In the last years, with the appearance of new information technologies, the code "e" has been used to talk about to all the activities related to computer science and electronic format.
Internet has revolutionized the distance education at all levels. It has appeared elearning or virtual education, as a new way of learning, complementary to classroom teaching and as substitute of the present education.
E-learning has a lot of definitions, possibly because there isn’t a single type of elearning.
A general definition shows the "learning" made by means of WEB technologies, or through an preinstalled software in a computer with multimedia capacity, either in an asynchronic way (separated student and source on time: autoformation), or in a synchronic way (connected student and source in real time, a "virtual class ").
Traditionally distance education has been asynchronic (teacher and students learning in different places and in different times). The newness introduced with information and communication technologies (TIC) has brought the possibility of developing a synchronic formation, in which teachers and students listen, read and can be seen,
independently if they are in different places.
E-learning is an auto- assisted learning system. The student will be able to assimilate knowledge, which "is dictated" by a program, by means of a computer. The student feels more comfortable and can repeat the lesson all the times he needed it.
The level reached by the student is evaluated through exams or tests.
But formation through Internet presents several levels of complexity:
- Correspondence courses that use e-mail. The student receives books and he can communicate with the tutor via electronic mail.
- Formation improved by the Web: teacher develops web pages with links, as complement to the classes. This is an open and accessible modality that uses resources available in Internet: discussion forums, chats, forms, etc.
- e-learning Platforms: virtual learning environments, where students find necessary things to learn.
The principal characteristics of Formation through Internet are:
- Intercultural Communication
- Multiplicity of Experts
- Control of the student of its learning
- Collaborative learning
- Online Evaluation