identify three breakthrough events in the evolution of elearning

Search the the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Journals, or the web to identify three breakthrough events in the evolution of eLearning.

The events that you choose should represent an impact on social change and eLearning.

Breakthrough events may be any of the following:

  • Seminal research findings
  • Significant changes in pedagogy
  • Major changes in educational delivery methods
  • Significant inventions that contributed to modes of instruction
  • Social and/or political events

Individually post your three selected events, along with a rationale for why you chose each breakthrough.

Review the collection of events that were posted and choose the top three events that were posted in the Learning Community discussion area.. Write a 1-paragraph rationale for each of the top three events explaining why you decided that they were the most pertinent events in the evolution of eLearning.

Listed below are the ideas from the Learning Community you only have to pick three and write a 1 paragraph.

1.MOODLE – November 2001. MOODLE wasn’t the first LMS, but it was the game-changer in that it was open-source and it was built around social-constructivist pedagogy. It was all about the learner’s point of view. MOODLE came into existence thanks to Martin Dougiamas, who was the webmaster at an Australian university. He created MOODLE to solve some issues he had with WebCT. He extended an invitation to the world at large to adapt, extend, or modify it commercially or non-commercially without any licensing fees. That’s the social-constructivist philosophy at work right there. Your learners, or users, are actively involved in the tinkering and experimenting, and they learn even more by explaining what they have learned or created to others. In the case of MOODLE, the developers are the users and learners, and the code for MOODLE is constantly tweaked, adapted, peer-reviewed, and refined through open discussion in the user community.

For many, it’s the gateway online learning platform because it’s free — you just have to find a place to host it. I started with MOODLE. That, combined with the extensive resources and support by an international user community of millions, makes for a great entry experience into the world of creating learning online.

I’ve since moved on through Schoology, Canvas, Blackboard and now D2L/Brightspace. There are some big names out there who are making a lot of dollars in the LMS business. Blackboard, in fact, founded right about at the same time as MOODLE. But they all have a dotted line going right back to MOODLE because MOODLE demonstrated how to create an online learning environment for the learner, by the learner.

The use of data in education is not new, however, the advent of Big Data has brought the practice to an extreme. I understand Big Data as referring to extremely large amounts of data that can be analyzed by using computers to reveal patterns, trends, and relationships relating to human performance, behavior, and interactions. According to an Education Week article, the type of information being analyzed in education will go beyond test scores and focus on monitoring, in real-time, factors like facial expressions, social interaction, and health (Herold, 2018).


Herold, B. (2018). The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education. Education Week. Retrieved 18 March 2018, from…

2. One of the great moments in elearning was the rise of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 has only been around for about 14 years (since 1999) but it is the invention that allowed elearning to undergo a metamorphosis, changing the web from a read-only state that revolved around static content to a read & write & collaborate state that uses dynamic content that is added to, synthesized, and remixed constantly. It further changed the web from a medium used to transmit information to a platform to create, share, and distribute content that can be used by anyone. Web 2.0 was the democratization of the Web (Kumar, 2009, p. 2)

Kumar, R. (2009). “Elearning 2.0: Learning redefined.” Library Philosophy and Practice. 284. Retrieved from

3.Having access to technological resources dramatically stirred up the lives of teachers, causing the need for change to the practice and process of teaching. In many cases, technology was introduced without giving thought to its role or appropriate use. It was not uncommon to see the use of the technology as the focus of a lesson, instead of as a means to to reach the same learning objectives one had had prior to introduction of technology. Teachers needed new ways to teach that helped them to incorporate technology effectively. New theories of teaching entered the picture that helped teachers to smoothly meld content, pedagogy, and technology.

One that was instrumental in helping me to create a conceptual framework for the use of technology back in 2012, when I began a 1:1 iPad pilot, was TPCK by Mishra & Koehler (2006). TPCK is based upon Shulman’s work in 1986, which argued that there is an intersection between content, pedagogy, and pedagogical content knowledge on the part of the teacher. It’s the way that subject matter is transformed for teaching, basically. Mishra and Koehler expanded upon Schulman’s work to propose that technology should not be isolated from this process but should be incorporated into it. Indeed, they argued that technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) is a whole new area that forms the basis for good teaching with technology.

I am not arguing that TPCK alone was responsible for a shift in the way teachers approached technology or its use in learning; there are certainly many other theories out there that also made contributions. But learning about this one in 2012 was the disequilibrium I needed to force me to re-examine the way I was teaching and how I was going to have to change the way I did things to use technology to its real potential. It was the moment that brought me to where I am right now. So for me personally, I’d call the introduction of TPCK a seminal moment :-).

MIshra, P. & Koehler, M. (2006, June). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teacher College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14

4. Mobile Devices: Mobile devices caused a breakthrough in eLearning by removing the shackles from the learner. Prior to the development of mobile devices learners where required to use a large, bulky desktop computer which was stationary. Individuals carry the mobile devices with them everywhere (Chuang, 2009)High speed mobile devices caused significant shifts in this paradigm in that learning can occur anywhere and at any time.


Chuang, K.-W. (2009). Mobile technologies enhance the e-Learning opportunity. American

Journal of Business Education, 2(9), 49–54.

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