Conceptually, e-learning is broadly synonymous with instructional technology, information and communication technology (ICT) in education, EdTech, learning technology, multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based instruction (CBI), computer managed instruction, computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer-aided instruction (CAI), internet-based training (IBT), flexible learning, web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environments (VLE) (which are also called learning platforms), m-learning, and digital education. In usage, all of these terms appear in articles and reviews; the term "e-learning" is used frequently, but is variously and imprecisely defined and applied.
These alternative terms are all linguistically more restrictive than "educational technology" in that they refer to the use of modern tools, such as computers, digital technology, electronic media, networked digital devices and associated software and courseware with learning scenarios, worksheets and interactive exercises that facilitate learning. However, these alternative names individually emphasize a particular digitization approach, component or delivery method. Accordingly, each conflates to the broad domain of educational technology. For example, m-learning emphasizes mobility, but is otherwise indistinguishable in principle from educational technology.
History, theory, types of media and information and communication technologies, and usage settings
The origin or etymology of e-learning is contested, with the e- part not necessarily meaning electronic as per e-mail or e-commerce. Coined between 1997 and 1999, e-learning became first attached to either a distance learning service or it was used for the first time at the CBT systems seminar. Since then the term has been used extensively to describe the use of online, personalised, interactive or virtual education.
Bernard Luskin, an educational technology pioneer, advocated that the "e" of e-learning should be interpreted to mean "exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, emotional, extended, excellent, and educational" in addition to "electronic."  Parks suggested that the "e" should refer to "everything, everyone, engaging, easy". These broad interpretations focus on new applications and developments, as well as learning theory and media psychology.
Moore et al found "significant variation in the understanding and usage of terms used in this field" and pointed to "implications for the referencing, sharing and collaboration of results." In usage, e-learning is an extremely significant (but incomplete) subset of educational technology. As such, various aspects of e-learning are discussed in that article.
- Educational technology entry at Wikidata
- Moore, J. L.; Dickson-Deane, C.; Galyen, K. (2011). "e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same?". The Internet and Higher Education 14 (2): 129–135. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.10.001.
- Bernard Luskin. "Think "Exciting": E-Learning and the Big "E"".
- Eric Parks. "What's the "e" in e-Learning?". Askinternational.com.
|Wikiversity has learning materials about E-Learning|
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Educational Technology|
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Teaching and Learning Online|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: ICT in Education|