eLearning, e-Learning or elearning? C’mon, it’s ‘eLearning’ right?

Engage me or enrage me
October 23, 2012
Amplify it! (but only if it’s good)
November 14, 2012

‘Hey, a little birdy told me it’s eLearning.’

In our industry of eLearning I don’t believe we have nutted out a global name for what we actually do. I still hear it referred to as Computer Based Training (CBT), online training/learning, and then spelt in so many forms when referred to as eLearning. It’s the spelling that I would love to see some consensus on. There’s a bit of a pedantic element to this wish of course, but also some good to come from it.

I mentioned this at a presentation I did a while ago and had four of the audience discuss it with me after the talk. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the topic of my presentation, I just like to define what I’m talking about and in doing that, I try to pass on this agenda to refine our industry brand. I encourage anyone else presenting to do the same – but let’s be consistent in spelling what we do when presenting (have you seen eLearning spelt within the same presentation multiple ways? E-Learning, e-Learning, elearning etc – it’s a bit of a giveaway that the presenter has just copied and pasted from a lot of sources).

So let me explain why I think we should all spell eLearning as … well, eLearning.

Hyphens can be used to join two words to describe something new. Over time, the hyphens are dropped when it becomes commonly used, such as ‘coordinate’ or ‘cooperation’. There was a time to use a hyphen for eLearning – where the joining of ‘e’ for electronic to ‘learning’ made sense and helped to highlight the joining of these elements to form a new compound word and new training and learning solution. It highlighted this for the reader. But we are past that I think. Our industry is old and big enough to present itself without the hyphen; it’s just a natural progression. eLearning’s not a new gimmick, nor do we need to highlight the joining to electronic – it’s obvious.

So once the hyphen’s dropped, at times we see the ‘L’ isn’t capitalised, as in elearning. For any grammarians out there, apologies in advance, but grammar can take a hit here and let’s always capitalise it. The capital ‘L’ for me in eLearning means so much. It emphasises that it’s the learning which is important, not the electronic element to delivery or design. The Learning is what we take away from it and what we are trying to achieve, so keep the capital and never capitalise the ‘e’.

As far as other descriptions go, we are well passed CBT, as eLearning covers mobiles, tablets, video etc. The ‘e’ encapsulates all of it. So let’s drop the CBL; computers may soon be in museums anyway right…

If you’ve taken the time to read this post (thanks firstly!), please follow me in standardising how we write what we do, and provide meaning behind why you choose to write it that way (and please be careful if you’re copying and pasting from many sources; find and delete the hyphens!).

For more eLearning, visit www.learninghook.com.au

Leave a Reply