Building an Inclusive Definition of E-Learning: An Approach to the Conceptual Framework
By Albert Sangrà, Dimitrios Vlachopoulos, and Nati Cabrera
E-learning is part of the new dynamic that characterises educational systems at the start of the 21st century. Like society, the concept of e-learning is subject to constant change. In addition, it is difficult to come up with a single definition of e-learning that would be accepted by the majority of the scientific community. The different understandings of e-learning are conditioned by particular professional approaches and interests.
An international project, based on the participation of experts around the world, was undertaken to agree on a definition of e-learning. To this end, two main research activities were carried out. First, an extensive review was conducted of the literature on the concept of e-learning, drawing from peer-reviewed journals, specialised web pages, and books. Second, a Delphi survey was sent out to gather the opinions of recognised experts in the field of education and technology regarding the concept of e-learning with a view to reaching a final consensus.
This paper presents the outcomes of the project, which has resulted in an inclusive definition of e-learning subject to a high degree of consensus that will provide a useful conceptual framework to further identify the different models in which e-learning is developed and practiced.