Online education or e-learning is a relatively new concept in the world of education. E-learning, as it is popularly known today, engages the use of electronic technologies and ICT (information and communication technologies) to impart education to learners. Broadly speaking, online courses or e-learning includes all kinds of electronic technologies in educating and learning. With the help of various kinds of media that deliver textual matter, audio information, infographics and images, animated concepts as well as streaming video, e-learning can take place within a classroom setting or out of it.
Online education offers a great deal of flexibility and can be self-measured; can be either nonparallel study or may be educator-guided, synchronous education. Although online courses are more connected with distance learning or flexible education, it can also be used in combination with face-to-face learning from the instructor, in which case it would be commonly referred to as blended learning.
Online courses were first introduced in the early 1960s. The University of Illinois introduced a special form of learning in the classroom, by linking computer terminals where learners could avail of knowledge resources regarding a particular branch of study, while making use of audio lectures recorded through a kind of remotely linked instrument such as an audio device or television. In the same year, the Stanford University took one step further and began to experiment with computer terminals to teach math and reading to toddlers in primary schools in Palo Alto, California.
From here on a number of educational establishments started to take advantage of this radical medium to offer online courses and distance learning programs with computer networks to impart education.