The term “elearning” has only been in existence since 1999, when the word was first utilized at a CBT systems seminar. Other words also began to spring up in search of an accurate description such as “online learning” and “virtual learning”. However, the principles behind elearning have been well documented throughout history, and there is even evidence which suggests that early forms of elearning existed as far back as the 19th century.
An elearning timeline
Long before the internet was launched, distance courses were being offered to provide students with education on particular subjects or skills. In the 1840′s Isaac Pitman taught his pupils shorthand via correspondence. This form of symbolic writing was designed to improve writing speed and was popular amongst secretaries, journalists, and other individuals who did a great deal of note taking or writing. Pitman, who was a qualified teacher, was sent completed assignments by his students via the mail system and he would then send them more work to be finished.
In 1924, the first testing machine was invented. This device allowed students to tests themselves. Then, in 1954, BF Skinner, a Harvard Professor, invented the “teaching machine”, which enabled schools to administer programmed instruction to their students. It wasn’t until 1960 however that the first computer based training program was introduced to the world. Continue reading