Skip Navigation
Center for Innovation in Teaching & Research
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

Section 1.1: Working Definition of E-Learning or Online Learning

For centuries, educators have provided distance education to learners (McVay & Rocker, 2007). The advent of the Internet transformed distance education into e-Learning, online learning, or any distance education delivered through a web-based system. William Horton provides a succinct working definition of e-learning: “E-learning is the use of information and computer technologies to create learning experiences” (Horton, 2006, p.1).

McVay and Roecker (2007) elaborate on this definition with the following addition, “E-learning is facilitated and supported through the use of information and communication technology, e-learning can cover a spectrum of activities from supported learning, to blended learning (the combination of traditional and e-learning practices), to learning that is entirely online” (p. 6). Learning is the critical element and objective regardless of the technology used.