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1 Where Does E-Learning Begin and End? E-Learning Defined j. lecavalier & associates inc. e-learning design strategy coaching research Definitions of e-learning abound. Some are very narrow, while others encompass a broad range of interventions involving not only training, but also online documentation, performance support and knowledge management. Given the introductory nature of this guide, we will use a simple and relatively narrow definition: E-learning refers to structured, computer-enabled learning carried out by individuals or groups outside of a physical classroom, over the Internet or an internal network. Three Main Categories of E-Learning Using the above definition, e-learning materials and activities can be divided into three main categories. The following definitions appear in the glossary at the end of this guide as well: Self-Paced E-Learning This is the type of e-learning frequently referred to as Web-based training (formerly computerbased training). It encompasses a wide range of technology-based learning products, from online tutorials and exams/assessments to sophisticated simulations, using media ranging from simple text and graphics to audio and video. The image below is an example of a simple but effective exercise from an online course for parents adopting across cultures. A practice question from the Conspicuous Families course (Adoption Learning Partners)

2 On their own, online information, documentation or reference tools (including most Web sites) are not e-learning. What distinguishes self-paced e-learning from these types of tools is, simply put, active involvement of the learner with the content. This is achieved through practice, assessments and instructionally sound design. Unfortunately, there are still many who try to pass off "page turners" and online PowerPoint presentations as e-learning. We consider that online information. As we mention below in our discussion of blended learning, online reference and performance support can be an effective complement to e-learning programs. For example, it is good practice in some competency areas to include practice exercises that require learners to use online reference tools which will also be used on the job. This is one way to more closely integrate learning with work. Live E-Learning Live, or synchronous, e-learning refers primarily to instructor-led learning that brings learners together in real time over the Internet. Examples of live e-learning include virtual classes, online chat and application sharing to support group projects, and Web-based lectures and conferences. Interwise's participant interface for live online seminars (graphics in the content frame are the property of The Natural Step). Live e-learning requires less content preparation than the other forms of e-learning but is more demanding in terms of planning and logistics. Mostly, this type of learning takes place over synchronous communications platforms such as Centra, Interwise, LearnLinc, PlaceWare and others.

3 Online Collaborative Learning This refers to group learning in which exchanges among instructors and learners occur with a time delay (i.e., not in real time), and usually over more than one day. Some examples include online discussions, forums, debates or seminars, polling exercises, group research or design projects, Internet communications with mentors or experts, some multi-user games and "blogging." While online collaborative learning can be a powerful strategy, it requires significant effort and commitment from learners. Regardless, its applications in corporate and nonprofit e-learning are growing in number and sophistication. The work of Wisdom Tools Inc., is an excellent example of its use in both these sectors. This custom content developer and spin-off of Indiana University's Center for Excellence in Education has used its collaborative e-learning platform to address many challenging learning goals. On this page are excerpts from one program helping Bloomington community members deal with their confusion surrounding a series of hate crimes which occurred in (See example below, continued on following page)

4 Example of rich, scenario-based collaborative learning (from A Community Response to Hate, by Wisdom Tools Inc.).

5 Online reference and performance support tools Though not strictly included in our definition of e-learning because of their focus on task completion rather than learning, online reference and performance support tools are frequent additions to the blended learning mix. Online documents and tools are part of Forum EMPRESA's learning blend. The Magic Is in the Blend Of course, several forms of e-learning can coexist in a single training course or even within a small module. Much of the talk in the e-learning industry these days is about the methods and benefits of blending various types of e-learning with each other, with face-to-face classroom learning, and with online reference, performance support or knowledge management components. Some of the best examples of professional development and organizational learning are carefully blended programs that use each delivery method to its best advantage. One example covered in this report is the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving's Financial Management program, which linked classroom workshops to an online learning course. Another example is IBM's awardwinning Basic Blue management development program.

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