E-learning services are evolving with computer-based activities now integrated with practical classroom-based situations. Different types of e-learning include using the Internet for teaching and learning; using classroom aids like making classroom lecture PowerPoints available to students through a course web site or learning management system; using laptop programs where students are required to bring laptops to class (see: Classroom Infrastructure) and use them as part of a face-to-face class; using hybrid learning in which classroom time is reduced but not eliminated with more time devoted to online learning; and using fully online learning as a form of distance education.
These classifications are somewhat similar to that of the Sloan Commission Reports on the status of e-learning, which refer to web enhanced, web supplemented and web depen dent to reflect increasing use of technology. It is often not clear which form of e-learning is being discussed. However when instructors say they are using e-learning this most often refers to the use of technology as classroom aids although there has been a gradual increase in full online learning.
Two popular tools for eLearning are Blackboard Inc. and Moodle. Blackboard has over 20 million users daily and offering six different platforms: “Blackboard Learn,” “Blackboard Collaborate,” “Blackboard Mobile,” “Blackboard Connect,” “Blackboard Transact,” and “Blackboard Analytics.” Blackboard’s tools allow educators to decide whether their program will be blended or fully online asynchronous (asynchronous learning uses online learning resources) or synchronous (synchronous learning is the not online synchronized coordination of events to operate a system in unison). Blackboard can be used for K-12 education, higher education, business, and government collaboration. Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System. It is free to download and provides blended-based learning (See: Blended-based Learning) opportunities as well as platforms for distance learning courses. The Moodle website has many tutorials for creating a program or becoming a Moodle student.