E-Learning: Will We One Day Lose the E?

Written by Gabe Anderson — Posted in E-Learning Industry

Tony posted a really interesting blog entry yesterday on something that’s been in the back of my mind for a long time: eLearning or Learning? – More to It. I’ve always thought that the “e” would eventually disappear.

Elearning: Engage in Presenter Screenshot

However, email’s been around much longer than elearning, and we’ve yet to drop the “e” from it. It does help to differentiate electronic mail from postal mail.

E-mail has pretty much become email. The World Web has become the Web or the web. People used to verbally convey the h-t-t-p colon slash-slash, w-w-w, dot, this-site-is-so-cool, dot-com when telling you to visit the latest new Web Site or website or Web page. These days we tend to truncate everything before the sitename.com.

When I started working in our industry in 1999, it was a very dignified capital E, capital L E-Learning, proper noun style, as if it were a city or a state or a friend. These days, though, it seems to be simply e-learning or elearning. Or sometimes even e-Learning.

In a former job at a major software company where I managed the launch of a global customer elearning program, we had meeting after meeting dedicated to deciding whether it was e-Learning or e-learning or elearning. We decided on e-Learning, and a quick visit to said employer’s site confirms that that’s what’s stuck.

Based on Google queries, e-learning (about 200,000,000 results) takes the cake over elearning (about 14,400,000 results) in 2007. So the world seems to like the hyphen.

Maybe it’s similar to the square-rectangle relationship — all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares — in that all elearning is learning, but not all learning is elearning.

Or is it all just semantics?

I may have changed my mind about elearning one day becoming learning. It always has been learning, but elearning is how we create and share that learning — with tools like Presenter, Quizmaker, and Engage.

1 response to “E-Learning: Will We One Day Lose the E?”


Great article. You raise some interesting points.

I always liked that Elliot Masie said that the “e” in e-learning stood for “experience.” It’s the learners’ experience we’re designing and trying to maximize. Maybe we should keep the “e,” and use it as a reminder to focus on the experience.

Claudia // Posted at 9:07 am on June 5th, 2007

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