What is eLearning?



Other sources: magazines, events, zines, white papers, conferences


The eLearning FAQ

SmartForce, Learn Fast, Go Fast, pdf (11/99)
Disclosure: SmartForce is an Internet Time Group client..

Learning on Internet Time, our presentation at Web Training (11/00)

eLearning from Different Viewpoints, Internet TIme Group for SmartForce (1999)


"eLearning" is a vision of what corporate training can become. Its hallmarks are:

  • learning on Internet-age steroids: often real-time, 24/7, anywhere, anytime
  • learner-centered, personalized to the individual & customized to the organization
  • network-assisted, often assembling learning experiences on the fly
  • a blend of learning methods -- virtual classroom, simulation, collaboration, community, even classroom...
  • the whole learning enchilada, from assessment through testing and sometimes certification
  • online administration -- handling registration, payment and charge-backs, and monitoring learner progress



According to Jay Cross, information architect of Internet Time Group, "eLearning" is the target model for corporate training in the next three to five years. It will be a key survival skill for corporations and free agent learners and is a convergence of:

  • loosely organized corporate ecologies
  • a business climate of permanent white water
  • technological advances, including high-speed broadband networks
  • a shift of power and responsibility from organizations to individuals
  • emergent best practices, from performance support to training to knowledge management.

Says Cross, "Successful leaders inspire members of their organizations to work smarter. Collaboration, learning portals, and skill snacks have replaced Industrial-Age training. The Web is revitalizing personalized learning and meaningful apprenticeship. Learning is merging with work."

Here's what lies ahead in our not-too-distant training future, according to Cross:

  • personal software agents that crawl the Web to screen and feed information to personal portals
  • connected gadgets and gizmos that simplify (and complicate) our lives
  • plug-and-play training modularity
  • learning standards that create interchangeable, Lego-like objects that slash costs and development time
  • personal files and programs that run directly from the Internet.

More info www.intemettime.com

Training & Development, November 1999

Bryan Chapman's Through the Eyes of Visionaries

History of Education

L3: Lebenslanges Lernen -- Weiterbildung als Grundbedürfnis" ist das Projekt eines Konsortiums von rund 20 Firmen unter der Führung des CEC Karlsruhe, dem europäischen Forschungszentrum der SAP AG.

Fast Company on Learning (10/00)

Learning 101 "Learn how learning is changing, how you can promote learning, and how you can become a better learner." Sixteen luminaries. A fast read. On target.

Cisco's Quick Study "Democratizing the creation of content does not imply total freedom in how Cisco distributes it. One of [Tom] Kelly's favorite slogans is, 'Content is king, infrastructure is God' -- and there's absolutely no question who gets to play God. 'We've decentralized content development back to the subject-matter experts,' Kelly says. 'But we've centralized deployment. We've told people, "You have the knowledge, but we give you easy access to the audience." People have to use our tools in order to reach our audience. That approach gets us the most impact.'"

Will Companies Ever Learn? "Learning has got to be connected directly to the business," says Judy Rosenblum, former chief learning officer at Coca-Cola. "The idea is to stay away from a standard 'learning program.' Instead, learning needs to be embedded in processes, projects, and experiences. If you put your energy into people who are ready and willing to join you, and if those people add value to the business, others will come."

Get Smart Online, UpsideToday Special Report (4/00)

"Training is moving online for the same reason that companies attempted outsourcing 10 years ago," says Gartner Group analyst Clark Aldrich. "Not because it's better but because it's cheaper and more measurable." There are technical barriers to implementation, some of which are overcome by outsourcing. Pressures for eLearning include demands for global reach, reduced time to market, flexibility, just-in-time learning, and cost savings. Even with the right internal systems in place, companies often find it challenging to navigate such a young market to find the right fit. The metrics are murky.

Online Learning Needs to Get Back on Course, Forrester (8/00). A primer on where all this is headed.

eLearning: Rhetoric vs Reality, Gautam Ghosh

Embedded help
Performance Support
Knowledge Mgmt-Based JUST IN TIME
Classroom replication Immersive Solutions JUST IN CASE

Looking Back from the Future, Internet Time Group (10/99)

Learning Portals, Internet Time Group (7/99)

The eLearning Manifesto, Internet Time Group (11/99)
Spoiler: This is not a "real" article. Noting the similarities between eLearning and eBusiness, we took a Big 5 white paper and substituted "learner" for "customer," "learning" for "business," etc. One eLearning publication sought to publish the piece in their inaugural issue.

What is eLearning?, Internet Time Group presentation for Silicon Valley eLearning Forum

The Internet Time Machine, Learning in 2004, Internet Time Group (11/98), TechLearn presentation

Into the Future, a Vision Paper by Wayne Hodgins (2/2000)
for ASTD and NGA. In HTML, not pdf.

The Power of the Internet for Learning, "the Kerrey Report" (12/2000), its Table of Contents

Cisco eLearning, eLearning glossary, and quotations
Disclosure: Cisco Systems is an Internet Time Group client.

Peter Drucker on Internet learning, Forbes (5/2000)

The "e" in eLearning Stands for Experience (Elliott Masie)
& The "e" is for Elephant (response by Jay)

Championing e-Learning by Brooke Broadbent (2001). 10 Advantages of e-learning for learners, Seven advantages of e-learning for instructors, Five advantages of e-learning for instructional developers, Five advantages of e-learning for administrators.

The Future of Online Learning by Stephen Downes (7/98), a classic

In Educating Wall Street on e-learning (6/00), W.R. Hambrecht's Trace Urdan identifies five success factors for B2B eLearning companies:

Brand In an immature market, a strong brand is the most important factor in determining fundamental value and long-term success.

Interactivity Regardless of price, if it doesn't improve training effectiveness, e-learning will fail.

Scalable Model High quality Web-based training courses are expensive and time-consuming to develop. ...market participants who license their solutions to organizations in volume, deploy a course delivery platform capable of supporting millions of users, and utilize multiple, effective distribution channels should achieve economies of scale.

Global Reach The large Fortune 1000 corporations targeted by nearly every e-learning player want to find ways to unite their globally distributed workforces.

Complete Offering Customers are struggling to make sense of the range of e-learning products and features, including IT and soft skills content, learning management systems, authoring tools, and live classroom tools. In this early stage of the e-learning market's development, customers prefer one vendor that can offer the best of these features.


Getting Started with Online Learning, Macromedia (11/00), "designed to help authors create learning applications that succeed."

An Overview of Online Learning is an encyclopedic outline of online technology and processes. Prepared as background for participants of Online Learning conferences.

eLearning for Sales Results, Aberdeen Learning Solutions

Web Based Training Information Center

Education focus

Internet Time's Universities page

New York Times: Education article archive
Lucent Center for Excellence in Distance Learning
New Horizons For Learning -- wealth of research on education; see "Adult Learning" topic
Learn At A Distance, Online learning is poised to become the new standard, by Judith N. Mottl (1999), Information Week
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Distance Learning, in depth
Distance Learning Resource Network
Office of Educational Technology
, Department of Education
Online Education News Archives, Illinois Online Network
The Encyclopedia of Educational Technology
Videoconferencing for Learning

Learning is tolerated only when it affects immediate performance. This attitude, of course, ultimately undercuts performance since even optimal performance can't be maintained unless people keep learning.

"Learning to Learn," W. Timothy Gallwey

A Nation of Opportunity, an 84-page report + videos of hearings + an eHandbook + several white papers, all brought to you by The 21st Century Workforce Commission, an independent commission appointed by the President and Congress. The topic is IT Training. Like too many commissions on big topics, this group chose to present a smorgasbord of recommendations so broad that no participant will feel left out. If you forgot that there's a new economy, that IT plays a big role, and that there's a shortage of qualified IT workers, the commission's final report will remind you.

Less would have been more. My takeaways were (1) let's make IT career paths more explicit, (2) here are a few projects that appear to be working, (3) here and about halfway down this report are what's going on outside of the U.S.

Why would anyone put 100+ pages of reference material up on the Web in .pdf and without a Search engine?

© 2003 Internet Time Group, Berkeley, California