Distance learning is not a new concept. People have been learning subjects, such as drawing or shorthand, via correspondence since the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1920s, a testing machine was invented allowing students to test themselves, a previously unheard-of concept. The first computer-based training emerged in the 1960s at the University of Illinois and was called PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations).

The first time anyone used the term “elearning” was at the turn of the 21st century, in 1999 at a CBT Systems conference. Since then, organizations around the world have whole-heartedly embraced elearning (or online training, virtual learning, and every other word for the concept). These are just some of the reasons why.

eLearning is cost-effective. No need to fly in subject matter experts or pay for everyone to attend a weekend seminar. Online training stretches the budget much farther, allowing you to train more people on more subjects than more regularly than with in person training sessions.

eLearning is efficient. Employees can easily fit a 10-minute online course into their busy schedules, or play a quick reinforcement game once a month much easier than setting aside an entire day for training or several hours every quarter for a training session. eLearning courses better fit into our calendars, putting us in charge of our own learning.

eLearning is remote. Learning is not limited by location. You can train your users no matter where you or they are.

eLearning is measurable. No need for role call or emailing to ask if someone attended that hour-long presentation last week. By hosting your online training modules in an LMS, you can easily track participation, record quiz and game scores, and communicate en masse with your users.

eLearning can be regular and frequent. Since you don’t have to gather everyone in one place for a three-hour cyber security seminar (snooze fest!), you can release short, focused elearning modules on a regular basis, every quarter (or, better yet, every month!) and actually spread the message of awareness much further, more often. Then you’ll start to effect change. Security awareness is not a one-and-done sort of thing. It takes repetition and frequency to send that message home.

Ashley Schwartau

Director of Production & Creative Development at SAC
After more than 15 years of working in this industry, she’s finally accepted – and embraced! – the fact that she’s a security awareness expert. She is also a book-loving, travel-blogging, French-speaking Gryffindor who is unapologetically obsessed with her cats.