Future Trends in the Design Strategies and Technological Affordances of E-Learning

  • Begoña GrosEmail author
  • Francisco J. García-Peñalvo
Living reference work entry


E-learning has become an increasingly important learning and teaching mode in recent decades and has been recognized as an efficient and effective learning method. The rapidly rising number of Internet users with smartphones and tablets around the world has supported the spread of e-learning, not only in higher education and vocational training but also in primary and secondary schools.

E-learning and traditional distance education approaches share the emphasis on “any time, any place” learning and the assumption that students are at a distance from the instructor. The design of the initial e-learning courses tended to replicate existing distance education practice based on content delivery. However, long textual lectures were clearly not suitable for the online environment. These early insights guided the development of e-learning (technical and pedagogical) and emphasized the need for communication and interaction.

E-learning describes learning delivered fully online where technology mediates the learning process, teaching is delivered entirely via Internet, and students and instructors are not required to be available at the same time and place.

E-learning practices are evolving with the mutual influence of technological e-learning platforms and pedagogical models. Today, the broad penetration and consolidation of e-learning needs to advance and open up to support new possibilities. Future e-learning should encompass the use of Internet technologies for both formal and informal learning by leveraging different services and applications.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a general analysis of the evolution and future trends in e-learning. The authors intend to summarize findings from contemporary research into e-learning in order to understand its current state and to identify the main challenges in the technological and pedagogical affordances of e-learning.


E-learning development E-learning technology E-learning models Learning digital ecosystems 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Universidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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