These studies offer proof that there has, since the very emergence of distance education, been a need to create a common frame of reference for it.An agreement on how to define e-learning could help research and researchers go forward in identifying models and practices for applying e-learning and in determining the key factors for better and more effective use of this type of teaching and learning: “There is a pressing requirement to understand better the nature of e-learning, as an educational innovation, and to evolve contextually derived frameworks for change which align with organisational culture and practice” (Rossiter, 2007, p. The challenge of finding a single, inclusive definition of e-learning is the starting point for this study. 91) stated, an inclusive definition is “a broader definition that encompasses a wider spectrum of the concept and can cope with the complexity of its representation/characteristics.” The main aim of this study was to create an inclusive definition of e-learning that would be accepted by the majority of the scientific community and would also define the boundaries for future activity in this sector.This category considers e-learning to be a communication, interaction, and collaboration tool and assigns secondary roles to its other aspects and characteristics.Representative examples of these definitions, which come mostly from the academic and communication sectors, include the following.
The different understandings of e-learning are conditioned by particular professional approaches and interests.
This paper presents the outcomes of the project, which has resulted in an inclusive definition of e-learning subject to a high degree of consensus that will provide a useful conceptual framework to further identify the different models in which e-learning is developed and practiced.
Keywords: E-learning; definition; distance education; technology-enhanced education In recent decades, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for educational purposes has increased, and the spread of network technologies has caused e-learning practices to evolve significantly (Kahiigi et al., 2008).
The evolution of distance education, as a result of new technologies and the contributions of computer scientists to the field of education along with the conceptualisation of education as a lifelong process, poses a major challenge for educational institutions: how to integrate these technologies into their organisation and, especially, into their teaching.
From simple occasional use of ICT to reinforce face-to-face teaching and learning to the use of virtual environments for courses conducted completely online according to a variety of educational models, the incorporation of ICT into the learning process is being achieved from very different perspectives and through an extensive range of formulas, albeit with one common denominator: the use of practices whose origin and pedagogical foundations lie in distance education.