E-learning makes use of many technologies – some of which have been developed specifically for it, whilst others conveniently complemented the learning process, for example computer games. Communication technologies are also widely used in e-learning. Starting with the use of email and instant messaging, message forums and social networks, we see a plethora of tools that any internet user would use in any case.
There are also some technologies that work in a complementary manner to other software and enable new features, for example software that adds a whiteboard on your video conferencing tool to allow you or your peers to make changes on other people’s work for review, or screen-sharing which allows someone to make a presentation while still making comments and giving input using the microphone.
E-learning makes good use of database and CMS (Content Management System) technologies. These two work hand in hand to store your course content, test results and student records. The data is stored in the database and the CMS provides a user interface for you to add, update and delete data. A good LMS will often provide reporting tools to generate and store progress reports.
Elearning tools and technologies used to improve the quality of content are manifold. Software such as Flash and PowerPoint will help you make your presentations slick and interesting, with high quality, graphically rich content. There are word processing packages and HTML editors available these days that make formatting your text or web pages a breeze, removing a lot of the complexity. There are also lots of online services available that you can use to create interactive elements for your courses such as quizzes and games.