eLearning vs Online Learning: What’s the Difference?

Neha Uddin
Children at school | eLearning vs online learning

In addition to in-person learning, today’s education has progressed to offer a variety of options, including eLearning and online learning. 

Similarly, varieties of terms connected to online and distance learning have also evolved in the wake of them becoming more established learning pathways. Online and distance learning platforms have evolved to include features such as Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Application Programming Interface (APIs), and Massive Open Online Course (OLX) among others. Such terms signify different features attributed to online and distance learning methods and tools. As such, deciding on a course becomes easier once you understand what each type of learning offers. So let’s take a look at eLearning vs online learning- 

What is eLearning?  

eLearning, also known as home-based learning, is when students learn through electronic media and online portals or platforms. As such, students and teachers can use eLearning in the classroom, and employees can use it in professional settings such as the workplace too. 

Likewise, eLearning can be CD-ROM-based or Internet-based. It contains materials students go through on their own, such as text, pre-recorded audio and video, animation, slides, documents, and quizzes. Indeed, it is an independent, self-paced, and hands-on way of learning. Hence, if students have any questions or doubts, they can post their queries on online forums or email their teachers to have their queries answered, or ask the teachers themselves if the teachers are conducting a class with the help of eLearning materials.  

Similarly, the structure is rather rigid and standard. There are no varied materials that teachers can personalize for individual students as they are pre-recorded. All students, therefore, receive the same materials.

What is Online Learning? 

Online learning, on the other hand, refers to learning with the use of the internet. In online learning, the internet and the online learning platform are key elements. As such, virtual platforms enable live lectures, assignments, and tests during online learning. 

Besides, unlike the pre-recorded materials of eLearning, online learning enables interaction between teachers and students. In fact, instructors can use eLearning materials in online learning as well. For example, teachers can use pre-recorded videos or audio to teach an online class.   

Similarly, while eLearning does not require teachers and students to be online at the same time, lessons during online learning are conducted in real-time. As such, students and teachers can communicate through the online platform via audio, video, or/and interactive whiteboard features. 

Moreover, in this method, the online learning platform is crucial. Now, you might be wondering, “Can teachers use Zoom or Google Meet to conduct online classes?” Well, yes, but such mediums are not effective for learning as they are not equipped with the necessary features.  

Online Learning Platforms though, are equipped with Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS) that help teachers and students conduct classes and learn respectively. Furthermore, developers equip online learning platforms, such as Fuse Classroom, with tools and features that facilitate efficient interactions between teachers and students to ensure hassle-free and productive results. Fuse Classroom is even integrated with Zoom, allowing teachers to conduct online live classes.   

eLearning vs Online Learning – Differences

While people use both eLearning and online learning interchangeably, there are many differences that separate the two.  

eLearning Online Learning 
Teachers do not conduct live lectures, but provide students with materials and/or pre-recorded video lectures Unlike eLearning, Live lessons conducted during Online Learning 
Students go through learning materials themselves On the contrary, teachers guide students during online lessons
eLearning enables students to go through video lectures, quizzes or tests anytime  On the other hand, both teacher and student should be present at the same time for online learning lessons
Students go through pre-recorded video lectures, slides, and notes independently in eLearning In online learning, however, teachers guide students and explain learning materials along the way
Students doing eLearning post questions on an online forum/discussion board/email their teachers Students during online learning can ask questions during live lessons on the spot instead of having to wait for answers in a forum
Conclusively, the learning structure for eLearning is rather rigid as the learning material is the same for all students On the contrary, teachers can customize lessons during online learning based on students’ learning habits, strengths, and weaknesses

To conclude, the success of online studies depends on the teaching environment. On the whole, lesson planners and administrators should design online learning programs to make better use of the real potential of digital technology. It should also enhance the learning experiences through innovative approaches. Likewise, students should also decide between one type or the other depending on their learning style, overall interests, and commitments. 

You can also read our previous blog that details how teachers can increase student engagement during online learning: How to Increase Engagement in Online Learning.