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What does the Internet have to do with E-Learning?

The Internet provides a delivery infrastructure that enables e-learning to be effective in the business world.

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The Internet makes all the difference. Since the Internet is changing almost everything about modern life, we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s changing how people learn in the workplace. (I am using “Internet” here in the broad sense of “anything accessible from a Web browser like Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer”. While there is certainly an important difference between the public Internet, a corporate intranet, extended extranets, and so on, in a sense, it’s all the “Net.”)

The Internet connects almost everyone, or at least everyone in the business world. In most businesses today, the computer connected to the Internet is as a common as the telephone. If the training course is on the Internet, you don’t have to print thousands of CDs or print hundreds of copies of class materials (and have them get lost or delayed in transit) in order to get training to your employees. And the most up-to-date version of the training course can always be available when it’s right there on the Web.

The Internet is a virtually free distribution system. In the old days, the cost of transmitting (or “delivering”) technology- based training was a significant chunk of the overall cost— you’d first have to set up your own private network, which was a complicated and costly undertaking, only attempted by the brave at heart.

But most businesses now have already connected their employees to the Internet for other reasons—so the incremental cost of using it for training can be almost nothing. (Of course, if you have instructor-led classes, the instructor is still a cost, but not the travel expenses for the instructor, who doesn’t need to travel anymore.)

And we can safely expect that the Internet will continue to trans- form learning, just as it continues to transform business as a whole, well into the foreseeable future.