Reflections on the Evolution of Online Delivery of Education

  • Alan D. Hansen, PhD. Independence University
Keywords: online education, distance education, educational technology, distance learning trends


Online education, a subset of distance education, has evolved over time. In the early 2000s, learning management systems for online courses included a syllabus, a hard-copy textbook, instructional materials, a discussion board, electronic assessments, and a gradebook. Due to lack of administrative oversight, quality of materials and systems varied widely. Over the past 20 years, learning management systems have become easier to use, native to the online environment, and presented in more formats. Future developments—MOOC, VR, AR, CBE, centralized development models, and the continued survival of faculty—are each considered.

Reflections in Online Education