Is the Term ‘eLearning’ Going to Become Extinct?

Category: eLearning Published on 22 May, 2007 Tags:

I read a post yesterday over at the Learning Technologies blog that notes an interesting change in terminology in the eLearning world. The blog cites an article from Chief Learning Officer magazine that discusses recent changes to the E-Learning Industry Group in Europe. According to the article:

The E-Learning Industry Group is now the European Learning Industry Group, a change that reflects a shift within the organization itself, as well as within the learning industry.

“The term ‘e-learning’ has been overused,” said Joe Hegarty, Intel Innovation Centres director of business operations. “Technology is now clearly embedded in all modern learning solutions.”

Jay Cross alluded to this change in terminology in a recent comment to an eLearning Weekly article.

I’m ok with this change as long as we come up with a way to describe the skill sets of individuals (like myself) who contribute to learning systems in a much more technical way. For example, should and instructional designer and an eLearning programmer both be classified using a generic term such as “learning specialist?” I would hope not. And I want to be clear: I’m not hung up on titles. I’m just looking for a clear way to understand peoples’ roles in training and development.

It’s also a compliment to the eLearning industry if the term ‘eLearning’ becomes extinct. This indicates that technology-based learning solutions have officially become accepted and approved as a viable option.

Maybe we should approach it like this: The term ‘eLearning’ should only be used to classify an individual’s skill set. He/She is an eLearning Specialist. When we plan a training event, we should talk about learning in general instead of assuming a technology-based solution is necessary (eLearning). And if a learning experience utilizes a significant amount of technology, you bring in an eLearning specialist. How’s that?

B.J. Schone

Author: B.J. Schone

B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.


  • ghegenbart
    May 25, 2007 6:01 pm   Reply

    I’ve thought the term eLearning has been dead for a long time. I only use it because people know what it means. In my mind it’s always been an aspect of training and I somewhat resented it being categorized as something different.

    I never thought about the how to describe my skill set if the term eLearning is dead, but I do like your idea. It’s sort of like a musician. That’s a pretty generic term, like ‘training specialist’, but violinist is pretty specific and is a much better indicator of skills and abilities. Every musician can read music (presumably) but a violinist doesn’t necessarily play harmonica. Different specialties in the same discipline.

  • Donald Clark
    December 10, 2008 5:00 pm   Reply

    Meaning is use – since when did Intel become the language police. Some people are operating way above their station. Of course the term is not dead.

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