In the Olympic Games of the electronic advancement, there is a never-ending marathon race being competed by the nations all over the world. But the nations have started at different times with different speed, energy and potential. It is therefore, really challenging job to verify their progress in various sectors of technological advancement and its extent of spread within the nation itself. Keeping this point in mind, we have started the new section under the heading ‘ICT and Education’, a part of which is ‘e-Learning’, a term newly emerged and not well-defined still now.
‘e’ percolating in e-Learning
If we go back to the history of development of e-Learning, we find some phases of its development. 1990 to 99 was the era of custom computer based training (CBT) that was consisted of standalone CD-ROM training courses, playing on end-user computers, standalone training stations and sometimes beyond the clients or server LANs. But it was costly, slow, labour-intensive and had limitations in software. During 1994 to 99, packaged content, which is financially sensible to sell and cost-effective, came to the market. Although the packaged IT training courseware can be quite effective, but the professional skills and learning contents needed to be improved to make it customisable and industry or business specific. 1997 to 99 was the period of rise of the Learning Management System (LMS). The need of strict standards was felt to make the content sources more user-friendly and useful in any type of administrative platform.
In around 1999, Internet boom acted as the next piston in the process of progress of e-Learning. The ‘move to the web’ brought administrators, instructors, managers, workers and learners together under one umbrella providing a consolidated virtual environment. Therefore, ‘do-it-in-house’ e-Learning concept emerged and many portals were also launched offering some learning processes. In the latter half of 2001 and 2002 the focus of e-Learning has become more accustomed to certain specific trends such as blended learning, Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs), web collaboration, simulation and learning games, training without trainers for knowledge sharing and informal knowledge exchange. With the increasing speed of life in both developed and developing countries, it is a matter of increasing importance day-by-day.