Communication, collaboration, and engagement are fundamental building blocks of education. Institutions are continually striving to enhance these processes to maximize the dissemination of knowledge. Robust and reliable networks support and enrich student learning experiences. These networks deliver learning material in a wide range of formats. The learning materials include interactive activities, assessments, and feedback.
Courses delivered using network or Internet resources are often called online learning experiences, or e-learning.
The availability of e-learning courseware has multiplied the resources available to students many times over. Traditional learning methods provide primarily two sources of expertise from which the student can obtain information: the textbook and the instructor. These two sources are limited, both in the format and the timing of the presentation. In contrast, online courses can contain voice, data, and video, and are available to the students at any time from any place. Students can follow links to different references and to subject experts in order to enhance their learning experience. Online discussion groups and message boards enable a student to collaborate with the instructor, with other students in the class, or even with students across the world. Blended courses can combine instructor-led classes with online courseware to provide the best of both delivery methods.
Access to high quality instruction is no longer restricted to students living in proximity to where that instruction is being delivered. Online distance learning has removed geographic barriers and improved student opportunity.