What is Online Learning?

Defining E-Learning and Online Education

E-learning is an umbrella term that includes all forms of learning and teaching that take place in an electronically supported environment.  Online education is a type of e-learning experience that involve the usage of the internet for either some or all of the learning experience for a particular course or program. 

CPCE Students in Computer Lab

Online education has become increasingly common in higher education throughout the United States during the past several years.  In fact, approximately 6.7 million college and university students---32% of higher education students in the US---took at least one online course in fall 2011, according to a recent study conducted jointly by the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group.

There are four main types of courses and programs offered at Wentworth, varying in the percentage of content that is delivered in an online environment from 0% to 100%. 


  • Percentage of Content Delivered Online: 0%
  • No online technology used- all instruction and course materials are provided in a face-to-face classroom environment.


  • Percentage of Content Delivered Online: 1-29%
  • Web-based technology is integrated in a face-to-face classroom environment. For instance, a learning management system may be utilized to post the course syllabus and assignments.


  • Percentage of Content Delivered Online: 30-79%
  • Blend of face-to-face and online course delivery. At least some course content is posted online, typically online discussions are a requirement for the course, and there are a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.


  • Percentage of Content Delivered Online: 80-100%
  • Most or all of the course content is delivered online.  There are very few, if any, face-to-face meetings.