Online learning is all about technology. An e-learning package is successful only when its characteristics make the learner’s and instructor’s experiences enjoyable. Technology should be as seamless as possible for the learner and instructor because nothing dampens a new e-learner’s enthusiasm more quickly than technological glitches. An instructor’s drive to work online also gets killed if h/she has difficult to use software. Regardless of whether your focus is academic or corporate, there are four basic technology characteristics that you should look for while considering an e-learning solution:
Programming Languages - Programming languages provide a great deal of flexibility and freedom to the developer when creating online learning. The most common programming language for online learning is Hyper Text Mark Up Language which is better known as HTML.
Authoring Packages - Most authoring packages are visually oriented so the learner doesn't need to know any coding. The software performs the coding "behind the scenes." All the instructor needs to worry about is placing the correct information in the right place. Some authoring packaging languages include Macromedia’s Dreamweaver.
Learning Management Systems - These systems are specifically designed to track the performance of a multitude of learners. They can be academically focused like Blackboard, e-College, or WebCT, or more focused toward corporations like Docent, Saba etc.
Content Management Systems - A CMS is mostly instructor oriented that helps him/her to catalog, track, and manipulate content used in online courses. A CMS is effective when large numbers of instructors are all focused on developing courses and have a desire to reuse content in a variety of courses.