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Mapping the e-Learning Terrain ARTICLE

, , San Diego State University, United States

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 10, Number 2, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


Influential voices, from the published literature, to blogs, and conference keynoters, describe e-learning that is technology rich, mobile, individualized, social and democratic. Classrooms, many note, are disappearing—and should. Blogs, feeds and blends enable this movement from a central function to lessons, information and coaching available on demand, in the workplace.

Do these views match contemporary practice in corporations, universities and government agencies?

This exploratory study mapped the terrain of e-learning practice. What do nearly 1,000 respondents report that they do when they are doing e-learning? Respondents reported on the frequency of their reliance on twenty-six e-learning snapshots developed by the authors. These snapshots clustered in five categories: instructional design strategies; instructional design measurements; programs for the individual; programs for the group; and Web 2.0.

Respondents reported that what they do is, for the most part, familiar. They practice instructional design as they move forward with e-learning. When asked what they aspired to do in order to provide even better services, they again chose instructional design, for example, customizing and personalizing learning experiences, and measuring impact. They did point to mobile delivery, collaborative and user generated strategies and technologies, but after again selecting instructional design.


Marshall, J. & Rossett, A. (2011). Mapping the e-Learning Terrain. International Journal on E-Learning, 10(2), 169-198. Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).