In 1960, the first computer-based learning environment was developed. After that, systems like Usenet and Habitat emerged, but Plato stands as the first social computing system for the classroom. All of us are familiar with and use forums, message boards, online testing, email, chat or instant messaging daily. All of them were developed on Plato. Even the FreeCell game.
The invention of ARPAnet, the predecessor of the Internet, helped the progress, but in 1960, only four computers were connected to it. Within the next 20 years, it skyrocketed to around 80,000 and with this, the perception of learning also changed. In the words of Elliott Masie, people understood that we needed to: "Bring learning to people instead of people to learning."
In the 1980s, companies started with their own software training programs and tools, IBM started the production of the first home computers and floppy disks and CDs gained popularity. The first billion internet users was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014. According to Internet Live Stats, there are currently around 3.2 billion internet users in the world in 2016. The country with the most users is China, and it also happens to be a country with a massive EdTech boom.
With the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, people embarked on a journey of learning and using emerging technologies. The amount of course websites, tutorials and online exams increased in schools and universities. Moreover, you did not need to be a “classical” student anymore. Handheld, portable and networking devices got popular among teachers and students. Today, open and free online education is available for everyone. If you are new to eLearning and need to know what eLearning is all about, ask our eLearning Guru.
Web 2.0, mobile technology and synchronization has increased communication and connectivity. Digital storytelling, gamification and e-books are current buzzwords. And who knows what the future will bring.
According to Jay Cross, software and training pro, intellectual capital has become more valuable than hard assets.
Networks are replacing hierarchy.
Time has sped up.
Cooperation edges out competition.
Innovation trumps efficiency.
Flexibility beats might.
We needed fresh thinking.
That is why e-learning got so popular.