Web-based training (sometimes called e-learning) is anywhere, any-time instruction delivered over the Internet or a corporate�intranet to browser-equipped learners. There are two primary models of Web-based instruction: synchronous (instructor-facilitated) and asynchronous (self-directed, self-paced). Instruction can be delivered by a combination of static methods (learning portals, hyperlinked pages, screen cam tutorials, streaming audio/video, and live Web broadcasts) and interactive methods (threaded discussions, chats, and desk-top video conferencing).
The ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) estimates that 75% of the U.S. workforce will need some kind of retraining within the next five years in order to keep pace with industry needs and increasingly global competition. Hewlett-Packard estimates the half-life of an bachelor's degree in engineering can be as short as 18 months. Enthusiasts feel that Web-based instruction is the perfect solution to meeting the needs of life-long learners because it is available on demand, does not require travel, and is cost-efficient.� Critics point out that Web-based training is a good alternative for independent, self-motivated students but that technical issues and the need for human contact limit its usefulness for students with other learning styles.