Without a doubt, e-Learning has come a long way since the term itself was coined back in 1999. Enterprising businesses have come and gone, the technology has become much more refined and it’s now bigger than ever.

However, you can trace the roots of e-learning to far further back than the turn of the millennium. Distance courses are recorded as having existed as early as the 1840’s when Isaac Pitman taught his pupils via long-distance correspondence. Known as ‘symbolic writing’, it was a method to improve your writing speed which meant that you could send it in the post much quicker.

Fast forward to 1924 and the invention of a self-testing machine. A few decades later in 1954, students at Harvard University were asked to sit in front of the ‘teaching machine’ and follow a set of instructions. It’s creator, B.F.Skinner, was a pioneer for his time with his idea going on to form an even more advanced system in 1960.

The first fully-fledged CBT (Computer Based Training) program was known as PLATO: Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operation – it certainly didn’t roll off the tongue quite like SCORM does!

Though, Shareable Content Object Reference Model is a bit of a tongue twister. PLATO had initially been designed exclusively for students at the University of Illinois but after its success, the decision was made to open it up to schools from the surrounding area too.

A decade later, in the 70’s and the British Open University had plans to embrace the e-learning principle. An enterprise still going strong to this day. The Open University’s main selling point is its long distance courses, something which e-learning could facilitate.

As we entered the tail end of the 20th century, new computer technologies meant that is was now easier than ever to learn away from the confines of the classroom. Homes in developed countries were filling up with PC’s and schools were also able to offer computers to children to use for learning. Students were able to learn like they never had before and when the 21st century kicked into gear, employers also started to choose e-Learning for employee training.

And the rest, they say, is history…


If you are an employer and you need solutions to meet your training needs, then e-Learning is the solution for you. Safety Media provide a wide range of e-Learning courses – 120 and counting…..We also offer Compliance and Soft skills courses, and a fully SCORM compliant LMS.

If you want great content, or, just a simple and quick solution then contact us today on +44 (0)1745 535000 or email us at sales@safetymedia.co.uk and a member of our team will be more than happy to help you.

To find out more about the e-learning options we provide at Safety Media, watch the video »

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