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eLearning Learning
August 22, 2022

Is Digital Learning the New eLearning?

This was a recent topic among our team members at d’Vinci. The result was a surprising consensus that the term “digital learning” should be used differently than the term “eLearning.”

The Difference between eLearning and Digital Learning

According to our team members, digital learning should only be used when referring to the learner’s perspective. The digital learner participates in digital learning by consuming digital content, using digital tools and engaging in digital experiences.

On the other hand, eLearning refers to the format and distribution methods that an organization uses to intentionally provide learning experiences and content to targeted learners. To look at it another way, we don’t develop and deliver digital learning. And, we don’t have eLearners participating in eLearning when they are using digital tools and consuming content that result in learning. While we could’ve stopped there, some of us had more to say.

What about the terms web-based training, virtual learning, and distance learning? In requests for proposals, we also still see classics like computer-based training and multimedia-based training. We also see some less typical terms such as eCourse development, technology-based course development and interactive course development. We decided that most of these terms are just other ways to say eLearning.

After our discussion, I wondered if the use of terms changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic started, online learning was the only option for learning and development leaders and educators. Digital learning tools were utilized by employees and students to adapt to new ways of working and learning. For some learners, they had more time to engage in learning experiences and demand for high quality and relevant eLearning content increased. During recent years, use of the term “digital” has increased with many references to “accelerated digital transformation” impacting all aspects of our lives.

Future of Digital Learning

While the distinction between digital learning and eLearning may be holding up for now, I think the term eLearning may be experiencing the beginning of its end. The practice of eMarketing has pretty much been renamed digital marketing, and even eCommerce is looking more like it will become digital commerce. So, in a few years, we may not be putting an uncapitalized “e” in front of any word. Come to think about it, maybe we just drop the “e” and the “digital” and just go with “learning.” That might create less confusion and put the emphasis on the outcome and the learner.



Luke Kempski

By Luke Kempski, CEO

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d'Vinci Interactive is an award-winning comprehensive learning solutions provider for corporate, government, medical, non-profit, and K-12 target markets.

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