alternative to Flash, which not all mobile devices support.

10) 2013: The Introduction of Tin Can API 

Released on April 26, 2013, Tin Can API is the lastest version of SCORM tasked to solve many issues that plague the older versions.

Since it's ready for adoption, eLearning experts highly recommend Tin Can API to accomplish the following:

  • Removal of the need for a browser
  • Mobile learning 
  • team-based learning
  • cross-domain functionality
  • simulations or serious games

Winning eLearning

Click me
Karla Gutierrez
Karla Gutierrez
Karla is an Inbound Marketer @Aura Interactiva, the developers of SHIFT. ES:Karla is an Inbound Marketer @Aura Interactiva, the developers of SHIFT.

Related Posts

The Key Components of a Learner-Friendly eLearning Course

It's so easy to assume the content is all that matters in an eLearning course. But, how information is presented affects its effectiveness. The design, for instance, influences how students interact with information. Think about one of your existing eLearning course designs: Is it too cluttered? Or is it designed to properly guide learners toward clear goals? 

  • 6 min read
  • Wed, Sep 22, 2021 @ 05:55 PM

How to Turn Your Employees into Lifelong Learners

A fat paycheck? Yes, but not always. The corner office within the next five years? Yes sure, but what about now? 401(k) plan. Health and dental insurance. Paid vacation. Well, these would be nice. What do you think is the single biggest factor that motivates employees to recommend their company as THE place to work for young, ambitious people? According to Bersin by Deloitte’s research with Glassdoor, learning, and career opportunities are accorded the highest priorities by employees. Clearly, employees know that in an ever-changing and volatile workplace, there is only ONE way to make oneself indispensable. Keep growing. Keep learning. Innovate consistently. Employees have not failed to learn from the examples around them. Companies like Yahoo,  BlackBerry, Blockbuster failed to keep up with the times. The result: they continued to lag till the day when they were forced to give up. Innovation is the game-changer. It is true not only for organizations but also for individuals. This is why companies are able to lure valuable employees away from their rivals with the promise of training opportunities. As an HR or training professional, you have to keep your employees interested in working for the company by providing them with ample learning opportunities. They need to improve their skills, increase productivity, and be on top of their game, so your business can out-innovate its rivals, tide over disruptions, and respond to market changes.

  • 13 min read
  • Wed, Sep 15, 2021 @ 04:44 PM

Don't Frustrate Your Learners! 7 Rules for Creating User-Friendly eLearning

What if the secret to life existed but was locked in a box that no one could open? Well, you’d pretty much just have a box, wouldn’t you? And that is also what you have when you design an eLearning course without taking usability into consideration. It matters little how relevant information in a course might be if your audience can’t access that information. While engaging students and making sure content is entirely covered are critical parts of course success, it is just as important to go through and make sure your user interface (UI) ducks are in a row. Taking the time to go through and check for user-friendliness will help ensure that your students don’t lose out just because the course is difficult to navigate. Keep in mind that an eLearning course often isn’t a choice for most people. They are taking this because they have to and will have little patience for guesswork. Make it clear what the user needs to do in order to advance in the course. Learning is difficult enough without the added annoyance of having to hunt for what to click on.