radioactive elements

What is eLearning?

Elearning is a learning delivery method by which content and activities are available in a digital format for learners.

Other Common Names

Other common names for elearning include:

  • Online learning
  • Virtual learning
  • Asynchronous online training
  • Web-based training (WBT)
  • Computer-based training (CBT)

Key Properties

Let’s identify some key properties of e-learning content:

  • Content accessed digitally
  • Can be synchronous (in real-time) or asynchronous (accessible on-demand)
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Some charged statements from What's Your Formula?

Whats Your Formula book
Order your copy to learn more about elearning and all of the related elements.

Elements that Bond with eLearning to Prevent Hulk-Like Reactions

To insulate your elearning design against harmful gamma rays that can turn your learners into the Incredible Hulk, ready to smash their keyboards in anger and frustration, you may wish to bond your e-learning initiative with one or more of the following elements:

measuring for effectivenessMeasuring for Effectiveness

There are many compliance focused e-learning courses littering LMSs at organizations around the world. Whether you’re generating a compliance course for a highly regulated industry or a module to build new knowledge or skills, measuring for effectiveness can help determine whether your investment in e-learning development was worth the effort.

adult learningAdult Learning

Integrating principles of adult learning— finding ways to activate prior knowledge, ensuring relevant content, and addressing an immediate learner problem—can help prevent multitasking during webinars and mindless clicking through standalone e-learning modules.


Using elements of gamification—such as weaving a narrative throughout your module, integrating interactions with subtle feedback systems (perhaps a score goes up or down based on decisions the learner makes), or unlocking new content only when learners achieve certain objectives, can bring learning to life and provide incentive for learners to want to come back to your LMS.

screen capture toolsScreen Capture

Have you ever been scrolling through an e-learning module or sitting through a PowerPoint presentation when you’ve come across a low-resolution or grainy photo? Screen capture tools like Snagit are inexpensive and help ensure your visual imagery is crisp and clear.

visual designVisual Design

Adhering to standard principles of good visual design can make a huge difference between a conventional snooze-fest of a learning experience and something that engages participants at first sight. Making decisions about consistent placement of navigation buttons, cartoon versus photo imagery, and the amount of text (including font size and placement on the screen) are all important considerations.

instructional designInstructional Design

Sometimes all someone needs is access to information in a place they can find it, when they need it. But if your goal is to help someone learn something, then simply uploading slides, resources, or documents to an LMS or lecturing at them in a webinar doesn’t make it e-learning. Bringing in sound principles of instructional design to ensure learner needs are being met, activating prior knowledge, and giving your learners an opportunity to explore and practice using your content are all key elements that put the learning into e-learning.


Bringing in short games that challenge learners to use the information you’ve presented can offer an engaging and entertaining way to reinforce key elements of your module.

Books on eLearning


Download the Element Sanity Check

Even if you haven’t yet purchased the book (what are you waiting for?!) you can get access to worksheets that will help guide you through the use of the elements of amazing learning experiences.