E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. E-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, Intranet/Extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. The courses can be Self-paced, Instructor-led, Webinars, Videos, Podcasts etc. and can include media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio. First, lets look at a classification of various forms of learning delivery.
Self Paced courses are courses that the learners complete at their own pace within an allotted time but without the assistance of a live instructor. Learners can take these courses at any convenient time and often over an extended period of time.
Instructor-led Training (ILT) refers to traditional in-person classes. There is a live instructor and all the attendees are physically present in the same classroom.
Webinars (also known as virtual classes) are courses that are delivered live over the internet with an instructor. All the participants are remotely located and participate in this virtual class from their computers. The participants communicate over regular telephone lines or using headsets and microphones connected to their computers (voice-over IP). The webinar can include polling, question and answer sessions and various other features that facilitate interaction between the attendees and the presenter.
Video courses are those that are available in video form (wmv, Flash formats are most common) and this is a type of self-paced course.
Podcasts similarly are courses that involve only audio without the video. These can be considered as a form of self-paced course.
In short an elearning system help learners sign up and register for any of the above mentioned types of courses. It provides Administrators the ability to Manage users of the system, Manage Courses and Generate reports. You can use an elearning system as long as you deliver one or more of the above mentioned formats of courses.