Review: Online Learning

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Definitions of Online Learning

  • Online learning is distance education that is made available through an internet connection. Due to this mode of delivery, online learning can be made accessible worldwide [1].
  • Online learning is any form of learning conducted partly or wholly over the Internet [2].
  • Online learning means that your educational tool is based on (and accessible from) the Internet. Online learning programs are anytime / anywhere tools, which also means learning from home [3].



Categories and types of Online Learning

  • Three categories or type of online learning according to [4] are;
    • Asynchronous Online Courses
      • These types of course offerings do not take place in “real–time. Students are provided with content and assignments and are given a time frame to complete course work and exams. Interaction usually takes place through discussion boards, blogs and wikis. As a result, there is no class meeting time.
      • Asynchronous online learning environments are effective for students with time constraints or busy schedules.
    • Synchronous Online Courses
      • These types of course offerings require the instructor and all enrolled students to interact online simultaneously. Similar in some ways to a webinar, participants interact through text, video or audio chat. Synchronous learning environments enable students to participate in a course from a distance in real time.
    • Hybrid Courses
      • Hybrid courses, also known as blended courses, are learning environments that allow for both in–person and online interaction. Typically, hybrid courses meet in person several times during a semester and provide for computer–based communication in between those face to face sessions.


Common Characteristic of Online Learning

10 common characteristics of successfully online learning;

  1. Tailors Content To The Target Audience
  2. Leverages A Microlearning Approach
  3. Offers Easy Access
  4. Delivers Content In A Sleek And Modern User Interface (UI)
  5. Offers Content That Is Practical And Actionable
  6. Integrates Multimedia
  7. Assesses Learners In A Meaningful Way
  8. Promotes A Sense Of Community
  9. Collects Learner Feedback
  10. Prioritizes Flexibility


Online Learning consideration

  • According to studies conducted [6] and [7], three main variables affect the effectiveness of online delivery:
    • 1.Technology;
    • 2.Instructor characteristics; and
    • 3.Student characteristics
  • Factors findings:
    • Ease of access and navigation. Which the students can access the site and the usability of the software in general
    • Interface. Visual structure and design of the Internet course
    • Interaction. Interactive abilities of the course, between all students and the instructor
    • Attitudes towards students. Relate to the instructor’s personal approach and teaching manner, and their ability to motivate the students
    • Instructor technical competence. The instructor’s ability to use and promote the Internet technology effectively.
    • Classroom interaction. The instructor’s ability to encourage students to interact and participate in class and through the Internet.



  • Online learning key component is the internet connectivity.
  • ID for an online learning content, must consider the capabilities features provided by the online learning platforms as well as the technicality readiness and availability.
  • Nature of online learning which enable content been accessed almost at any places, open the potential and trend for Massively Open Online Course (MOOC).



[1] Defining online learning. University of Liverpool.
[2] Online learning for beginners: 1. What is online learning?
[3] What’s the Difference between Online Learning and Distance Learning? Sarah Layton on August 24th, 2017.
[4] Types of Online Learning. Fordham University, US.
[5] How To Identify A Top Online Training Center. eLearning Industry.
[6] Dillon, C.L. and Gunawardena, C.N. (1995), “A framework for the evaluation of telecommunications-based distance education”, in Stewart, D. (Ed.), Selected Papers from the 17th Congress of the International Council for Distance Education, Vol. 2, Open University, Milton Keynes, pp. 348-51.
[7] Leidner, D.E. and Jarvenpaa, S.L. (1993), “The information age confronts education: case studies on electronic classroom”, Information Systems Research, No. 4, pp. 24-54.
[8] Critical success factors in online education. Thierry Volery, Deborah Lord. International Journal of Educational Management.